St.Louis Cardinals outfielder Carlos Beltran will be leading Team Puerto Rico for his third straight World Baseball Classic tournament. Beltran, who is entering his second season as a member of the Cardinals, has been involved in the tourney since its inception in 2006.
In an era where much younger players are refusing to participate in the World Baseball Classic, here is a 15-year major league veteran with over 300 career home runs who still has the desire to proudly don his country’s colors.
The 35-year-old Beltran represented Puerto Rico in the inaugural Classic in 2006, batting .286 with two home runs and five runs batted in over six games. He was back for more in 2009, hitting an impressive .421 with eight hits and a homer in six games.
He will have a chance to improve on his team-leading three home runs in Puerto Rico tourney history. Beltran and retired catcher Ivan Rodriguez are tied for top spot, but Rodriguez is not participating this time around.
Beltran and his supporting cast of Alex Rios, Yadier Molina, Mike Aviles and Angel Pagan will attempt to put Puerto Rico on the World Baseball Classic map.
The slew of major leaguers who opted out of the tourney could definitely learn a thing or two from Beltran. There is no doubt that Beltran and his booming bat will carrying the hopes of an entire nation on his back as Puerto Rico vies for a world title.
Clayton Richer covers the Toronto Blue Jays for Rant Sports. Follow and interact with him on Twitter at @MLBHotCorner.