Every four years, the best of the best basketball players in the nation come together to create a team that is seemingly unbeatable. Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and other stars of the NBA came together last summer to earn gold in the London Olympics.
Unfortunately, when it comes to the World Baseball Classic, it seems only the pretty good of the best deem it worthy of their time, at least when it comes to the American-born stars.
MLB Network has released their list of the top 100 players in Major League Baseball, and very few of the top American stars are on the Team USA roster.
Nine of the top 15 players on the list are American, but only two of those, Ryan Braun and Giancarlo Stanton, are playing in the WBC.
In contrast, four of the top 10 players on the list are from a country besides the United States, and all but one of them is playing for their respective country.
The second best catcher on the list, Yadier Molina of Puerto Rico, said that there is nothing better than playing with your country’s name on your chest.
That sentiment doesn’t seem to be shared by many of the American players.
The only catcher that is believed to be better than Molina, Buster Posey, is American, but he does not appear on the WBC roster.
Playing in the WBC would bring with it the chance of injury that could cost a player during the MLB season, but many players seem to be less worried about this possibility when it comes to the All-Star game.
The top two players on the list, Mike Trout of the Angels and Justin Verlander of the Tigers, each appeared on one of the two All-Star game rosters last season along with Posey and each of the other Americans in the top 15 that are not on the WBC team.
On a team that is supposed to be made up of the best ballplayers the United States has to offer, only six hitters can boast a career batting average over .275.
Reigning National League Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey said he wanted to participate in the WBC to improve upon the third-place finish he helped Team USA earn in the 1996 Olympics.
Despite all of the baseball talent in the U.S., the American team has failed to make it to the championship round in either of the previous WBCs.
For that to change, some of the American talent will have to learn to share Dickey’s understanding of the importance of international competition.
Haley Markle is the assistant sports editor for the Arkansas Traveler. Her column appears every Monday. Follow the sports section on Twitter @UATravSports.