Adrian Gonzalez rips WBC: 'They're not even the Little League World Series'
Shots fired! Two days after Mexico got knocked out of the World Baseball Classic following an error on the part of tournament officials with regards to a first-round tiebreaker, first baseman Adrian Gonzalez vowed that he'll never again play in the WBC and had some harsh words for its organizers.
Returning to Dodgers camp in Arizona after his time with Team Mexico came to an end, Gonzalez didn't hold back in his comments to reporters about the WBC.
Adrian Gonzalez has returned to camp. He says he will never play in the WBC again: "It's good to be the hell out of that tournament."— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughTimes) March 15, 2017
Adrian Gonzalez on the WBC: "They're trying to be the World Cup. But they're not even the Little League World Series."— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughTimes) March 15, 2017
More Adrian Gonzalez on WBC: "When you're going to put your career on the line, why would you do it for something that has no validity?"— Eric Stephen (@truebluela) March 15, 2017
Gonzalez's enmity is a result of his team's unceremonious and abrupt exit from the tournament. Mexico, Venezuela and Italy all finished 1–2 in Pool D play (which Puerto Rico won with a 3–0 record), necessitating a tiebreaker between two of those teams to determine who would advance to the second round. Initially, that was supposed to be a matchup between Mexico and Italy based on the WBC's rather complicated tiebreaker rules, in which runs allowed per defensive inning played against the other teams with which you're tied was the first determinant. The first set of calculations had Mexico (which had beaten Venezuela, 10–9, and lost to Italy, 10–9) ahead of Venezuela, but that math was redone due to an error: Mexico had been credited for an extra inning in its game against Italy, which had scored five runs in the ninth without making an out. After redoing the numbers, Venezuela came out ahead, leaving Gonzalez and Mexico furious.
It's understandable that that kind of mistake—which Mexico unsuccessfully protested—would leave Gonzalez with a bitter taste about the whole tournament. The WBC's tiebreakers don't make much sense, and it seems like Mexico wasn't informed as to what would be specifically required to advance to the second round ahead of its must-win game against Venezuela, per Gonzalez's comments today.
Gonzalez said Mexico's GM asked WBC officials for clarification of the tiebreaker by email/phone 7 times before Venezuela game. No response— Eric Stephen (@truebluela) March 15, 2017
But for as angry as Gonzalez is, his carping comes off like sour grapes in the wake of a tournament in which his team gave up 28 runs in three games and completely fell apart in the ninth against Italy, throwing away what looked like an easy win. It's not the WBC's fault that Mexico's pitching staff was a total bust, and while Gonzalez has every right to be mad about how the tiebreaker was mishandled, he and his team could have avoided that mess entirely had they simply played better.
Nonetheless, a marquee player who has taken part in every WBC to date says he won't be part of the next one (though should the 2021 WBC come to pass, Gonzalez will be a wizened 38 years old by that time), and that's a shame no matter how you look at it. Hopefully he'll change his mind between now and then.