MIAMI – It’s no secret that the United States wants to capture its first World Baseball Classic title. Bringing home the title is a mission every player wants to complete and Team USA has the talent to accomplish just that.
Manager Jim Leyland who happens to have a belt of accomplishments already, is leading team USA. Leyland ranks 15th on the all-time list among MLB managers with 1,769 wins, was named NL Manager of the Year in 1990 and 1992 and the Manager of the Year in 2006, led the Marlins to a World Series championship in 1997 and the Tigers to American League pennants in 2006 and 2012.
Leyland spoke about how he does not want his team to dwell on the fact that they’ve never won the World Classic Title. He is aware of the record and is prepared to change it one game at a time.
“So, we just want to. I don’t want to use the word “focused” either, but we just want to stay in tune to tonight’s game, try to win this game and then worry about tomorrow tomorrow.” Leyland explained.
The United States has a 10-10 record for their last three WBC appearances. This is something that outfielder Giancarlo Stanton does not dwell upon either.
“Yea, I wasn’t sure of the full record until right now, but year, its great to be here, great to show up, but we’re also here to perform and win. So, we got to do it one step at a time, one round at a time,” Stanton explained.
“Baseball is our national pastime, and the U.S has never won this tournament. That’s got to change,” third basemen Nolan Arenado wrote in his piece published in The Players’ Tribune.
Team USA’s luck is well equipped to change this time around. The arms of Chris Archer and Marcus Stroman are starting off both games 1 & 2 and behind them will be the gloves of catchers Buster Posey and Jonathan Lucroy; first baseman Eric Hosmer; second baseman Ian Kinsler; third baseman Nolan Arenado; shortstop Brandon Crawford; and outfielders Christian Yelich, Adam Jones and Andrew McCutchen. The bats will warm up for Team USA and most pitchers will have a hard time preventing them.
Team USA is looking to grab its first round of victories this weekend. They are fully capable of doing so. It’s just a matter of taking advantage of every opportunity they can take advantage of and not dwelling on the dark cloud that has followed them during each World Baseball Classic.