As a baseball fan, I am a big fan of the World Baseball Classic, as I will support anything that features baseball in international competition. Baseball truly is an international game and it should have a worldwide stage in which to showcase the talent and the competitive nature of the game. Without baseball in the Olympics, the World Baseball Classic is the perfect stage.
The Toronto Blue Jays, with their international flavor well in place, will be sending seven players to the games, with Brett Lawrie, J.P. Arencibia, R.A. Dickey, Jose Reyes, Edwin Encarnacion, Melky Cabrera and Esmil Rogers all representing their various countries. Dickey and Arencibia will be suiting up for the United States, Lawrie will be playing for the Canadian team, and Reyes, Encarnacion, Rogers, and Cabrera will take the field with the Dominican Republic when the games begin on March 2nd.
As a fan, it is tough to imagine what injuries could befall the players during the tournament, especially with it being played so early in the Spring, when many players are still bringing themselves up to game speed. That is not a thought that was lost on general manager Alex Anthopolous either.
“It’s tough, I guess, from a baseball industry standpoint, [but] it’s great for the game, and for a fan it’s great for the game,” general manager Alex Anthopoulos told reporters on Thursday afternoon. “As a general manager, you’re holding your breath. But there’s the impact of it being a great honour for the players. It’s great for the organization to be acknowledged and for those guys to be on those teams.
“Bottom line, I think it is good for the sport and good for the game. I understand all players want to play in it, a lot of them do, so you just hope everyone has a good performance, with no health concerns, and they’re back soon.”
One notable name from Toronto’s roster that will not be playing will be Jose Bautista. Coming off of August surgery on his wrist, both Bautista and the team felt it would be best for the slugger to be getting his cuts in Spring Training and getting himself ready for the long season.
Aside from those on the Major League roster, recently signed Adam Loewen will also take the field with Team Canada, giving the Toronto organization a total of eight representatives on the various rosters.
Here’s to hoping they all make an impact and come back to Toronto healthy and ready to chase a different kind of championship!