Well Below Competitive.
Torre, at one point in his postgame news conference, uncharacteristically bristled at a question about whether holding the tournament in the middle of spring training hurts Team USA. The question, he said, would not even have been relevant if the U.S. had gotten a hit with the bases loaded and one out in the eighth, instead of ending up with merely a bases-loaded walk.
In response to a follow-up about this being the third straight WBC disappointment for the U.S., Torre said, “I guess John Elway had to win a Super Bowl for everybody to consider him a great, great player. It doesn’t always happen. Ernie Banks never was at a World Series. It’s just what happens in short series. It’s not easy to do.”
No argument, but three straight disappointments amount to a pattern. Both Braun and Phillips said they would highly recommend the WBC experience to other players. Perhaps this latest knockout will inspire the next generation of hitters — Bryce Harper, Mike Trout, etc. — to go all-in. And perhaps the next time the best U.S. pitchers will say to themselves, “I’ve got to do this,” and prepare accordingly.
Heaven knows, there is no ideal time for the tournament, and a number of players have legitimate reasons for declining to participate. OK, fine. The players, as I’ve written previously, are mostly good enough.
It’s the mindset that needs to change, from the major league clubs to the Team USA manager and players. Maybe the urgency can never be what it is for Puerto Rico or the Dominican Republic. But Phillips put it best, saying, “You just see how everybody’s passion is totally different than our country’s.” Right now, the U.S. approach is too half-hearted.
Joe Torre spoke beautifully, and his words rang hollow.
Doesn’t that alone indicate a problem?
Posted: March 16, 2013 at 08:28 AM | 33 comment(s)
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