Call it a little vacation away from controversy, if you will.
Obviously, that Gio Gonzalez has accepted an invite to pitch for Team USA at the upcoming World Baseball Classic isn’t going to make the MLB investigation of his link to Biogenesis go away, but the competitive environment might just alleviate the questions a little bit.
Though, that doesn’t mean fans can’t have a little fun and joke around with the subject:
The Washington Nationals lefty will join a Team USA rotation that includes R.A. Dickey, Ryan Vogelsong, and Derek Holland for now, while Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander continues to mull over whether or not to participate. Gonzalez is the only Nats player besides Roger Bernadina (Team Netherlands) to commit to the Classic, and will be away from the team for several weeks while the tournament takes place.
Was it a good decision? I’d have to think so. Gio’s name obviously adds a bit of star power to the tournament, which is still finding its audience among baseball fans; and though I don’t want to start treading on conspiracy theory waters here, that he’ll be on a team looking to take home a trophy with other stars might actually take a bit of the focus away from his part in the latest PED scandal, at least among those who will be covering the tournament.
If he had stayed in the Nats camp, there won’t be a team trying to win games, and the lefty would be at the center of attention. The questions about a potential suspension will likely share more of the main stage, and may serve as a continual distraction to the 27-year old’s preparations for the season.
On the flip side, I suppose you could say that allegations like the ones that have been made to Gonzalez is even more reason for him to stay with the team during those weeks in Spring Training. And, if Gonzalez gets hurt during the tournament, it might even exacerbate the issue.
Either way, the Nationals ace would probably just rather all the controversy went away, so he can get to work on what he does best. Playing competitive ball ahead of Opening Day might just help him get focused to do that in the 2013 season.