This baseball season will “officially” begin with the start of the World Baseball Classic, an international tournament first played in 2006 and then again in 2009, after which was scheduled to occur every 4 years.
The 2013 World Baseball Classic rosters will feature nine representatives of the Baltimore Orioles: 4 from the big league roster, Adam Jones (USA), Luis Ayala (Mexico), Pedro Strop (Dominican Republic), Jonathan Schoop (Netherlands) and 5 players within the organization, Chris Robinson (Canada), Tim Smith (Canada), Allan de San Miguel (Australia), Rafael Moreno (Brazil), and Jonatan Isenia (Netherlands).
Jones, an active tweeter on the O’s, expressed his excitment to play back in January.
This year will be the first year in which the World Baseball Classic is the sole international tournament to declare a “world champion.” The Olympics removed baseball in 2008 and the Baseball World Cup was discontinued in 2011 in an attempt to expand the World Baseball Classic.
Jones, a 27-year old from San Diego, will play for Joe Torre and team USA. Fresh off an impressive 2012 season in which Jones was selected to the American League All-Star team, won his second career Gold Glove and ranked sixth in AL MVP voting, Jones should be a regular contributor in the US roster.
One of the biggest concerns for MLB, players, coachers and fans is the timing of the WBC.
Timing seems to be the biggest issue regarding international baseball tournaments. The MLB season virtually lasts from mid-February to late October (and sometimes early November), meaning there is little if no time for a tournament after the World Series.
The concern with the WBC is injuries to players that might not only eliminate the player from the tournament, but also force them to miss time when the MLB season begins. Some have expressed this concern, while others encourage him to take advantage of the opportunity.
The World Baseball Classic’s first round begins on March 2 in Fukuoka, Japan and Taichung, Taiwan. The United States will open play against Mexico on March 8. And the tournament will be broadcasted exclusively on MLB Network.