So what if some baseball fans don’t get the World Baseball Classic? Well, tell that to the Dominican, Puerto Rican and Venezuelan baseball fans all hyped up to see their beloved countrymen on the same field together. Tell that to those Mexican fans at Estadio Charros de Jalisco on March 9th when they first see L.A. Dodgers star Adrian Gonzalez step to the plate against some Italian pitcher. Shoot, tell that Team USA star Nolan Arenado, who normally plays lots of meaningless games for the Colorado Rockies, yet will now play for his country.
“I’ve heard the atmosphere is pretty intense,” Arenado told MLB.com. “I’m excited for that opportunity to play.”
Still don’t get it? Let us put you on. Here are seven things to ponder about the WBC:
1. Can the Dominican Republic Repeat?
The 2013 champions return in 2017 with bashers including Robinson Cano, Hanley Ramirez and Hialeah, FL’s Manny Machado. Johnny Cueto and Edinson Volquez run the starting staff, while Jeurys Familia and Fernando Rodney hold down the bullpen. Still, D.R. may not have it so easy this time, as it faces Team USA in the opening round.