Tuesday, August 30, 2016

MLB Announces 2017 World Baseball Classic Schedule And Pools

The first problem with the World Baseball Classic is that people are always going to refer to it as a World Cup for baseball. It's not the World Cup. It's never going to be as popular as the World Cup. But that doesn't mean it can't still  be enjoyable and worth watching.

The second problem with the WBC is a much bigger issue, and that is that the best players don't play. For example, the only true stars on the 2013 team USA roster were Giancarlo Stanton, Ryan Braun, and David Wright. There were other good players, such as Joe Mauer, Adam Jones, Jimmy Rollins, and Ben Zobrist, but ultimately the roster paled in comparison to what it could have been. 

The pitching rotation was even worse. R.A. Dickey was the ace coming off his Cy Young season. Craig Kimbrel was the closer. Outside of that the staff and bullpen was assembled of guys such as Ryan Vogelsong, Gio Gonzalez, Heath Bell, and "Mitchell Boggs". Ultimately team USA was eliminated in the second round.

The saving grace for the 2017 tournament would be if Bryce Harper played. He has said he wants to as long as the other star players do. If this were to be the case the potential roster could include names such as Harper, Mike Trout, Mookie Betts, Nolan Arenado, Clayton Kershaw, and Madison Bumgarner. That, of course, is unlikely but Harper seems to be genuinely interested. Team USA may need him as they got put in a tough opening pool along with Canada, Colombia, and the 2013 champion Dominican Republic.

More information on the tournament can be found here. It will run during spring training from March 7-22.

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