Rowland-Smith chooses Mariners over Team Australia

Mariners left-hander Ryan Rowland-Smith has made a decision on which team he’ll play for this spring, Team Australia in the World Baseball Classic or the Mariners.

His pursuit of a spot in the Mariners rotation will keep him in the Mariners’ Spring Training camp from start to finish.

“It was a tough decision, but I have decided to stay here,” he said this morning. “I have worked too hard during the offseason to hurt my chances of being on the team.”

Rowland-Smith said Team Australia coach John Deeble was “disappointed, but understands my decision.”

The lefty from Down Under said he was concerned that if the Australian team was successful in the Classic, he could miss up to three weeks of camp, which could hurt his chances of being in the Seattle rotation.

— Jim Street

4 Comments

Hi Jim:

I think Ryan’s making a big mistake, as are all the players who are making up convenient reasons not to play in the Classic.

If this baseball world cup is going to become completely legit, and more importantly, draw in non-baseball fans internationally (like the soccer, rugby & cricket world cups and hockey in the Olympics) then MLB need to make it mandatory that all healthy players join their country’s national teams.

Once the Classic gains in popularity you’ll have a situation like in the NHL where players are literally fighting for the chance to represent.

Hockey players face a lot more risk of injury when they play internationally than any baseball player, and they usually join these tournaments at the end of a gruelling NHL season. But they have something that a lot of baseball players lack. Pride.

I think that he made the right decision. After all, playing for the Mariners helps his career far more than the wbc.

Aaron
http://mlbtribefan.mlblogs.com

See, that’s so cynical – and typical baseball thinking.

Why is it that other sports, some with huge salaries comparable with baseball (and some without) have no trouble at all getting their best and brightest to play in international tournaments?

No soccer, hockey, rugby, tennis or cricket player even thinks twice about representing their countries on the world stage. Believe it or not, not every athlete is completely concerned with what helps their career at the club level.

Playing for your country hould be considered an honour, not a annoyance, and it can be argued that participating is for the greater good of the sport – especially the sport in that country.

It’s just too bad that this sort of thing even needs to be explained to baseball players. Maybe we’ll see a change in the years to come.

I think it is the right decision for him. As great as it would be to play for his home team. It is more important that he tries to make the Mariner’s team. Good luck to him!

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

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