In case you have not been watching the 2009 World Baseball Classic, and judging by some of the TV broadcasts, you haven’t, then you may not have noticed the USA’s impressive showing thus far, starting out 2-0. Impressive, yes, but how can America’s baseball fans ignore the numerous players who turned down invitations to be a part of the team? Sure, some have legitimate excuses such as injuries, but a disappointing amount of players aren’t playing because they just didn’t want to.
Because of this disturbing epidemic, America’s team is forced to feature a bullpen consisting of stars such as Matt Thornton, Matt Lindstrom, J.P. Howell, Joel Hanrahan, Heath Bell, John Grabow, and Brad Ziegler. Thanks for the help John Danks, Brad Lidge, and Jonathan Papelbon, in particular. All turned down invitations to represent their countries without any good excuse. If you have been paying attention, then you are well aware that the biggest hole in the US roster is their bullpen, something that could very well keep America’s team from winning the title here in 2009.
In Pool C’s Game One against Canada, Joel Hanrahan, James Shields, and J.J. Putz combined for three late innings of work giving up three earned runs. America held on to win 6-5 but could have easily lost due to an incompetent bullpen. The bullpen was better in Game Two but still gave up three earned runs from the sixth inning on. This trend cannot continue if the US hopes to take home any title in this tournament.