Despite lots of Twitter campaigning this past week, Bryce Harper came up short in the voting for the cover of MLB ‘13 The Show.
Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen will grace the video game’s cover after receiving over 108,000 votes via Facebook and Twitter.
Harper received 42,542 votes and finished fifth in voting that also contained CC Sabathia, Miguel Cabrera, Matt Kemp, Buster Posey and Ryan Braun.
We know that Harper will not be participating in the World Baseball Classic this spring; his agent, Scott Boras, told reporters at the Winter Meetings that Harper will choose not to play for Team USA.
In the upcoming days and weeks, however, the rosters for the 16 teams remaining in the tournament will start to fill up. Players will sign on to represent their respective countries and compete in the 2 1/2-week event, which kicks off March 2 and ends with the championship game March 19.
Roger Bernadina has already agreed to play for the Netherlands, and to my knowledge he’s the only Nationals player officially on board with one of the teams that made it through the qualifying stages. Don’t be surprised if a couple of other Nationals players end up joining in on the WBC action, however.
As far as major league teams are concerned, the WBC is a nice international showcase event, but you’d imagine there are still executives across the league that hold their breath every time one of their players steps on the field during a WBC game.
By the time WBC pool play kicks off, pitchers will have been at spring training less than three weeks. It’s possible some will not have had a chance to pitch in a spring training game before they report to their WBC teams.
Position players will have had even less time with their big league teams prior to the start of WBC pool play, some as little as two weeks.
You would hope that any player participating in the WBC will come to spring training in great shape and perhaps have a bit of a jump start on the early work that’s done to gear players up for game action. But that might not always be the case.
Even if a player does show up to camp in tip-top shape, having that player go all-out during a game in early March could result in an injury. Players know their bodies and presumably won’t push it too hard in these games, but fluke injuries happen.
That’s obviously a worst-case scenario. The World Baseball Classic is a cool event which puts some of the best talent on the globe on one field, and the vast majority of the players participating will come out of it perfectly fine health-wise. Plus, players can get injured during regular spring training games, as well.
But with all that said, I’m curious whether you, the fan, would want some of your favorite players participating in the WBC. Would you be cool with Jordan Zimmermann going out and starting games for Team USA in March? Would you want Ian Desmond or Adam LaRoche taking the field for this tournament?
On one hand, it’d be nice to see those guys out there representing their country, and it would speak highly of the talent the Nationals have on their roster. It also could be a nice tune-up for the season. On the other hand, it would seem to present at least slightly more risk of injury than the standard Grapefruit League schedule.
So, what do you think? Would you be cool with Nationals players suiting up for the WBC?