• Mon. Mar 20th, 2023

Rays say injury threat can not diminish thrill of playing in Globe Baseball Classic


Mar 18, 2023

ST. PETERSBURG — For the cause that there are no bullpens on the field or beyond the outfield walls at Taiwan’s Taichung Stadium, Rays catcher Christian Bethancourt missed the pageantry of Panama’s Globe Baseball Classic opener as he warmed up the starting pitcher in a batting cage beneath the stands.

But he was nonetheless capable to hear the initial couple of notes of “Himno Istmeño,” the Panamanian anthem. Then he had to pause for a moment.

“I cried for a modest bit,” Bethancourt stated. “I got seriously emotional. And it felt terrific.”

Bethancourt is not the only Ray to return from the WBC glowing about the encounter.

The smile on Wander Franco’s face Saturday morning in recounting his time with the Dominican Republic group was just as telling.

“It was certainly a dream come precise for any Dominican player to be capable to represent the nation,” he stated, by signifies of group interpreter Manny Navarro.

“I can not clarify it,” added Harold Ramirez, who played for Colombia.

Dominican Republic’s Wander Franco celebrates instantly following acquiring a base hit in the course of the second inning of a Globe Baseball Classic game against Puerto Rico on March 15.


These feelings, and the memories, signed balls and jerseys the players brought home definitely must serve as a rebuttal for these criticizing the WBC notion following the season-ending appropriate knee injury sustained by Mets closer Edwin Diaz as he celebrated Puerto Rico’s win.

“It sucks that he got hurt,” Bethancourt stated. “But I wouldn’t personally blame it on the WBC. That could have occurred anyplace.”

Though the WBC might probably not be preferred amongst fans in the United States — specially while obtaining played at the identical time as the NCAA basketball tournaments — participating Rays players stated it is essential to recognize how a lot it indicates elsewhere.

“I sort of agree with that. It is not a knock on anybody, but specially precisely exactly where we come from, our nations in Latin America, baseball is the most significant sport,” Francisco Mejia, who caught for the Dominican group, stated by signifies of group communications manager Elvis Martinez.

“In the United States, you in all probability have a lot of sports or other points to root for. It is an honor to place on your country’s jersey and represent your nation and your household members and close pals. And that is the way we see it.”

Or, as Bethancourt framed it: “We’re representing our nation and we also are representing our households, our roots. For soccer they have the FIFA Globe Cup we have the WBC.”

The threat of injury to players is of course the greatest concern for teams, who spot restrictions on usage, specially for pitchers. But these identical injuries can take location in the course of spring instruction workouts and games.

“I do not take into consideration that is fair to necessarily pin it on the WBC,” Rays manager Kevin Income stated. “I certainly understand organizations wanting to shield their guys for the championship season, but you seem at the atmosphere of some of these games, they imply a lot to these players. There’s completely nothing at all incorrect with acquiring that selection of excitement involved in our game.”

Outfielder Randy Arozarena, who has played a starring component as Mexico sophisticated to the semifinals, has personified that.

And he emphasized the significance of the games when he stated his game-saving catch in Friday’s quarterfinal was bigger than any home run he has hit, like in the 2020 Globe Series.

Mexico manager Benji Gil went more, saying it “has to be the most essential play in the history of Mexican sports.”

Other participating Rays stated it is difficult clarify how a lot it all meant, from obtaining teammates with some of their country’s elite players to proudly wearing the colors.

Mejia stated he couldn’t image any postseason atmosphere surpassing what they skilled Wednesday in the win-or-go-home game they lost to Puerto Rico.

“I do not take into consideration I’m ever going to definitely really feel nervous as soon as once more,” he stated. “It does not matter the stage. I take into consideration my ears are nonetheless ringing from all the noise in the crowd. … It is like you are playing in a concert or some factor.”

The Rays can not but announce Shane McClanahan as their opening day starter, nor can other teams name theirs, due to a league-wide mandate to withhold the news for an MLB Network exclusive on Thursday. … With Neil Solondz promoted to join Andy Freed in the radio booth following the March 5 passing of Dave Wills, the group will subsequent be in search of to fill the pre-/post-game host component. … Pretty most effective wishes to former Rays communications managers Karly Fisher, who moved to player improvement in a travel/logistics component, and Craig Vanderkam, who joined Significant League Baseball’s data operations division. … Prospect Junior Caminero, a 19-year-old infielder referred to as up for Thursday’s game at Tropicana Field, location on a show in batting practice that had significant-leaguers stopping to watch. … In spite of his excellent efforts to get Income to devote, ex-Ray Ji-Man Choi picked up the tab for a Friday evening dinner with assistant hitting coach Brady North. … In a Crestline survey of 1,000 baseball fans nationwide, Rays backers have been named eighth least annoying and 13th excellent-behaved. … A restricted quantity of copies of the Rays media guide, with a cool 25th anniversary cover, will be presented in mid-April at the group shop. … Sports Illustrated’s Stephanie Apstein reported on some factor the Rays (and most other teams) do for their players that the mighty Yankees do not: provide Globe-wide-net access on group flights for no price. … The new checkout-no price, grab-and-go concession place on the centerfield porch will be referred to as The Shortstop. … In addition to upgrading the Tropicana Field most significant and side video boards, there is also a new graphics package. … Betonline.ag provides the Rays a 63 % possibility to make the playoffs, third excellent in the American League East, fourth in the league, 10th in the majors. … The Yankees are organizing renovations to their Tampa spring facility. Owner Hal Steinbrenner stated they have been concerned to be “falling behind a lot of other teams that have newer facilities,” citing the Blue Jays’ state-of-the-art difficult in Dunedin, and adding: “I’m not 1 distinct that ever desires to be secondary.”

• • •

Sign up for the Rays Report weekly newsletter to get fresh perspectives on the Tampa Bay Rays and the rest of the majors from sports columnist John Romano.

Beneath no situations miss out on the most current with the Bucs, Rays, Lightning, Florida college sports and a lot much more. Comply with our Tampa Bay Situations sports group on Twitter and Facebook.

Subscribe to notificationsUnsubscribe from notifications

One thought on “Rays say injury threat can not diminish thrill of playing in Globe Baseball Classic”

Leave a Reply