Going in to the World Baseball Classic Finals against Puerto Rico, there was controversy. For one, Chris Archer had expected to pitch in the final game, should the U.S. get there, but he was told not to come out to LA, and that the U.S. would roll with his good friend Marcus Stroman, who had been with the team through the whole tournament (while Archer had returned to Rays camp). Archer was disappointed.
Then there was Ian Kinsler coming awfully close to saying that the U.S. plays the game the right way—without too much obvious emotion—and that players from the Caribbean do not.
I hope kids watching the W.B.C. can watch the way we play the game and appreciate the way we play the game as opposed to the way Puerto Rico plays or the Dominican plays,” Kinsler said. “That’s not taking anything away from them. That just wasn’t the way we were raised. They were raised differently and to show emotion and passion when you play. We do show emotion; we do show passion. But we just do it in a different way.
He didn’t quite get all the way there, but there’s an ongoing, evolving discussion in baseball culture around how much emotion is “appropriate” to show. In that context you can understand why these comments raised eyebrows.
But if you thought Chris Archer was going to sit at home and sulk and let the WBC finals turn into an international incident, then you don’t know Chris Archer. Examine Archers only two tweets from the game.
Ian Kinsler = great dude— Chris Archer (@ChrisArcher22) March 23, 2017
Sounds like there's some chirping from the PR dugout! I love it! Be careful though, stro feeds off that— Chris Archer (@ChrisArcher22) March 23, 2017
And just like that, there is no conflict, outside of the normal conflict of a baseball game. Ian Kinsler is not an old, stodgy white dude removing the fun from baseball. He’s “a great dude.” The Puerto Rican team is not out of line for “showing their emotion.” The USA players feed off of the same emotion. We are one baseball-playing world.
Seriously, send this guy to the state department.
Also, the USA bats were lively, lead by Kinsler’s home run, and Marcus Stroman put on a dominating show from the mound. Read the recap here.
- Chris Archer pitched well in his spring training start, striking out six. Kevin Cash said this is the best Archer has looked in spring. Rays Radio has audio from Archer, Kevin Cash, and Colby Rasmus.
- Rasmus had a good game with an opposite-field home run.
We should have seen this coming. pic.twitter.com/jZrJTNDY1W— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) March 22, 2017
- A fun look at which outfielders are flashy, and which outfielders are reliable.
- Jason Hanselman on the Kevin Kiermaier extension.
- Here are the FanGraphs positional rankings of the middle infield (shortstop and second base).
- Both the commissioner and the players union say they liked this WBC.