Does Team Canada have a chance at the World Baseball Classic?
Written on January 29, 2013 at 13:24, by headtothenet
Breaking down our countries chances at this year’s tournament
-by David Kloepfer
With only one spot remaining on Team Canada’s provisional roster for March’s World Baseball Classic is there anything you can do to help your country? We’ll answer that and more below.
The U.S., Venezuelan, and Dominican clubs are comprised entirely of notable MLB players, and the hearts of these orders are going to be be truly frightening.
The Venezuelan bats are scary, with Pablo “Panda” Sandoval, Carlos “CarGo” Gonzalez, and 2012 Triple Crown winner Miguel “I am the shit” Cabrera expected to take up the middle of the order. And they’ll be starting Felix Hernandez and Anabel Sanchez on the mound. Yikes.
The U.S. can choose from Ryan Braun, Joe Mauer, Mark Teixiera, Giancarlo Stanton, and David Wright, among others, to knock the holy snot out of whatever Canadian pitcher Scott Richmond serves up.
The Dominican Republic is also loaded with major leaguers, but if you’re worried about Joey Bats, don’t. Bautista won’t be swatting Chris Leroux fastballs out of the park, because the Blue Jays aren’t allowing him to play.
Instead, you can watch his battery mate Edwin Encarnacion, the perpetually underrated Adrian Beltre, and Yankee God Robinson Cano mash Leroux’s meatballs across three continents.
If that’s not enough for you, Mexico and Puerto Rico are both heavily loaded with MLB talent, and there’s no good reason to discount the Japanese and Korean teams just because they’ve assembled non-MLB rosters. In fact, odds-makers have the tournament shaping up as follows:
Dominican Republic 7:2
Canada might be in trouble…
Canada has an uphill battle considering several major league starters either declined their invitation to play (Colorado’s Jeff Francis and Boston’s Ryan Dempster), or were not named to the roster for other reasons (Scott Diamond, Erik Bedard, and Rich Harden).
It’s not all doom and gloom, though. Canada’s round robin grouping pits them against the U.S. (certain doom), Mexico (fighting chance), and Italy (they better win).
What’s more, Team Canada has one open spot on its roster, which could make a huge difference to their success.
Team Canada’s roster
Former Blue Jays legend/McDonald’s spokesperson Ernie Whitt (see video below) will manage the following collection of mostly non-MLB players through the WBC:
(In brackets: 2012 MLB club, or Blue Jays affiliate)
John Axford (Milwaukee Brewers)
Jim Henderson (Milwaukee Brewers)
Chris Leroux (Pittsburgh Pirates)
Trystan Magnuson (Dunedin AA Blue Jays)
Russell Martin (Pittsburgh Pirates)
Taylor Green (Milwaukee Brewers)
Brett Lawrie (Canada Blue Jays)
Justin Morneau (Minnesota Twins)
Pete Orr (Philadelphia Phillies)
Jimmy Van Ostrand
Finally, what can you do for your country?
Strap on a pair of cleats, head down to the field, and show Ernie Whitt you’ve got what it takes. Team Canada’s got one open spot, and if you play your heart out, maybe you can have it!
Err, hold on–no you can’t. That last spot will go to Toronto native and Red’s first baseman, the inhuman Joey Votto. That is as long as he clears a physical and successfully navigates some insurance issues. Hopefully those issues aren’t with ICBC, because if they are, good luck.