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They Never Learn, Do They.

[a rant]

Last night, the Atlanta Braves beat the Colorado Rockies 8-1.

You're asking, why do I care about this?

I care because this game marked the major league debut of Jeff Francis, starting pitcher for the Rockies, a first-round draft pick in 2002 and by all accounts, a top-level pitching prospect.

He's also possibly the best pitching prospect ever to come out of Canada, and the Canadians very much wanted him to pitch for their Olympic team. However, the Rockies, for some unfathomable reason, refused this permission. Perhaps as a result, the Canadian team failed to win a medal, losing to eventual gold medalist Cuba in the semifinals.

Think about this. You have a team, the Rockies, going nowhere, 18 games out of first place. You have a young man who could have represented his country in the Olympics, something that in baseball, players generally get only one shot to do. By 2008, if baseball is even still an Olympic sport, Jeff Francis will likely be in the Rockies' starting rotation.

This was extremely selfish on Colorado's part. Rosters can be expanded next week, for heaven's sake. To have let Francis go for a month for practices and the Olympics themselves, would have hardly stunted his development. Oh, and he wound up getting pounded for six runs in five innings, allowing three homers, even though he struck out eight.

Bud Selig ought to have ordered the Rockies to let him go to Athens. If baseball really wants to promote international development and have a World Cup tournament, this is exactly NOT the way to do it.

But then, that's SOP for MLB.

[end rant]