Talking Baseball

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Posted by Mike on Saturday, February 12, 2005

"We like our players hurt."

I don't think you're going to find a team in baseball that shares that sentiment. In fact, most teams do their best to prevent injuries from occurring in the first place. It's good business. A team just isn't going to win as many games as it should if its best players are missing significant amounts of playing time.

This brings me to the Baseball World Cup that could happen as early as next March. Are major league teams supposed to be expected to allow some of their players to go and play in these meaningless exhibition games? What happens when a major star goes down to injury in one of these games? Will their team just take the injury in stride? How about the fans?

These games certainly will be meaningless. I think we can assume that either the United States, the Dominican Republic, or Cuba will find a way to win. Maybe Japan will put up a fight, and that would be really cute, but who honestly cares? So one country will come away from the tournament with some sort of bragging rights or something. Great. It's not even like we will be seeing anything new with World Cup games. The same players that make up the major leagues will just be divided up based on their nationalities and play against each other.

Now there will be another set of real games that major league players can risk getting injured in. I've heard people argue that since the World Cup will take place when Spring Training would normally be occurring that players won't end up being any more worn down than they normally would. That's just foolish. There is a clear difference between the type of easy going games that take place in Spring Training and the type of winner-takes-all games that would be expected in a World Cup.

Pitchers are going to be expected to bear down and pitch like it's the playoffs. These type of innings take a toll of arms over the course of a year. I don't want the pitchers on my team wearing down in September because they've already spent their share of arm strength for that month. I'm sure other fans don't want to see this happen either.

Are teams going to be expected to just let their players go and play in this tournaments? Legally, there are questions to be answered. Is the team still going to be responsible for the contract of a player who is hurt in World Cup play? What if the injury doesn't show up until later in the year because the player is afraid of losing money?

~ Mike


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