Next season will be an exciting year for many reasons, but for me personally, the return of the World Baseball Classic is near the top of the list.
The World Baseball Classic will combine 16 of the best teams from the entire world in a showdown to name the best baseball nation overall. It’s a grueling and competitive tournament that takes place during Spring Training, and thus is met with some resistance by some players and teams.
Unfortunately, Team USA will not be featuring one of the best young arms in the game this time around: the New York Mets’ own Noah Syndergaard.
In a statement from his agent, Syndergaard thanks Team USA for the honor of being asked to be part of the roster but explained his work with the Mets is more important at this point.
Although as a Mets fan this makes me incredibly happy, as a fan of international play, I do wish Noah would participate and play for Team USA. As far as priorities go, winning the World Baseball Classic is nowhere near as important as winning a World Series title, obviously, so I understand why he and the Mets are not risking it.
The QBC is still not nearly as popular as the World Cup is in soccer or other international tournaments in which playing for your country is always placed above playing for your local team.
I see this changing over the next eight or twelve years though. The more people see their favorite players competing along with hated rivals in an effort to win for their country, the shift may begin to take place. Let’s not forget the impact it’s already had on some players over the years.
David Wright‘s heroics in the 2009 World Baseball Classic versus Puerto Rico was one of the coolest moments I’ve seen, and it earned him the nickname Captain America. Was it weird seeing Derek Jeter and David celebrating together? Definitely. Was it awesome? Definitely.
The 2017 World Baseball Classic won’t have Thor on the mound, but I’m still excited for it. Japan has won the title twice, and the Dominican Republic is the defending champ from 2013. I want this time to be Team USA’s year. Maybe we can win both internationally and locally in 2017 and make it the wildest of baseball rides.