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Wednesday, January 18, 2006 

U.S. A-Rod

Alex Rodriguez has not forgotten when those towers fell. A-Rod and agent Scott Boras both confirmed that he would play for the United States during March's World Baseball Classic. The announcement ended months of speculation about whether A-Rod would play for the U.S. or the Dominican Republic in the WBC, or if he would even play at all.

Both the WBC and Team USA benefit greatly by having A-Rod in the tournament, and we are only left to guess what exactly swayed him to make the final decision. Although I hate to question a guy's patriotism or his desire to be an ambassador for the game, the confusion and flip- flopping force baseball fans to wonder why he chose Team USA. It certainly wasn't the allure of playing for Buck Martinez or the chance to be teammates with Jason Varitek.

My best guess is that commissioner Bud Selig exerted a considerable amount of pressure on him, as one of the game's biggest stars, to compete. Let's not forget that the WBC might very well define Selig's legacy and it would not reflect well on the tourney to have A-Rod sit out. So why does A-Rod care? Well, it's never a bad thing to have the most powerful man in your industry owe you a favor.

The role of Scott Boras in this decision is perhaps even more important. The marketing impact of A-Rod wearing red, white, and blue was surely not lost on the man who negotiated sport's biggest contract (10 years, $252 million). Always business savvy, A-Rod listened to Boras' advice that it was in his best interests to play for the country where he makes his fortune. Rest easy fans; you will still be able to see A-Rod hit baseballs at the moon for Pepsi during every commercial break.

Regardless of his reasons for playing, A-Rod could give the Americans the edge over a stacked Dominican club. The Dominican lineup (featuring Albert "He Called the Shit" Pujols, Big Papi, Man-Ram, Aram-Ram, Vladdy, Miggy, The Fonz Soriano and other colorfully nicknamed sluggers) is still better than that of Team USA, even with A-Rod. However, the strength of Team USA lies with its pitching staff and A-Rod's defection could give the Americans just enough runs to win the tourney. Then again, with strict pitch counts, the WBC could quickly turn into a Slug-fest, which favors the DR (snap and shout-out to our beloved fantasy football ex-commish, Slug). The two teams are very evenly matched in terms of talent and the games should be competitive. Now, if only the Cubans are allowed to play, the WBC could be a huge success.

Love him or hate him, A-Rod's participation does make the WBC a much more intriguing tournament.

P.S. The Noobsports family will be travelling to San Diego for the finals and semi-finals in March, so stay tuned for more WBC coverage.

-NJV

The WBC will be worthless and a total waste of time. Look for baseball power the Netherlands and China to have a huge impact.

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

You could be right, but there will be some HOF players there and I believe that the Latin American clubs will take the competition very seriously. Venezuela and Puerto Rico also have good teams. Don't hate on the Dutch; Andruw Jones baby.

Here is a tournament we can all agree kicks ass.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060118/ap_on_fe_st/beer_pong_champs

I wish these articles would have come out yesterday for inclusion in my post, but here is an article about Cuba and the WBC on Espn's Page 2.

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=caple/offbase/060118

Wouldn't he be wearing red, white adn blue no matter what team he decided to join?

Hi... Seems like you put some time into your blog and it shows! I am out blogging looking for fantasy football blogs, but I just wanted to give you props for your nice blog. Keep it up!

Thanks,

fantasy football

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