Mar 15, 2013, 11:07 PM EDT
Let’s face it: the World Baseball Classic’s uphill climb as an event worth watching wouldn’t gain any momentum if Team USA ran away with it.
That’s why it has to be pretty exciting for MLB to see Puerto Rico advance past the U.S. and join the Dominican Republic, Japan and The Netherlands in the WBC semifinals. While baseball hardly needs a boost in the Dominican and Japan, it’s standing in Puerto Rico and Europe figures to get at least a modest boost thanks to this month’s tournament.
In the short term especially, it’s money more than talent than MLB is hoping to gain from Europe. But getting Puerto Rican kids more interested in baseball would be a nice boon for the league. It’s no coincidence that all of Puerto Rico’s stars on the field Thursday were over 30 years old. The only actual position prospect on the team is the Twins’ Eddie Rosario. And while I like Houston’s Xavier Cedeno as a lefty specialist, none of the pitchers would seem to have grand futures in MLB, either.
Puerto Rico just hasn’t produced much major league talent since MLB put its prospects into the draft. MLB teams can no longer set up there and develop the players themselves, as they’ve long done in the Dominican Republic. A nice run in the WBC isn’t going to undo all of the damage, but it’s a little something to try and build on.
The Dutch island of Curacao is already producing talent and even more kids there could be inspired to pick up a baseball as Andrelton Simmons, Jurickson Profar and Xander Bogaerts hopefully develop into major league stars. Throw in Baltimore’s Jonathan Schoop and The Netherlands’ infield could well rival the Dominican group come 2017.
As for the U.S. team, well, this was probably the best way for it to go down; it was competitive yet far from dominant. One imagines that the U.S. players will hear it from the Dominicans and Puerto Ricans in the clubhouse over these next several months. Whether that inspires a few more stars to suit up in 2017 remains to be seen; odds are the 2013 results will be largely forgotten a year from now. But I believe the next WBC will be viewed more favorably by the players. It’s not that we’ve gotten particularly high quality baseball from the teams, but we’ve seen a bunch of very competitive games and boisterous crowds. I think it’s the case that some of the guys who opted out — the Mike Trouts, Bryce Harpers and Prince Fielders — have watched these games and felt like they’re missing out.
May 2, 2015, 11:55 PM EDT
Are those “Keys to the Game” segments getting stale? FOX Sports San Diego put a fresh spin on it.
May 2, 2015, 11:15 PM EDT
More arm issues for Braves lefty Mike Minor.
May 2, 2015, 10:34 PM EDT
Torii Hunter said something dumb again.
May 2, 2015, 10:25 PM EDT
The Astros are good again!
May 2, 2015, 9:35 PM EDT
Nelson Cruz won’t stop hitting home runs.
May 2, 2015, 8:45 PM EDT
A stroke of luck bailed the Giants out in the ninth inning when their bullpen went into meltdown mode.
May 2, 2015, 7:55 PM EDT
One of the best pitchers in baseball history tells us how he’d approach the best player of this generation.
May 2, 2015, 7:05 PM EDT
The Cubs had an unfortunate series of events lead to a little league home run for Brewers outfielder Logan Schafer.
May 2, 2015, 6:10 PM EDT
Catcher Ryan Hanigan figures to be out until the All-Star break, according to Red Sox manager John Farrell.
May 2, 2015, 5:29 PM EDT
Billingsley hasn’t pitched in the majors in over two years.
May 2, 2015, 4:46 PM EDT
Ross went just 2-for-22 (.091) with three RBI over nine games during his brief stint with Oakland.
May 2, 2015, 4:14 PM EDT
Albert Pujols missed two days after leaving Wednesday’s game due to left hamstring tightness, but he’s back in the starting lineup today against the Giants. While he’ll return to his standard No. 3 spot, Angels manager Mike Scioscia has made some changes with his lineup.
May 2, 2015, 3:18 PM EDT
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman acknowledged Saturday that the team won’t pay a $6 million marketing bonus to Alex Rodriguez for tying Willie Mays with 660 career home runs.
May 2, 2015, 2:40 PM EDT
Yelich has been sidelined since April 19 with a bulging disk in his lower back.
May 2, 2015, 1:50 PM EDT
The Rays are hoping that Moore will be ready to return around the middle of June.
May 2, 2015, 1:04 PM EDT
Gomez has been out since April 15 due to a strained right hamstring.
May 2, 2015, 12:03 PM EDT
Wilpon denies the claim that he urged Martinez to pitch hurt in 2005.
May 2, 2015, 11:05 AM EDT
Puig is currently sidelined with a strained left hamstring, but he’s nearing his return to the Dodgers.
May 2, 2015, 10:10 AM EDT
Willie Mays issued a statement to congratulate Alex Rodriguez for tying him on the all-time home run list.
May 2, 2015, 9:35 AM EDT
Another day, another tape-measure blast for Nelson Cruz.
- Torii Hunter doesn’t care what Floyd Mayweather has done outside of the boxing ring 44
- Yankees GM Brian Cashman acknowledges team won’t pay A-Rod $6 million bonus for 660th home run 53
- Willie Mays congratulates Alex Rodriguez for reaching 660 career home runs 30
- Settling the Score: Friday’s results 38
- Ryan Hanigan needs surgery, so the Red Sox will call up prospect Blake Swihart 15
- Royals’ bullpen blows no-hit bid in the eighth inning against the Tigers 7
- Alex Rodriguez hits a pinch-hit home run to tie Willie Mays at 660 home runs 93
- Video: Remembering Rickey Henderson’s record-setting stolen base 31
- Pitchers batting is dumb and the DH should be universal (362)
- Comment of the Day: do not underestimate the seriousness of the anti-DH crowd (201)
- Monday’s White Sox/Orioles game postponed due to ongoing protests and violence in Baltimore (162)
- Protesters converge on Oriole Park at Camden Yards (149)
- The Orioles will play to no fans tomorrow; this weekend’s series will move to Tropicana Field (125)