The United States is losing its reputation It doesn’t take WBC seriously

One of the biggest complaints since the inception of the World Baseball Classic in 2006 is that the United States doesn’t take the event as seriously as other countries.

Many of the top domestic players turned down invitations to the WBC over the year. They preferred to stay in spring training with their major league teams and also worried about possible injuries.

Team USA began to change that perception by winning the WBC for the first time in 2017, the last time the event was held. The 2021 version has been delayed by two years because of the pandemic.

The United States opens the game at this year’s WBC on Saturday night when they meet Great Britain in billiards at Chase Field in Phoenix. The Americans have the star-studded roster of all five WBCs, and their players make it clear they are serious about defending their title.

“It’s an honor for me,” said Pete Alonso, first baseman for the New York Mets. “It’s also an honor that everyone in the dressing room deserves the right to be there and be part of this group.

I mean this is an elite team. We have talent up and down the lineup. And it’s going to be a very special tournament, because it’s not often that you see so many (high) quality players on the same list.

“For us, I mean, the talent is through the roof, but we also want to be a team with substance,” Alonso continued. “Not just a team that is good on paper. We want to get out there and win. So this is going to be a really fun time.”

The Team USA line-up is indeed top-class and has made it all the stronger in the WBC. They include Philadelphia Phillies catcher JT Realmuto and shortstop Trea Turner, St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt and third baseman Nolan Arenado, and Los Angeles Angels outfielders Mike Trout, Los Angeles Dodgers Mookie Betts and Kyle Tucker by the Houston Astros.

Goldschmidt and Arenado are the only leftovers from the 17 championship squad.

“I keep saying it, if you wear it across your chest, it hits different than the major league uniform. It’s an incredible honor to play in the major leagues, but it’s an incredible honor to represent USA and be on a team with the best players in our league. And it’s a privilege that people want you on this team. It was such a simple yes. I know it was for all of us.

“It’s cool to see that we’re all competing and competing against each other, but we have to come together like brothers. And I love that part, I think it’s pretty cool.”

Cardinals right-hander Adam Wainwright will play for the United States at any level for the first time. He was dropped from Team USA in 2003 prior to the Pan Am Games.

Wainwright, 41, is entering his 18th birthdayth season in the major leagues and has 195 career wins.

“I’m excited to be here and to represent this great country,” said Wainwright. “Excited to be in the clubhouse with such incredible talent and just rubbing shoulders with guys who are incredible, incredible at what they do. And it’s always cool to find out what drives them, what drives them and what makes them unique and special.

“It’s cool to see that we’re all competing and competing against each other, but we have to come together like brothers. And I love that part, I think it’s pretty cool.”

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