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If Team USA winds up defeated in the World Baseball Classic, a big part of the reason will be a roster decimated by injuries.  Or should I say “injuries.”

crying_baby

"waah, my oblique!"

First Chipper Jones had “soreness” in his side, then Dustin Pedroia got a strain in his abdomen, then Ryan Braun got “tightness” in his rib cage, and now Kevin Youklis is out for the tournament with a “mild sprain” to his ankle, Derrek Lee is unavailable because of a “sore thigh,” and David Wright is moaning to ESPN about his sore toe.

Do you think Korea or Japan, a team which is marketing itself as “Samurai Japan” this tournament, would have any players bowing out with such minor injuries?  You never hear of the minor injuries of players on other teams, because they just shut up and play. It makes the US look like a bunch of crybabies.

And even more galling is that as soon as Pedroia arrived back in Red Sox camp, he suddenly realized his injury was “not as bad as feared,” and expects to be starting in Red Sox spring training games by next week.

You get the feeling that if major league teams are not actually encouraging these injuries, the certainly are happy to have players back early.

Look, I understand the concern about pitchers, and when closer Matt Lindstrom felt soreness in his shoulder that was obviously a situation which deserved to be treated seriously.  But I simply can’t see how a position player playing a handful of ballgames in spring is all that bad, and I’m sick of all the moaning by major league teams.

Certainly, the timing of the WBC is not perfect, but it is an awesome event the provides far, far more exciting baseball than spring training, or even a lot of regular season games (I’m looking at you, Pittsburgh Pirates), and it deserves to be supported.

Nobody cries in the rest of the world, and a sport that forces its stars to play a grueling schedule of almost a game a day for 162 games plus spring training and playoffs hardly has a leg to stand on when complaining about 3-5 extra games.

7 Responses to “Team USA turning out to be a team of wusses”

  1. I agree. Not only are they appearing gutless, they are showing the world that we play dirty (I’m looking at you Matt Lindstrom!)

  2. News flash: Major league players have careers to protect and don’t want to risk long-term injuries in a meaningless tournament. And it shouldn’t be surprising that the Japanese care more about national pride than we do.

  3. Sarah Green says:

    Nick, I disagree. Chipper, Braun, and Pedroia all had injuries in their midsections, which is just a hairsbreadth away from being a deadly oblique strain, which can cost a hitter MONTHS. The very prospect that the AL MVP could get a nagging injury during a meaningless showcase — potentially costing my Red Sox a postseason berth, in the toughest-looking AL East in my memory — had me breaking out into cold sweats. And it’s not just that it’s 3 – 5 extra games. It’s *when* the games are played, when the players (especially the pitchers – Daisuke I fear for you!) are still finding a rhythm and getting used to the rigors of regular play again.

    Maybe you have forgotten – maybe some out there *can* forget. But I cannot: the last WBC left Mike Timlin and Jason Varitek broken men for the rest of that season. They were never the same afterwards. NEVER.

    If they want a better WBC, they should just pause the MLB season and have it instead of the All-Star break. The rest of baseball gets an extended midsummer vacay, and the All-Stars get to represent their countries. And the fans don’t have to watch another boring-ass, interminable All-Star Game. Everybody wins!

    If the WBC is worth risking our stars’ health for, it’s worth cutting into the regular season for.

  4. But I think Nick is right that the rest of the world thinks the WBC is a big deal, while the US players seem to feel the way you do, Sarah — that it is a meaningless showcase. And so they are unwilling to play through even nagging injuries like a sprained ankle.

  5. Nick Kapur says:

    Whatever, Timlin and Varitek were old and sucky to begin with in 2006. You can’t blame their suckage on the WBC, that’s just ridiculous. They were due to suck.

    My point is that I don’t really care if players get injured in the WBC, if that is the price of awesome baseball. And look, American may be in denial about this, but the WBC *IS* in fact some seriously exciting ball. I know, cause I’ve watched it, whereas most of America hasn’t.

    It’s just plain silly that 10,000 fans show up for a meaningless spring training game in Florida where half the stars are travelling and the other half get pulled in the 3rd inning, whereas only 5,000 fans show up to a meaningful-baseball WBC game of all All-Stars being played right down the road.

    Look, players get hurt in Spring Training all. the. time. Teams, players, owners, and fans need to get over the idea that if an injury occurs in the WBC it is all the WBC’s fault. No. Injuries happen. Learn to deal.

  6. Benjamin says:

    The players are legally (and morally) obligated to keep their teams informed as to any – even minor – injuries. The teams are paying millions of dollars a year for a player and are unwilling to risk losing that investment. The players have little choice. They have signed contracts and are “owned” by the team. The owners have the disgression to allow them to play or not.

  7. I agree that the WBC is 1,000 times more exciting than spring training, but I’ve got some serious reservations. This is supposed to be about figuring out which country has the best ball players, but the USA isn’t sending many of its best players. Moreover, the guys who do make the trip are on pitch counts. Would people take the World Cub seriously if Beckham was only allowed to play for ten minutes and Rooney didn’t play at all because his club team said he couldn’t?

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