15 Brewers to play in World Baseball Classic
MARYVALE, AZ (WITI) — It may be cold and snowy in Wisconsin, but it is bright and sunny in Maryvale, Arizona! However, not everyone is sticking around. A number of players from the Brewers organization will trade in the blue and gold for their home country’s colors to compete in the World Baseball Classic — 15 players to be exact — more than any other team!
“I think it’s a great credit to the organization that we’re able to produce that kind of talent and let everyone see what our players are capable of,”
There are 16 teams spread into four pools. Pool D features Team USA, Mexico, Italy and Canada. They play Round One games at Chase Field just miles away from Brewers camp.
“It’s gonna be weird for me being away from the team and competing with another team but I’m also looking forward to it. I think it will be a lot of fun,”
The pool hails 10 of the 15 Brewers competing. Ryan Braun and Jonathan Lucroy will suit up for Team USA.
“It’s a tremendous opportunity to represent my country and I’m looking forward to it,” Braun said.
USA and Mexico start things off on March 6th. That means both Braun and Lucroy can possibly dig in against Yovani Gallardo and Marco Estrada — a challenge both hurlers welcome.
“You know, our best hitter is Braun. Hopefully I get the opportunity to pitch against him — something I’ve always wanted to do,” Gallardo said.
I almost had the opportunity to face him in the Futures Game, but that didn’t happen, so I may have another chance,” Estrada said.
It is a matchup no Brewers fan wants to watch!
The tournament runs from March 6th through the 19th. All the Brewers will be together in Spring Training for about two weeks before shipping off — and they’ll have at least 10 more days of Spring Training games after the tournament. Then, they’ll be ready for the April 1st season opener.
“I think it’s advantageous to play meaningful games like that — to play with that type of intensity. Spring Training can get a little bit monotonous and the WBC is drastically different,” Braun said.
“It prepares you for Opening Day. That’s what Spring Training is for, but it’s a little different atmosphere when you’re actually competing. I know these games mean a little more than Spring Training, but I don’t want to overdo it,” Gallardo said.