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A-Rod Likely to Play for Dominican Republic in WBC; Joins Piazza in List of “Defectors”
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
We should have all been expecting plenty of controversy surrounding the World Baseball Classic; this is the inaugural year and the MLB – and fans – have not had this kind of excitement in ages. The biggest hullabaloo thus far has lain in the countries for which the players decide to play.

The official rules dictate that a player can choose to play for any country that:
-he is a citizen of
-he is a permanent legal resident of
-he was born in
-one of his parents is a citizen of
-one of his parents was born in

These rules are very straightforward, but the problem lies in letters “d” and “e”. Allowing players the option to represent a country that their parents are citizens of or were born in opens up a metaphorical can of worms: each time a player selects which country he will pay for fans jump on the chance to critique his national pride. In this era of “God Bless the USA” and “Freedom Fries”, baseball fans have become increasingly critical of players they deem “American” playing for other countries. Some forum posters have taken to calling such players “defectors” for not playing for the US team. Piazza and David Dellucci have opted to play for the Italian team, and it looks like A-Rod will join the Domincan team, despite all three of them being born in the USA.

What vexes me about the people that call such players “defectors” is this: who are they to determine what someone’s ethnicity/culture/race is? Growing up in southern California, I have known many US-born people whose parents were born in Mexico that certainly identified themselves as Mexicans. Their relatives live there, they celebrate culture-specific holidays and traditions, and speak the language. I will admit that I do not know how deeply entrenched Piazza or A-Rod is in their chosen countries. I will say, however, I certainly see no problem with any player representing a country that they identify with.


posted by Yankees Chick @ Tuesday, December 13, 2005  
  • At 8:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I personally think the MLB has more than a little to do with this. More than anything they want a good product on the field, and spreading their stars around makes the product a better product.

    Was the 71 year old Piazza even going to make the US team if he said he wanted to? I don't think so. But he's still a popular player who should get the chance to play for one of the team, so that people can see him in his one and only WBC.

    I think having A-Rod play for the Dominicans, and I suspect his choice was influenced by higher ups, is a good marketing tool, and allows for more major leaguers to play in the WBC.

    Better product this way...and anyone who thinks it is "Un-American" should kiss off. Given the choice I'd play for Ireland or Germany in this instance. :)

  • At 9:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    That Dominican team looks pretty frightening, doesn't it?

    1B- Pujols
    2B- Soriano
    SS- Tejada
    3B- A-Rod
    OF- Manny
    OF- Guerrero

    Pitching? Pedro and Bartolo Colon, K-Rod as your closer. I don't even know who the catcher or the third outfielder would be, and I don't think it even matters. Not even Clemens or Peavy can fend off that lineup.

  • At 9:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Oh, I forgot to mention David Ortiz as your DH. That puts it over the top. I think even Walter Johnson or Cy Young would puke on the mound.

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