When a Major League Baseball team loses an All-Star to injury in a second rate tournament, something has gone terribly wrong. The Los Angeles Dodgers have lost Hanley Ramirez for at least eight weeks because the World Baseball Classic has to prove an island nation may have the best team in baseball. Really?
The big news for WBC: The Mexico-Canada Brawl, because the rules are so confusing the players didn’t know the tie-breaker requirements. Who will forget the newsflash, Fernando Rodney pulls a plantain from his pants. The WBC means about as much as MLB players playing softball for their local church, so their churches can have bragging rights.
Ramirez is too important to the Dodgers, and he needs to have a bounce-back year for his career. A three-time All-Star and former National League batting champion, Ramirez was injured in the 2011 season while playing with the Miami Marlins. That injury possibly prompted the Marlins to sign Jose Reyes. They then moved Ramirez from short-stop to third base.
That move affected Ramirez. After a disappointing beginning to 2012, the Marlins traded him to the Dodgers. He had been an All-Star every year, but not since the position change. His batting average dropped 57 points and hasn’t bounced back yet. If the present is a reflection of the past, he may not return to his All-Star form.
Add to that, he’ll miss at least a third of the season, plus Ramirez will have to get in a groove quickly. This may be another difficult season. It’s not just his play at short-stop; his bat will be missed greatly. With career numbers at .298 BA, .371 OBP, .495 SLG, .866 OPS; couple that with 1,171 hits, 158 HR, and 526 RBI, and you see how much the Dodgers have lost.
This injury to the Dodgers or any other MLB team can be avoided. If the world wants a tournament, start letting teenagers have try outs. This would afford talented teens an opportunity from around the world to play on a big stage. Then more of us would actually care about the WBC.
If that doesn’t make sense to you, then how much sense does it make to have an All-Star out for a third of the season for bragging rights to a plantain? The WBC needs to change, and so does the MLB’s view of it.