Even there is still one year away, some player already said they are willing to represent their country, include Michael Young, Ryan Braun and Jason Varitek, but Prince Fielder is unsure yet.
For Texas Ranger shortstop Michael Young, who played on the United States team in 2006, would like to be a part of it once more.
“Absolutely, I’d like to play again,” Young said. “It was an absolute blast. They may want to switch it up, but if the opportunity is there to play, I’d love it.”
Young, a four-time All-Star, shared playing time at second base with Chase Utley from the Phillies. Young started two games and was 4-for-15 in the Classic before it ended for the United States with a loss to Mexico in the second round.
“It was disappointing at the time because we felt like we had the best team,” Young said. “If the team gets together again, I’m sure we’d like to show what we are made of. But that shows what a great game baseball is. It’s not just 300-pound linemen pushing each other around. Everybody thought it would be the USA and the Dominican Republic in the finals, instead it was Japan and Cuba.”
“I thought it was great the last time,” Young said. “It’s always going to cut into Spring Training. You can’t make it earlier and you can’t make it later. They did a great job, I don’t know if you can do any more. The venues were good and a lot of guys are open to traveling more.
“It was a great time, a great event and a great experience. I met a lot of guys who I still keep in touch with. It was great playing Japan and seeing how good the Cubans are. It was great for the game.”
As for Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun, his answer is simple.
“Yeah, for sure,” Braun said when asked if he’d be interested. “I remember watching it last time and thinking it looked like a great experience. It definitely piqued interest in baseball in a lot of different countries.
“I would be excited and honored to be asked to play.”
“If anything, it makes you get ready a little bit sooner,” the native Californian said. “I think it would be an advantage coming into the season that you’ve already played some meaningful games. Sometimes, for these [Spring Training] games, it’s harder to have the same energy, the same focus.”
However, First baseman Prince Fielder, who led the National League last season with 50 home runs, will have to think it over.
“I don’t know. That’s a good question,” Fielder said. “I guess I would have to decide when it gets closer. I’d have to think about it.”
For Boston Red Sox Catcher Jason Varitek, made a vague reference to the players who declined to participate in 2006 by encouraging any American player who is asked this time around to play, lest they miss out on a “phenomenal experience”.
Asked what his approach will be should he square off in the 2009 event with current Red Sox batterymate and 2006 WBC Most Valuable Player Daisuke Matsuzaka of Japan, Varitek has a special idea. “By the time we get to it next year, we’ll have another year together, so I’ll come up with something by then,” he said. “Right now, I’m gonna bunt. And then steal second.”
In keeping with the global theme, Varitek also noted that were it not for the World Baseball Classic, Matsuzaka, who will start for Boston in the opener here Wednesday, might not even be in Boston.