The World Baseball Classic is just over a month away, and the high hopes that I had for Team Canada are quickly fading. What looked to be one of the tournaments best potential pitching rotations, has now become the team’s biggest question mark. Knowing that we would already be without Baltimore starter Eric Bedard due to off-season shoulder surgery, the recent announcements that Jeff Francis, Ryan Dempster and Rich Harden (damn you Cubs!!) will not be participating was not the news Canadian fans were looking for. The most disappointing thing is that this tournament loses quite of few players due to the fact that it takes place during spring training. In the cases of Francis, Harden, and Bedard, injury concerns are the primary reason for their absense. That is understandable, but Dempster is in a different situation. Dempster is coming off a career season in which he posted 17 wins and a 2.96 ERA. After being rewarded with a $52 million dollar contract for the next four years, Dempster decided to choose his team (Cubs) over his country. While I can understand why he made that decision, (check out the article by Ken Rosenthal about this topic), it is still very frustrating to see this kind of situation take place.
Let’s hope that some other pitcher such as Scott Richmond, will be able to pull off a surprise win for us as Adam Loewen did against the U.S. in ’06. Oh well, at least the offence still looks to be in pretty good shape, with Justin Morneau, Jason Bay, Russel Martin, and Joey Votto still around. I’ve got my seats on the 500 level at the Rogers Centre for that March 7 opener vs the States, so Go Canada Go!!!