Jennifer Stewart-US PRESSWIRE
The Cubs' first baseman will get to represent the country of his forebears in the World Baseball Classic. Personally, I think that's cool.
I thought this deserved its own front-page post, and since Josh (our WBC guru) is under the weather, I figured I'd take it on myself.
Here's the facts: Anthony Rizzo will play for Italy in the World Baseball Classic. Their first game will be at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick March 8, vs. Canada. I was considering going to that game; with Rizzo in the game, that clinches it. I'll be there to report on his performance in person.
For those of you making fun of Rizzo's inclusion on a team for a country where he's never lived, obviously he holds Italian ancestry and qualifies under one of the rules that lets people play for countries like this. Seriously -- if this weren't allowed, the USA, Japan, Canada, the Dominican Republic or Cuba would probably run away with this event, and what's the fun of that?
This distributes talent a bit more evenly through the countries in the event -- and you're doing that with countries like Italy, for example, to help promote baseball there. I think that's a good thing, myownself.
Regarding one other Cub who might play:
Shortstop Starlin Castro reportedly told media in the Dominican Republic that he was going to play for that team in the Classic, but the Cubs have not confirmed that.
Full team rosters will be announced Thursday.