Hello and welcome back to FanPost Friday. We have approximately 2 weeks to go until the Mariners home opener on March 30. We’re so close, friends. Until then, we’ve got more practice baseball to watch (well, mostly listen to) and, more excitingly, the conclusion of the 2023 World Baseball Classic.
The tournament was all fun and games until tragedy struck Wednesday night when Edwin Díaz suffered a season-ending knee injury while celebrating Puerto Rico’s dramatic win over the heavily-favored Dominican Republic. The takes, as one would imagine given Díaz’s recent massive contract with the New York Mets and their famously mild-mannered and rational fanbase, went nuclear quickly. Apologies for including a b*rstool tweet, avert your eyes as needed.
First Freddie Freeman, now Edwin Diaz.— Keith Olbermann (@KeithOlbermann) March 16, 2023
The WBC is a meaningless exhibition series designed to: get YOU to buy another uniform, to hell with the real season, and split up teammates based on where their grandmothers got laid.
Call it off. Now. https://t.co/A5IT4rJWON
The people who are defending the WBC are such dorks. That tournament sucks and is absolutely not worth risking exactly what unfolded tonight. Nobody cares and all of you pretending to care are lame— KFC (@KFCBarstool) March 16, 2023
That’s about all I cared to search for. The Olbermann tweet is the one that really blew up and I admit, my first reaction to hearing Díaz was going to be out for the season was not too far off from Olbermann’s general sentiment, minus the sexism and jingoism. From a MLB fan’s perspective, the risk of injury in order to play in an international tournament that MLB has not done a good job of integrating into the United State’s view of baseball globally feels like a huge risk for not a very big reward. The WBC has not been promoted enough into the mindset of the average MLB fan in the same way that the average American soccer fan views the FIFA World Cup, which, granted is not an apples to oranges comparison, but close enough.
Once you get beyond the knee-jerk, emotional reaction to seeing a beloved former-Mariners player go down like that, there are a lot of fairly rational reasons to not get terribly worked up about this (Vinny from Staten Island...your mileage may vary, but hear me out, tough guy).
- It’s not about you, the fan. It’s about the players
This may conflict with your entire worldview of professional sports, but the players are people, not commodities. They do not exist solely for our sporting entertainment. Baseball players, particularly non-US-born players, love to represent their country proudly in the WBC. Yes, that’s a generalization, but if there wasn’t a lot of truth to it, why else would they do it? It’s their choice. The risks are obviously worth it to them, whether they are under contract in MLB or not.
- In this specific case, Edwin Díaz’s career will be fine
There’s never a 100% guarantee that an athlete comes back from an injury as good as new, but it’s highly likely Edwin will recover just fine and will be back on the mound throwing gas in 2024 while Timmy Trumpet trumpets his little heart out over that now legendary Blasterjaxx track and Citi Field goes absolutely apeshit. Plus, that contract I mentioned? It’s guaranteed. Edwin loses nothing but playing time and the opportunity to help the Mets win, which is not nothing, but he will be back.
- Don’t worry, the billionaires will also be fine
The Mets will get reimbursed for Edwin Díaz’s salary during the star closer’s time on the injured list, league sources confirmed to The Athletic.— The Athletic (@TheAthletic) March 17, 2023
If Díaz doesn’t return this season, MLB’s insurance would cover his 2023 salary of $18.64 million.https://t.co/XxhMoSNgql
Contract insurance! What a smart, forward-thinking concept. No wonder they’re billionaires.
So, those are 3 very rational reasons to not be anti-WBC. The tournament provides fun and extremely compelling baseball to watch even if you have no rooting interests. Injuries happen anywhere, anytime. Dodgers prospect Gavin Lux had a season-ending injury occur in Spring Training two weeks ago. Michael Saunders wrecked his knee on a god dang sprinkler head in Spring Training with the Blue Jays in 2015. We all remember what happened to a certain Kendrys Morales at the then-Safeco Field home plate once upon a time. It happens.
Of course, it’s easy for me to have this sense of detachment about it when it’s not a Mariners player. Drew Smyly’s soggy arm injury he sustained in the 2017 WBC more or less destroyed the season for the 2017 Mariners because they had no starter depth. What if (jah forbid, throws an entire sack of salt over my shoulder) something bad happened to Julio Rodríguez in this tournament? Honestly the outlook for the 2023 Mariners season would be in shambles and I can’t promise with a straight face that I wouldn’t be going near-full-Olbermann on Twitter about it (never go full-Olbermann). So, I do empathize with Mets fans, even though losing a closer would not have the same impact on a season as losing your starting centerfielder and best hitter.
Anywas, it is FanPost Friday after all and I want to hear from the LL hivemind on how y’all really feel about the risk of injury in WBC. Let’s hit the polls!
The World Baseball Classic
This poll is closed
I’m for it!
I’m against it!
I don’t care!
I think it’s a good thing that MLB players play in the WBC
This poll is closed
If a star Mariners player suffered a season-ending injury in WBC play, my opinion on the WBC would stay the same
This poll is closed
Getting extremely upset just thinking about it
That’s it for this week! Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all those who celebrate, don’t get into trouble if you’re going out tonight, and we’ll see ya back here next week for the last FPF before the regular seasons. Hot damn, go Mariners!