“It’s disappointing, sure, but I just couldn’t have been prouder of a group of guys than this group here.” – Joe Torre
As a disclaimer I highly respect Torre who skippered the Yankees, my favorite baseball team, to several World Series wins but – sorry Joe- USA’s ouster from the World Baseball Classic was disastrous. Baseball is supposedly our national pastime yet the USA has managed to go 10-10 in all-time Classic play and couldn’t even make it out of the second round this year. I understand that Torre has a responsibility to protect his players from criticism, something he regularly did with the Yankees, but Team USA management must realize that other countries take this tournament far more seriously than we do. All you have to do is watch the celebration after Puerto Rico knocked the USA out. To do the manager proud, they should cajole / coerce / bribe the best American starting pitchers to participate because while Dickey and Vogelsong are good, they’re not Verlander, Price or Hamels. If the Latin American and Asian countries put out their A teams, why won’t the USA? Obviously, there’s always concern about injuries from both team and player but given the Domincan Republic has 10 All-Stars on their roster, including fearsome hitters Hanley Ramirez and Adrian Beltre, there’s no way we can ever compete. The question then becomes: what’s the point of even playing?