Wright Makes Executive Decision to Play in Final Round of Classic

March 20, 2009

The final leg of the World Baseball Classic commences this weekend at Dodgers Stadium. Sixteen teams have dwindled down to only four. Japan, Korea, Venezuela, and the United States have all earned the right to compete in the semifinal round. Two of those teams will then qualify to go on to the championship game scheduled for Monday night.

From the outset of the tournament, the on-going controversy has been whether or not major league players are being placed in harm’s way by participating. On Wednesday night, Mets David Wright fouled a ball off his left foot in a loss to Venezuela, 10-6.

“No problems, fouled a ball off, cracked a toenail. Other than that, things are good,” said Wright. “I probably would have played through it in the season.”

The All-star third baseman has maintained a business as usual approach and has confidently stated that he will continue playing for Team USA despite the injury to his toe. Wright also mentioned that if the Mets decide the best course of action for him is inaction, he will override that decision to fulfill his obligation to his country. His injury demonstrates the uncertainties that go along with allowing MLB players to offer their services for the tournament.

Just one night removed from the Americans’ come-from-behind win over Puerto Rico in which Wright was the hero, the slugger finds himself in an even more difficult situation. By opting to play hurt in what some consider just another exhibition-style game, Wright may have put himself at risk. What risk? Not placing his true obligation of playing for the Mets first. From a player’s standpoint, having your country’s name stitched across one’s chest is more endearing than a three-hour bus ride to Orlando.

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