Rays say injury threat cannot diminish thrill of playing in Globe Baseball Classic
ST. PETERSBURG — Simply because there are no bullpens on the field or beyond the outfield walls at Taiwan’s Taichung Stadium, Rays catcher Christian Bethancourt missed the pageantry of Panama’s Globe Baseball Classic opener as he warmed up the beginning pitcher in a batting cage below the stands.
But he was nonetheless in a position to hear the initial couple of notes of “Himno Istmeño,” the Panamanian anthem. Then he had to pause for a moment.
“I cried for a tiny bit,” Bethancourt stated. “I got seriously emotional. And it felt terrific.”
Bethancourt is not the only Ray to return from the WBC glowing about the practical experience.
The smile on Wander Franco’s face Saturday morning in recounting his time with the Dominican Republic group was just as telling.
“It was certainly a dream come accurate for any Dominican player to be in a position to represent the nation,” he stated, through group interpreter Manny Navarro.
“I cannot clarify it,” added Harold Ramirez, who played for Colombia.
Dominican Republic’s Wander Franco celebrates soon after acquiring a base hit through the second inning of a Globe Baseball Classic game against Puerto Rico on March 15.
[ WILFREDO LEE | AP ]
These feelings, and the memories, signed balls and jerseys the players brought dwelling really should serve as a rebuttal for these criticizing the WBC notion following the season-ending proper knee injury sustained by Mets closer Edwin Diaz as he celebrated Puerto Rico’s win.
“It sucks that he got hurt,” Bethancourt stated. “But I wouldn’t personally blame it on the WBC. That could have occurred anyplace.”
Although the WBC could not be preferred amongst fans in the United States — in particular though getting played at the identical time as the NCAA basketball tournaments — participating Rays players stated it is critical to understand how a lot it indicates elsewhere.
“I sort of agree with that. It is not a knock on anyone, but in particular exactly where we come from, our nations in Latin America, baseball is the major sport,” Francisco Mejia, who caught for the Dominican group, stated through group communications manager Elvis Martinez.
“In the United States, you almost certainly have numerous sports or other items to root for. It is an honor to put on your country’s jersey and represent your nation and your loved ones and close friends. And that is the way we see it.”
Or, as Bethancourt framed it: “We’re representing our nation and we also are representing our households, our roots. For soccer they have the FIFA Globe Cup we have the WBC.”
The threat of injury to players is definitely the largest concern for teams, who location restrictions on usage, in particular for pitchers. But these identical injuries can happen through spring education workouts and games.
“I do not assume that is fair to necessarily pin it on the WBC,” Rays manager Kevin Money stated. “I surely comprehend organizations wanting to shield their guys for the championship season, but you appear at the atmosphere of some of these games, they imply a lot to these players. There’s practically nothing incorrect with acquiring that variety of excitement involved in our game.”
Outfielder Randy Arozarena, who has played a starring function as Mexico sophisticated to the semifinals, has personified that.
And he emphasized the significance of the games when he stated his game-saving catch in Friday’s quarterfinal was larger than any dwelling run he has hit, such as in the 2020 Globe Series.
Mexico manager Benji Gil went additional, saying it “has to be the most critical play in the history of Mexican sports.”
Other participating Rays stated it is difficult clarify how a lot it all meant, from getting teammates with some of their country’s elite players to proudly wearing the colors.
Mejia stated he couldn’t picture any postseason atmosphere surpassing what they seasoned Wednesday in the win-or-go-dwelling game they lost to Puerto Rico.
“I do not assume I’m ever going to really feel nervous once more,” he stated. “It does not matter the stage. I assume my ears are nonetheless ringing from all the noise in the crowd. … It is like you are playing in a concert or some thing.”
The Rays cannot however announce Shane McClanahan as their opening day starter, nor can other teams name theirs, due to a league-wide mandate to withhold the news for an MLB Network particular on Thursday. … With Neil Solondz promoted to join Andy Freed in the radio booth following the March five passing of Dave Wills, the group will subsequent be searching to fill the pre-/post-game host function. … Very best wishes to former Rays communications managers Karly Fisher, who moved to player improvement in a travel/logistics function, and Craig Vanderkam, who joined Big League Baseball’s information operations division. … Prospect Junior Caminero, a 19-year-old infielder known as up for Thursday’s game at Tropicana Field, place on a show in batting practice that had large-leaguers stopping to watch. … In spite of his ideal efforts to get Money to spend, ex-Ray Ji-Man Choi picked up the tab for a Friday evening dinner with assistant hitting coach Brady North. … In a Crestline survey of 1,000 baseball fans nationwide, Rays backers had been named eighth least annoying and 13th ideal-behaved. … A restricted quantity of copies of the Rays media guide, with a cool 25th anniversary cover, will be accessible in mid-April at the group retailer. … Sports Illustrated’s Stephanie Apstein reported on some thing the Rays (and most other teams) do for their players that the mighty Yankees do not: supply Web access on group flights for no cost. … The new checkout-no cost, grab-and-go concession location on the centerfield porch will be known as The Shortstop. … In addition to upgrading the Tropicana Field major and side video boards, there is also a new graphics package. … Betonline.ag provides the Rays a 63 % possibility to make the playoffs, third ideal in the American League East, fourth in the league, 10th in the majors. … The Yankees are organizing renovations to their Tampa spring facility. Owner Hal Steinbrenner stated they had been concerned to be “falling behind a lot of other teams that have newer facilities,” citing the Blue Jays’ state-of-the-art complicated in Dunedin, and adding: “I’m not 1 that ever desires to be secondary.”
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