Another year, another disappointment for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic.
After advancing to the second round and beating Puerto Rico in its first second-round matchup, Team USA dropped two straight games to the powerhouse Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, resulting in an early exit from the WBC.
While there's no doubting that countries like Japan and the D.R. take more pride in representing their countries in the Classic, it's also clear that the U.S. is at a disadvantage given the timing of the event.
With the WBC kicking off less than a month before the grueling 162-game MLB season begins, a number of U.S. stars choose not to take part in the national tournament in favor of staying healthy and getting in shape for the MLB season.
The United States' pitching staff was anchored by R.A. Dickey, Ryan Vogelsong and Gio Gonzalez.
Wouldn't it be better if the U.S. was giving the ball to guys like Justin Verlander, Clayton Kershaw and Jered Weaver?
Of course it would, but the big arms choose to skip the WBC due to saving themselves for the MLB season and not having to adjust their training schedule, which is something Jorge Ortiz of USA Today touched on.
With MLB organizations investing so much time and money into their stars, often times it's not even up to a big league player if he's going to play in the WBC—the decision comes from above.
That said, having the tournament a mere three weeks before the start of the MLB season doesn't favor the U.S.
Perhaps if the WBC took place during the early winter in indoor stadiums and warmer climates, some of the best Americans would feel more comfortable playing, knowing they had more time after the Classic to prepare for the upcoming MLB season.
As a result of the WBC, David Wright—who was largely the only offense for Team USA—could be forced to miss opening day for the New York Mets due to an injury he aggravated during the Classic, according to the New York Daily News.
Don't get me wrong, there's no excuse for how poorly the U.S. played in the WBC.
Ryan Braun, Brandon Phillips, Giancarlo Stanton, Adam Jones and Shane Victorino all hit under .300 and only Jones contributed more than one RBI out of the aforementioned players.
The fact of the matter is that the timing of the event isn't set up for the U.S. to field its best players, and as long as this timeframe for the WBC continues, Team USA will never be successful.
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