The 2023 World Baseball Classic has brought fans from across the world glued to the action, racking in record-breaking viewership numbers across the globe. While the tournament is an incredible chance for players to play for their country, there are some who are questioning its validity after injuries to some of baseball’s brightest stars.
The recent debate has stemmed from Edwin Diaz’s injury, who tore his petellar tendon after celebrating Puerto Rico’s win over the Dominican Republic. While critics have called the World Baseball Classic a “meaningless exhibition series” as Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register notes, a handful of Dodgers players, as well as manager Dave Roberts, have chimed in on whether the Classic maintains its significance despite the risk it poses.
Outfielder Trayce Thompson, who participated for Great Britain, and infielder Miguel Rojas spoke specifically on Diaz’s injury and the ramifications it has generated.
“I think it is (worth the risk),” Thompson told Plunkett. “Freak things happen. My brother (NBA star Klay Thompson), for example, he did a normal step – just a step, not any crazy athletic move, just a step and injured his Achilles. Accidents happen.”
Austin Barnes, who helped Mexico to a comeback win over Puerto Rico on Friday in Miami, opined after the game on how players view the tournament, From Jorge Castillo at the Los Angeles Times:
Austin Barnes: "I think this tournament's a great idea. For baseball worldwide, there's nothing better. Besides the World Series, the atmosphere is like none other. The people saying this is a stupid thing, I don't think they understand how much it means to everybody around here"— Jorge Castillo (@jorgecastillo) March 18, 2023
- The World Baseball Classic has seen plenty of flare for the dramatic and “see-it-to-believe-it” moments that will live on within baseball history for generations. J.P. Hoornstra of the Los Angeles Daily News provides 6 interesting takeaways on why this 2023 Classic is unlike no other.
- Thompson has fought his way for every inning of playing time in the MLB, and his 74 games with the Dodgers last season showcased what he could bring to a talented lineup. Fabian Ardaya of the Athletic takes a deeper look into how Thompson felt during the WBC and how he feels entering this season as a potential starter.