Skip to content

United States loses, baseball wins at World Baseball Classic

Mar 15, 2013, 11:07 PM EDT

World Baseball Classic - Second Round - Miami - USA v Puerto Rico Getty Images

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.

Latest Posts
  1. Settling the Score: Friday’s results

    May 30, 2015, 8:55 AM EDT

    ST. LOUIS, MO - MAY 29: Starter John Lackey #41 of the St. Louis Cardinals pitches against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the second inning at Busch Stadium on May 29, 2015 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) Getty Images

    A quick recap of a busy Friday around MLB, including a sterling performance from one of the best bargains in baseball.

  2. Brewers rescind DFA of Brandon Kintzler, put him on the disabled list instead

    May 29, 2015, 11:59 PM EDT

    Brandon Kintzler Getty Images

    The Brewers designated reliever Brandon Kintzler for assignment on Friday afternoon but rescinded it and put him on the 15-day disabled list instead.

  3. Tony Cingrani hits Bryce Harper in the back with a pitch, then complains he was too slow getting to first base

    May 29, 2015, 11:41 PM EDT

    Bryce Harper Bryce Harper

    Bryce Harper was hit square in the back with a fastball and had the gall not to sprint immediately to first base. What nerve!

  4. Rangers to call up prospect Alex “Chi Chi” Gonzalez to start Saturday

    May 29, 2015, 11:00 PM EDT

    Texas Rangers pitcher Alex Gonzalez works against the New York Mets in exhibition action at Globe Life Park in Arlington on Saturday, April 4, 2015, in Arlington, Texas. The teams tied, 4-4. (Ron Jenkins/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS via Getty Images) Getty Images

    Alex “Chi Chi” Gonzalez will make his major league debut on Saturday against the Red Sox.

  5. Rafael Soriano, still a free agent, gets rid of agent Scott Boras

    May 29, 2015, 10:10 PM EDT

    Rafael Soriano Rafael Soriano

    Rafael Soriano still wants to pitch and has fired agent Scott Boras in an effort to find work.

  6. Video: Josh Hamilton hits his first home run of the season

    May 29, 2015, 9:18 PM EDT

    Josh Hamilton Getty Images

    Josh Hamilton hit his first home run of the season on Friday night against the Red Sox.

  7. Rockies starter Chad Bettis loses his no-hitter in the eighth inning

    May 29, 2015, 8:52 PM EDT

    Chad Bettis Chad Bettis

    Rockies starter Chad Bettis is trying to throw a no-hitter against the Phillies.

  8. Travis d’Arnaud’s return delayed due to a bone bruise in his wrist

    May 29, 2015, 8:35 PM EDT

    Travis d'Arnaud Travis d'Arnaud

    The Mets will be without catcher Travis d’Arnaud a little while longer due to a bone bruise in his wrist.

  9. Mariners place James Paxton on the disabled list, recall Dominic Leone

    May 29, 2015, 8:08 PM EDT

    James Paxton James Paxton

    The Mariners will lose starter James Paxton for a couple of weeks due to strained finger tendon.

  10. Stephen Strasburg exits start in the second inning with an apparent injury

    May 29, 2015, 7:42 PM EDT

    Stephen Strasburg Stephen Strasburg

    Stephen Strasburg came out of Friday’s start after facing one batter in the second inning against the Reds.

  11. More than half of polled baseball fans prefer having the pitcher hit

    May 29, 2015, 6:55 PM EDT

    Noah Syndergaard Noah Syndergaard

    More than one in two fans of major league baseball prefer having the pitcher hit as opposed to a designated hitter.

  12. Tuffy Gosewisch likely dealing with a torn ACL

    May 29, 2015, 6:05 PM EDT

    Tuffy Gosewisch Tuffy Gosewisch

    Tuffy Gosewisch may be dealing with a torn ACL, which would likely end his season.

  13. Orioles expect Matt Wieters to return from Tommy John surgery next week

    May 29, 2015, 4:50 PM EDT

    Pittsburgh Pirates v Baltimore Orioles - Game Two Getty Images

    Wieters hasn’t played in the majors in nearly 13 months.

  14. Curt Schilling dishes on Ruben Amaro. As usual, cognitive dissonance reigns.

    May 29, 2015, 4:33 PM EDT

    schilling press

    Schilling says Amaro lacks self awareness, is elitist and has not been successful as a manager.

  15. Scott Feldman undergoes knee surgery, out six weeks

    May 29, 2015, 3:30 PM EDT

    Scott Feldman AP

    Feldman is in the second season of a three-year, $30 million deal.

  16. Phillies designate for assignment Grady Sizemore

    May 29, 2015, 2:31 PM EDT

    Grady Sizemore Getty Images

    Sizemore hit just .250 with three homers and a .657 OPS in 99 games for the Phillies.

  17. Hey, Dan Uggla is good at something!

    May 29, 2015, 2:08 PM EDT

    Uggla Hugs Getty Images

    Hint: he was doing it with the Braves too.

Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. J. Hamilton (3776)
  2. A. Garcia (2998)
  3. J. Cueto (2872)
  4. Y. Puig (2791)
  5. M. Adams (2706)
  1. J. Lucroy (2700)
  2. D. Wright (2642)
  3. E. Rodriguez (2603)
  4. T. d'Arnaud (2570)
  5. R. Castillo (2551)