Defending the World Baseball Classic: Yankees Reliever Shares his Experience
Are you a baseball fan? Then you might be familiar with the World Baseball Classic, a tournament that takes place every four years featuring the best players from around the world representing their countries. However, the event has been under scrutiny lately, particularly in New York, after Mets closer Edwin Diaz suffered a serious injury while celebrating Puerto Rico's victory.
Despite the debate, Yankees reliever Jonathan Loaisiga defended the tournament after returning from playing with Team Nicaragua. Loaisiga called the WBC a "really good experience" where he could represent his native country alongside teammates he hadn't seen in a long time, in front of tens of thousands of passionate fans.
"It's very important to understand that when you're given this opportunity to represent your country and have the chance to participate in an event like this, I think any of us will take that," Loaisiga said. "It's a unique opportunity... To be able to wear the uniform of your country, it means a lot."
Loaisiga pitched in two games with Nicaragua, despite losing all four of its Group D games in Miami, he returned to the Yankees healthy, and manager Aaron Boone expects him to enter a Grapefruit League game this weekend.
The Yankees have been cautious with their players and have not allowed Luis Severino, who is building up in the rotation and has dealt with various injuries the past few years, to participate in the WBC. Nevertheless, Nestor Cortes originally committed to Team USA, but a hamstring injury forced the lefty to withdraw before the tournament began, and Kyle Higashioka is playing with Team USA while Gleyber Torres is on Team Venezuela.
Despite the risks of injury, Domingo German said he "definitely" would have played for the Dominican Republic if he had been asked. German was planning to join a Yankees cohort for a trip to Miami to watch the Dominican Republic-Puerto Rico game that ended with the Diaz save and injury, but German's son was sick, and he bowed out.
Although some may argue that the tournament poses risks to players' health, Loaisiga and many others believe that playing for their country in such a prestigious event is worth the risk. The WBC not only allows players to represent their countries, but it also provides a unique opportunity to showcase their skills in front of a global audience, potentially opening doors for future opportunities.
In the end, the debate about the significance and potential risks of the World Baseball Classic will continue, but for players like Loaisiga, the chance to represent their country is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that should not be missed.