The 2012 AL MVP. The 2012 NL Cy Young winner. The 2011 NL MVP. The 2010 NL MVP. The 2009 AL MVP. The 2007 NL MVP. The 2006 AL MVP.
It is really easy to point out the names of players who aren’t taking part in the 2013 World Baseball Classic. But the list of talented, decorated, and genuinely entertaining baseball players who are set to represent their country in the next month is pretty good. You don’t even have to squint!
The final roster update went live last night, with notable names like Joey Votto remaining eligible to play in the WBC, though he isn’t 100% in yet. Despite big league teams doing their very best to strip the talent from the event, it should still be a good time. The rules may hamstring the competition but let’s not complain about a lack of talent.
As far as talent goes, there is no more talented and sought-after player than Giancarlo Stanton – who will play for Team USA and find himself surrounded by talented people for the first time in a long time. Slipping into the American training camp is surely a welcome reprieve from Marlins Spring Training as much as anything.
Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports wrote a profile of the Marlins slugger yesterday, branding him as the lonliest man in Miami after the great Marlins fire sale. Stanton says pretty much all he can say: so what?
“What are you gonna do?” Stanton said Thursday morning. “Honestly, what? There’s nothing you can do. You express your feelings, and that’s about it.”
Passan lauds Stanton’s maturity but, really, what possible recourse is there for Giancarlo Stanton?
He can play out his final pre-arbitration year, setting himself up for the first of many massive paydays. He can take to the bigger stage of the World Baseball Classic and hope to spread his wings, getting his name out there to non-Marlins fans (and non-Getting Blanked readers, who’ve been down with Stanton since the day before forever.)
As we’ve plead in this space before, the WBC will be as big as we make it. Rather than quibble over the rules or who is missing, we can only take real live baseball for what it is: a chance to watch Ryan Braun and Giancarlo Stanton play on the same team. To watch Jose Reyes, Hanley Ramirez, and Robinson Cano fill out an infield with Edwin Encarnacion.
To learn the name of Cuban stars and pretend to know the name of Japanese utility threats. To watch the Venezuelan team — even without Felix Hernandez — win the whole damn thing, it says here. To watch Carlos Beltran go full Clemente in his final appearance in a Puerto Rican jersey. Let yourself enjoy it, you might just have a good time.
And the rest
The knuckelball reality show is over. A non-Flutie guy won. He’ll be in Diamondbacks camp tomorrow. Hope he packed a snowsuit. [MLB.com]
Great moments in “things that probably won’t happen in 2013″
— Dan Epstein (@BigHairPlasGras) February 21, 2013
Fan projections: actually not bad, once you get past the whole prospect pr0n thing. [Fangraphs]
The guy who won all those medeals and ate all those cheesecakes took BP with the Orioles. He’s probably better than Lew Ford already.