When the news came out a couple of days ago that Andrew McCutchen wouldn't be taking part in the World Baseball Classic because he wanted to dedicate himself to getting ready for his 2013 season with the Pirates, I had two thoughts:
1.) Well, at least he won't get hurt or burn himself out early this year.
2.) I still kind of wish Andrew McCutchen had a chance to show off for a larger audience.
As it turns out, there are still eight Pirate players that will take place in the World Baseball Classic this spring, even with 'Cutch staying on the sidelines to prep for the part of the baseball season that actually counts. You would probably expect Russell Martin (born in Ontario, once put 'J. Martin' on his jersey to honor his French Canadian mother) and Chris Leroux (born in Quebec) to play for Team Canada, but you might not expect that they'd be joined by Jameson Taillon. For whatever reason (Wikipedia says his parents are Canadians, but Wikipedia also says ), though, Taillon is pitching for the Canadian team this spring, and so all Pirate fans — Bradenton bound or not — should have a chance to watch the Pirates' second best prospect pitch this spring. In addition to the Canadian contingent, Wandy Rodriguez will pitch for the Dominican Republic, Ali Solis (a recently-signed Triple-A depth catcher) is on the Mexican roster, the recently-acquired Ivan DeJesus will play for Puerto Rico, minor league infielder Stefan Welch will play for Australia, and Jason Grilli will pitch for Italy.
Jason Grilli was born in Michigan and grew up in New Jersey and went to Seton Hall. But he'll pitch for Italy, because, hey! World Baseball Classic!
I don't have much else to add, other than that I'm going to spend the next two months terrified about Jameson Taillon pitching for someone other than the Pirates so early in the year, but that I'm also kind of excited to watch him and intrigued to see how he does. And I'm armed and ready with plenty of Alpha Flight jokes for the Pirates' Canadian contingent this spring because for some reason, I've always had a soft spot for Alpha Flight and I may or may not have all of Alpha Flight volume 2 in a comic book box in a closet in my parents house.