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Monday, February 20, 2006

Ervin Santana Opts Out Of WBC

Another casualty: the Angels' Ervin Santana will not participate in the WBC.
"I want to focus on what we do and our season," Santana said of remaining in camp with the Angels. "You don't know what happens there with injuries."

MLB was crazy to schedule this at a time when every fan in the US is thinking "I hope my team doesn't have any players in the WBC."
When else are they going to do it? I just can't see a time when playing for your country in baseball will ever be more important than playing for your team, at least for Americans. There's just no history of great international competition at this level like there is in soccer and hockey, and even basketball to some extent (and they dont' even get the best players anymore).
One major league player, forget who, suggested that in the future to accomodate the WBC they should start the regular season a week to ten days earlier, cancel the all star game, and stage the WBC mid season. His thinking was it would be somewhat less taxing on the players and injuries wouldn't be as likely to occur.
I understand the WBC is anxioulsy anticipated in Latin America. But as an American I have no interest in it. Strikes me as an over-hyped exhibition.
Mid season with a long break would be better, though you're right, there never is a good time when you value the American sport more than International competition.
Although it would never happen this way, one solution would be to play a shorter season - say, 154 games, in WBC years. Skip the All-Star game that year (really, wasn't the WBC intended to be something of an international all-star competition?), and play it as a little mid-season break.
Plus, in soccer you don't see too many career or season ending injuries. Pitchers, especially, risk a lot by playing in the WBC.

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