United States knocked out of the WBC
Going into the World Baseball Classic the United States were the underdogs, stars such as Josh Hamilton, Justin Verlander, and Mike Trout; there was no way Team USA could have hoped to have gotten through the competition without a little luck. Unfortunately their luck ran out after two successive losses to the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. So what went wrong? Let’s take a look.
Let’s face it, the WBC is terribly ill timed. It is held early in Spring Training when many clubs are just starting to gear up for their seasons. Pretty much all of the pitchers are not even close to being ready to pitch who games while the hitters hardly have enough experience timing a fastball, let alone a curveball or changeup.
Starter Ryan Vogelsong was spot on in citing that his team was underprepared for the tournament while much of the opposition had been playing throughout the winter in preparation for the WBC.
“Those guys that play winter ball are definitely a step ahead,” Vogelsong said. “We’re preparing a little earlier to get ready for this but you can’t simulate that type of energy, the type of pressure that comes along with being in this tournament. The guys that play winter ball, they’re dealing with that all winter. They’re probably a little more sharp with their pitches, they see the ball better with their at-bats.
As mentioned before, the Team USA roster had a severe lack of star power. The best lineup should feature the likes of Prince Fielder, Josh Hamilton, and Mike Trout; not the weak lineup we saw rushed onto the field in early March. What’s even worse is the pitching staff; the best pitcher was R.A. Dickey whose success is more of a recent phenomenon than any sort of consistency. Where was Justin Verlander or David Price? The answer is preparing for their upcoming seasons, which brings us to my next point.
Quite simply, the United States does not care about the World Baseball Classic? You disagree? Look at the roster and the effort put forth. It’s obvious that the MLB cares a heck of a lot more about the 2013 season than they do about any World Baseball Classic. In three tournaments the United States is 10-10, rather than playing they seem to be doing all they can to make a quick exit other than blowing the games of course. It’s not that the US openly opposes the WBC; it’s just that they don’t really care.
Infielder Brandon Phillips summed it up nicely after the devastating loss.
“It’s disappointing,’’ Phillips said. “I knew we were going to San Francisco. For us not to get to San Francisco, it sucks bad. I wanted to go to San Fran so bad. They did their job, we didn’t. What more can I really say? It’s tough, you play in the WBC, you’re not really ready, you’re in spring training mode but you’ve got to click it on.’’
The MLB is entitled to do what it wants in relation to the World Baseball Classic, but if they aren’t going to bring forth a truly competitive team then they should not pretend to act like they really want to win.