Canada’s chances at this spring’s World Baseball Classic were damaged this week when three B.C. boys opted to skip the event.
Pitchers Jeff Francis and Rich Harden declined the invitation because they are not completely healthy, but fellow hurler Ryan Dempster said no for different reasons.
His explanation includes the potential disruption of his preparation in spring training and a sense of obligation to the Cubs after they invested $52 million US?in him this off-season.
Though Baseball Canada appears satisfied with Dempster’s rationale, Langley’s Aaron Guiel is not.
Guiel, who will suit up for Canada, told the Team 1040 yesterday that Dempster “should be playing” and that it’s “disappointing to see him sit out because of a contract.”
Guiel believes that if Justin Morneau is willing to don the Maple Leaf after inking a six-year, $80-million extension last summer, then Dempster should be doing the same.
• To play or not to play? That is the question being debated among Canucks fans with regards to Roberto Luongo’s participation in the all-star game this weekend in Montreal.
It’s common knowledge that the Canucks’ chances of making the playoffs hinge on their No. 1 netminder, and many Vancouverites are uneasy about Luongo risking his health in what is essentially an exhibition game. The captain has just returned from a groin injury that sidelined him 25 games, and any further setback would all but doom the Canucks in their pursuit of the postseason.
It’s a worthy argument to be sure, but count me among those who have no problem with Luongo’s decision to suit up this weekend. Very few players are in Luongo’s league when it comes to his drive to succeed, and I refuse to believe he would strap on the pads if he thought it would compromise his ability to backstop the Canucks.