The World Baseball Classic is a wonderful competition. I honestly love the idea of watching the teams divided by nationality compete to see who is best. It’s far better than any baseball that has ever been played in the Olympics. There is only one problem and that is the placement of the tournament in the midst of Spring Training. Sometimes it’s not an issue but sometimes it’s a big one. For Russell Martin of the Pittsburgh Pirates, this season with his team is more important than the WBC.
Martin was brought into Pittsburgh to lead the Pirates behind the plate. He will bring in some strong offense, good defense and strong leadership qualities. He might have continued with his planned involvement with Team Canada if not for a shoulder strain that has kept him from catching his young pitching staff for the past several spring games. He knows that he needs to get to know this staff and that it is more important than catching or playing shortstop for Team Canada.
He might catch some flak for the decision but I doubt it. The middle of this next week should be the timetable for him returning to full playing duties behind the plate. That would have been in the beginning of the WBC and by the time he got back, depending on Canada’s success, it would have put him behind the eight ball as far as real time catching of his staff.
Martin likes this pitching staff and he likes the team. He thinks the Pirates will surprise some people with what they are going to do during the season. I think it is awesome that he is willing to put the importance of the team before the duties of playing for his country. I think it shows that his confidence in this team is more than just pretty words. He knows what this team could do this season and wants to do everything in his power to be a help to that, not hold it back. That, is a leader.