Buzzing on Yahoo Sports:

Matt Harrison, Joe Nathan Turn Down World Baseball Classic

Yahoo Contributor Network
Single Again, New York Yankees’ Derek Jeter is Playing the Field
.

View gallery

Derek Jeter.

COMMENTARY | The World Baseball Classic and Team USA wanted two players from the Texas Rangers, starter Matt Harrison and closer Joe Nathan.

Both declined.

But they aren't the only players who have decided that playing for Team USA, and the red, white and blue, wasn't all that important.

San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey; Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper; Los Angeles Angels rookie sensation Mike Trout; Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder, and MLB 2013 The Show cover boy, Andrew McCutchen; Colorado Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki; and Tampa Bay Rays starter, and AL Cy Young winner, David Price have all told the WBC no thanks.

Want two more names? How about Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander and Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw. Both are leaning against playing.

The biggest stars this country, and this sport, have to offer and the majority of them decide it's really not all that important.

I had a conversation with someone on Wednesday about the World Baseball Classic. His response was, "The tournament really doesn't mean anything."

Maybe to these players it doesn't. But ask players who play for Team Mexico or Team Japan or even Team Dominican Republic; ask them if winning the WBC is important to them. More than likely you'll get much different answers than you'll get from most of the sports media around these parts.

While there's no question teams fear for their players and fear just one tear of a rotator cuff will mean a lot of time missed for one of their stars, Jon Morosi of Fox Sports pointed out that teams are insured for any injuries that occur during the WBC. Not only that, but Morosi also pointed out players are paid for their participation in the event.

Most think money talks, but apparently it's not enough for some of Major League Baseball's brightest stars to wear "Team USA" across their chest.

Derek Jeter has answered the call -- twice. Chipper Jones has also been a part of Team USA. Are these not two of the biggest names this sport has seen in our generation?

So why have we allowed some of the best players in the game today to say no to Team USA in a baseball tournament that pits them against the best players from around the globe?

Want the simple answer? It's our fault.

Actually, it's the fault of the fans and the media alike. It's the fans' fault because the majority of baseball fans only care about their team and regular-season games. It's the media's fault because there's very little attention paid to the tournament.

Didn't we make a stink when Dwayne Wade didn't want to play for Team USA during the Olympics because he wanted to get paid? When the Dream Team turned into the Lame Team, wasn't there an outcry for the best players in the NBA to be part of Team USA to bring the gold medal back to the United States?

Why is there no outcry for Team USA now?

If we're going to be okay with the best players in the game deciding not to play for Team USA, why not give the chance to college players? Players who would jump at the chance to play against some of the best competition in the world and the chance to play on one of the biggest stages of their college careers?

The World Baseball Classic is having a hard time getting itself off the ground, and it's having a hard time getting support from the American fan base.

Call the tournament what you want. The truth of the matter is, until we take it seriously and until we expect the best and the brightest to take part in it, players won't expect themselves to give it a second thought.

This isn't just about some baseball tournament before Major League Baseball's regular season begins. This is about players having pride in the kind of players this country puts out. Getting embarrassed year in and year out is not what Team USA should be taking pride in.

Until the fans, and the media, start expecting things to change, they'll continue to stay the same.

Todd Kaufmann lives in Arlington, Texas and has covered the Texas Rangers for Sports Page Weekly, a weekly publication in Dallas, Texas, as well as for Through the Fence Baseball where he is the voice of their Texas Rangers podcast.

Sign up for Yahoo Fantasy Football
View Comments (8)