February 18, 2009
Public comments following a withdrawal from the World Baseball are usually pretty boring. Yes, whether it be Albert Pujols, Johan Santana, or Scott Kazmir, they all seem to follow the same three-step formula:
1. Express your initial disappointment through a press release.
2. Say you were really looking forward to representing your country when questioned by reporters.
3. Never think or speak of the WBC again.
Luckily for us conflict-loving types, there's Cardinals pitcher Joel Pineiro, who announced he was quitting the Puerto Rican team and then acted just as I might if you told me that McDonalds wouldn't be selling Shamrock Shakes next month.
Here's the kicker, though: The pitcher — not the Cardinals or an insurance company — withdrew his name from the event because Puerto Rico manager Jose Oquendo said Pineiro would be a reliever, not a part of the team's three-man rotation.
So, not wanting to alter his preparation to be the weakest part of St. Louis' rotation, Pineiro is opting out from his obligation of service. He's also publicly crying about the decision of Oquendo, who also serves as St. Louis' third base coach.From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
"I was very disappointed, very heartbroken. I felt disrespected," Pineiro said prior to this morning's workout at Roger Dean Stadium. "Everybody knows that there have been only two pitchers in Puerto Rico the past 8-10 years who have been consistent starters, Javier Vazquez and myself. To hear that from [Oquendo], it was such a setback. I'm very disappointed. I can't believe I'm talking to you guys about this."
"I feel bad for my country, for Puerto Rico, and for the teammates I would have had over there," Pineiro said. "I talked to most of the guys over there and they know I'm doing the right thing."
It's enough to make you picture Oquendo saying, "This is going to hurt you a lot more than it's going to hurt me." But given Pineiro's recent record, it's definitely the other way around.
And if he's so upset because he was really looking forward to playing on his home soil and because he already made travel arrangements for his family, why not take a spot on the team, no matter what the role? Pineiro's heart might be in the right place, but his ego definitely isn't.