Team USA second baseman Ian Kinsler stirred the pot ahead of Wednesday’s World Baseball Classic championship game against Puerto Rico.
Speaking to Billy Witz of the New York Times about the contrasts between Team USA and Puerto Rico, Kinsler unleashed a quote lathered with outdated baseball traditionalism. Kinsler didn’t quite say that the teams from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic “don’t play the game the right way,” but he’s critical of style and passion of both teams and the culture he says fosters it.
I hope kids watching the W.B.C. can watch the way we play the game and appreciate the way we play the game as opposed to the way Puerto Rico plays or the Dominican plays. That’s not taking anything away from them. That just wasn’t the way we were raised. They were raised differently and to show emotion and passion when you play. We do show emotion; we do show passion. But we just do it in a different way.
Just when you started feeling good about Team USA after it clinched its first trip to the World Baseball Classic finals, Kinsler’s comments throw some cold water on those flames. Making the comments even more mind-numbing is Kinsler’s idea that the manner in which Team USA shows its passion is seemingly the only appropriate way to get fired up.
We’re not sure who put Kinsler in charge of deciding what’s too much and what’s just right, but you’d be hard-pressed to find many people who aren’t loving the passion and the energy that every team has shown during the event. Puerto Rico, with its dyed hair, flag-waving and constant celebration, has easily been one of the most exciting teams in the tournament.
As Puerto Rican native Christian Colon points out, perhaps it’s Kinsler that needs a different perspective.
Puerto Rican native Christian Colon on Ian Kinsler's words here: "It's the truth. We got flair, and he don't." https://t.co/Z8AQpL4keh
— Rustin Dodd (@rustindodd) March 22, 2017
If that’s not enough, manager Jim Leyland also got in on the action with the following quote during his news conference.
Leyland: "We're trying to make America great again."
— Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) March 22, 2017
Anybody else think this is starting to sound like the beginning of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign?
The World Baseball Classic is not going to save the country or restore order that’s never been lost in our beloved game. It’s just here to remind us what baseball means on a worldwide scale — especially in Latin countries — and why playing it like you love it is far from a sin.
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