VIERA, Fla. - Gio Gonzalez might not get a chance to represent his country after all.
In a bit of a shocker, a stacked Team USA lost to Mexico in the first round of play in the World Baseball Classic last night. Adrian Gonzalez (who was born in the United States, mind you) hit a two-run homer off R.A. Dickey and the Mexican team scored a big 5-2 win.
This sets up a crucial game for the Americans today against Italy. There are multitudes of different scenarios here, but from what I understand, if Team USA falls tonight, the chances of Joe Torre's squad advancing to the second round are incredibly slim.
Possible, but incredibly slim.
Gonzalez was scheduled to leave the Nationals tomorrow to meet up with Team USA for the second round of the tournament in Miami, where he would then get the start for the Americans on March 12.
The way that it's been talked about early this spring, Gonzalez taking the mound in Miami three days from now has almost sounded guaranteed. The Nationals and Team USA went to great lengths to get Gonzalez on a certain throwing schedule to prepare him for the Classic, and he's very excited to get a chance to take the ball and pitch for his country.
Now, that might not end up happening.
Team USA will face Italian starter Luca Panerati (we sure this guy's Italian? I'm not so convinced) tonight at 9 p.m.
Ross Detwiler will pitch for the Americans tonight; he's scheduled to piggyback Ryan Vogelsong, who will get the start.
I was out with a group of MASN folks who are down here in Florida last night and only got a chance to catch the last few innings of the game against Mexico, but I'm really curious how intently you all are watching this tournament and how hard you're rooting for Team USA (or whatever country to which you might have an allegiance).
Do you all care how Team USA fares in the WBC? Will you watch tonight? Will you pull for the Nationals players that are participating, but not spend much time following the rest of the action?
Major League Baseball wants this tournament to be embraced by baseball fans worldwide. I wonder whether it has been yet, or whether it will anytime in the near future.