With the World Baseball Classic quickly approaching, we examine the San Diego Padres who are participating and the ways the club will be impacted by the event.
Round robin play of the World Baseball Classic begins Monday, as the teams representing their countries will compete for a spot in the world tournament. The four pools consisting of four teams each will then send two teams to the tournament, as eight teams total will compete for the world title.
The United States will participate in pool C alongside Canada, the Dominican Republic, and Colombia. Their first game will take place this Friday night at Marlins Park in Miami against Colombia.
Chacin will compete for his home country of Venezuela, while Naylor and Romak will both put on a Canadian uniform this week.
As exciting and captivating as the World Baseball Classic is, this event does mean that these three players will need to leave Peoria and their preparation for the 2017 season temporarily. The Padres are very supportive of this though, as manager Andy Green said last month:
"If they’re interested in doing it, we’re supportive of the World Baseball Classic. It’s really good for the game. I’ve enjoyed watching it over the years, scouting it. Anything that grows the game is important. If they’re lucky enough to be selected, it’s an honor."
Thankfully, San Diego will not lose any young position players who benefit most from spring training action. All signs point to Naylor and Romak spending another several seasons in the minor leagues, and Chacin is a veteran who does not necessarily need as much Cactus League action to prepare him for his first start.
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Since these three are still playing baseball, it shouldn’t be a big deal to miss a good portion of spring training. If it was, Green and the Padres would not be so supportive of it. On the contrary, it will be exciting for fans to see their players in action, and it gives everyone even more reason to tune into the competition this March.
The Padres will also have the privilege of hosting several World Baseball contests, as the second round matchups will take place place at Petco Park. This is not only an opportunity for fans to check out some international baseball, there is also a chance the three Padres involved could play in their home park.
Overall, the World Baseball Classic is something to look forward to. It helps the countdown to Opening Day move faster, and gives fans the opportunity to root for their home country while checking out players from their team. For the Padres, this means Chacin, Naylor and Romak. And since several games will take place at Petco Park, fans may even be able to see some of the action live.