Adrian Beltre is probably going to make the Hall of Fame on his first ballot next season – the former Texas Ranger is one of 12 players in MLB history to get 3,000 hits and 400 home runs.
However, even during his illustrious MLB career, he participated in the 2006 and 2017 World Baseball Classics as a member of the Dominican Republic teams.
The event has garnered some backlash for its timing, further exposing players to potential injuries and the simple fact that it is just not that important of an event.
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But do not tell the latter part to Beltre. In fact, he admitted he rushed back from an injury to participate in 2017.
“There was one year when I was in Texas they were concerned, because I actually got injured right before spring training, so I rushed to get better,” Beltre told Fox News Digital in a recent interview. “I wanted to participate in the [WBC]. It happens every four years, and it’s something that most of us want to do.”
MLB owners and general managers will never admit it publicly, but deep down, they do not want their players there. Just within the last few weeks, New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman notably did not allow often-injured pitcher Luis Severino to participate, though three other Yankees will play.
Beltre understands why it is a predicament among front offices.
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“To be honest, I don’t think, unless it’s something different, I don’t think the front offices should be able to block the players, but I understand, too, because they invest so much money in the player,” he said. “They are looking to a different goal, which is to win the World Series. I see both sides, but I 100% agree more to the players, because you do want to play, you want to participate, you get ready to do so, I think you should be able to do it and go and play.”
Beltre’s latest baseball adventure is joining Baseball United, the first professional baseball league in west Asia, as an investor, alongside Hall of Famers Mariano Rivera and Barry Larkin. His goal is simple; grow the game in other parts of the world.
The WBC provides the same sentiment, and while its popularity may not be a fraction of the World Cup, the Olympics, or even FIBA basketball championships, it is something players take pride in, and he believes more fans will as well.
“You’re actually growing the game. The [WBC] is something that a lot of people watch. It’s a great tournament which you can see the best of every country going at it to win the championship that year. It’s something I really enjoyed playing in and something that’s super cool for everybody that is involved.”
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The WBC, hosted by Taiwan, Japan and the United States, kicks off March 8. The championship takes place on March 21 in Miami.