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.”
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.