2023-03-19 · 2 min read · WBC/Baseball
Mexico outfielder Randy Arozarena and Team Canada

Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports | SportsNet

Canada has been eliminated from the World Baseball Classic in group play, yet again.
Heading into today’s matchup against Mexico, Canada controlled their own fate. A win and history would be made - a first-ever trip to the quarterfinals, escaping group play. What could have been a major milestone for a rather stagnant baseball program fell from their grasp, enduring a heartbreaking - embarrassing, some might say - 10-3 loss to Mexico.
A questionable-at-best hit-by-pitch to start the game, an alleged “balk”, and an ever-changing strike zone put Canada behind the eight ball early - a sign of things to come. Managing to load the bases with nobody out, down 2-0 in the bottom of the first, Canada could only scrape together one measly run - a lack of hitting with men on that plagued Ernie Whitt’s squad all day long.
On the surface, problems seem obvious. Poor defensive decision-making, a lack of clutch hitting, an inability to throw strikes - all true, but why?
The Canadian National Team, similar to Canada Basketball, will always have a distinct disadvantage when rostering a squad. There’s a lack of interest, a lack of commitment, and a lack of all-around shame. It’s easy to dump on Mitch Bratt - Canada’s nineteen-year-old starter versus the United States - but in reality, he should never have been put in that position. Heck, Bratt shouldn’t have to be forced to pitch on the team. The fact is, that a number of Major League players don’t see the importance of participating. Freddie Freeman aside, Canada has never been able to put together an overly good group of dedicated, high-level talent.
What’s the reasoning? I’m not too sure. Players more interested in their big-league clubs certainly play a role, and while that is certainly their right, blame can be stretched far and wide between Canadians who opt out all the way through to Greg Hamilton and the development program - and everyone in between. Three out of four games Canada played in this WBC were blowouts - one way or another - with their 5-0 shutout of Colombia the most ‘complete’ performance. And it’s not far-fetched to strive for competitiveness against teams who don’t have this program, look at the Czech Republic, Australia, and Great Britain. Heck, the Aussies DID advance for the first time, and almost took out mighty Cuba in the quarterfinals.
The point of all this is that guys like Mitch Bratt shouldn’t have to play. Not only for the betterment of the program but for the betterment of the individual - sending a 19-year-old out to face quite possibly the best WBC lineup of all time should be treated as a crime.
Speaking of the United States, they will take on Venezuela tonight in the final quarterfinal match with the winner advancing to face Cuba in the semis. Mexico and Japan will play in the other semifinal game on Monday, while the winner of tonight’s game will play tomorrow. Lance Lynn will take the ball for the US, while Venezuela counters with lefty Martin Perez. The first pitch flies just after 7 pm EST in Miami, as every game from today through the finals is sold out.
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By: Gus Cousins


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