Thursday, January 26, 2017


(July 16, 2016 - Source: Elsa/Getty Images North America)    
Anything new containing the word Classic in the name is proof positive it was a dumb idea from the start.

When I heard Dellin Betances and Didi Gregorius planned to  participate in this year's fourth World Baseball Classic, three thoughts came to mind:

(Sept. 13, 2016 - Source: Jim McIsaac /Getty Images North America)
1) Both these guys have past history of injuries to their ulnar collateral ligaments in their throwing arms -- a vital piece of tissue that doesn't come with a built-in trip odometer or idiot light to forewarn users when it's about to reach its breaking point.

In Dellin's case, the problem led to surgery and lost development time. In Didi's, it actually occurred while he was working out in preparation for the 2013 WBC and resulted not only in a missed tournament but a missed spring training as well.

Photo: Getty Images
2) Both these guys missed time due to injury and overuse down the stretch last season when the team was still fighting for a playoff spot. For Didi, there were multiple absences attributed to a need for rest as well as slower than expected recovery times from everyday dings to his ribs, wrist and forearm, among other body parts. For Dellin, it was a second year in a row of his tank running out of gas before the finish line, resulting in 10 runs over his final nine appearances that inflated his final ERA by a full run and snuffed out any final flickers of postseason hope.

3) Are both these guys truly so gullible they're actually buying into the fiction they're doing something noble playing in this game? Really? 

I love Sir Didi and D-Train and don't want to even imagine what happens to our team this year if anything should happen to either of them. 

(Sept. 8, 2016 - Source: Rich Schultz/Getty Images North America)    

So someone needs to tell Dellin that when you're born and raised in Brooklyn, playing for a foreign team makes you about as noble as any American guy who puts on a T-shirt that says Kiss Me I'm Irish and drinks green beer on St. Patrick's Day. My opinion!

As for Sir Didi, who hails from Amsterdam and came by his royal-sounding title after defeating Cuba as a member of the Dutch national team in the 2011 WBC finals, alright already. You represented once, you won, and you got some notice back when you were still a light-hitting minor leaguer with zero MLB value to the team that was paying you and had nothing to lose but your anonymity. The second time you tried you almost broke the trigger in your gun. Quit while you're ahead, sir with all due respect!

Like it or not, both of you are leaders and integral figures on a team with far wider international reach,  far higher championship ambitions and far greater historic staying power  than anything connected with this soon-to-be-DFA'ed brainchild of former commish Uncle Bud Selig, the salesman who sold you other ill-conceived money grabs such as November night games and the end of single-ticket double-headers.

Photo: Getty Images
Go ask your teammate Masahiro Tanaka why the only Japanese major leaguer going this year is a 35-year-old Astros utility outfielder. Read CAUTIOUS TANAKA on BYB about him not doing the WBC.

Photo: Getty Images
It's not too late to back out, guys. Just invent some face-saving excuse. Heck, Max Scherzer just backed out with the help of the Nats by using  the elegant ruse of a new angle to a previously disclosed minor injury  that somehow, magically, won't interfere at all with his spring training schedule.  

Just ask the Yankees straight up if it's alright with them if you participate. I'm sure they'll have no problem conjuring up a half dozen medical reasons why you can't.

But the best reason of all not to do it is that you shouldn't. And to explain that, all you need to do is release a one-word statement of your own:


 --Barry Millman
BYB Writer
Follow me on Twitter: @nyyankeefanfore

Be Read. Get Known.

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