Big League Stew

Joe Torre will lead U.S. in World Baseball Classic, but can he make a difference?

Kevin Kaduk
Big League Stew

View photo

.

(US Presswire)

Even though it's less than a year away, we haven't heard many details or chatter about the 2013 World Baseball Classic.

Who will be playing for the teams? Which sites are being considered for the games? Which country will A-Rod claim this time around and will it even want him?

There are no answers to the questions above — the official site hasn't even been updated since the 2009 final —  but we might be moving in that direction with Thursday's revelation that Joe Torre will manage the third version of the U.S. team.

Because Buck Martinez managed the squad in 2006 and Davey Johnson got the honor in 2009, it looks like there's a tradition being set of selecting a skipper without any team ties at the time. That makes sense given that the tournament is conducted during spring training and probably sends the signal that Tony La Russa should keep his 2016 open.

SB Nation's Rob Neyer notes that the United States hasn't finished higher than fourth in the WBC and I suppose Torre is being brought in to remedy that.

It should be said, though, that Torre isn't walking into any sort of pressure here. Well, at least not from the country's sports fans, who have shown little shame or consternation after not showing well in either of Bud Selig's pet tournaments. No one, after all, was comparing the 2009 semifinal loss to Japan to the 2004 U.S. men's basketball team flopping at the Olympics.

Then again, I'm open to the argument that part of the reason that the WBC hasn't taken off is because the United States has yet to stage a dominant run. Selig probably enlisted his buddy Torre to change that,  but he'll face the same challenges — disinterested players, limiting the injury risk to his pitching staff and a small window of preparation time — that has hampered the team in the past. The very nature of a short baseball team necessitates a healthy amount of luck, but Torre might need even more than that.

Want more baseball fun all season long?
Follow @bigleaguestew@KevinKaduk and the BLS Facebook page!

View Comments