Rheal Cormier, who has played in the Majors since 1991, is looking forward to representing his native Canada in the inaugural World Baseball Classic. "Sure, this is going to be great, eh?" he said. "It will be fun to play with some of the country's best players."
Four national baseball squads will converge in Arizona next Tuesday to begin play of the inaugural World Baseball Classic. The top two teams in Pool B will advance to the second round, which will be held March 12-16 in Anaheim.
Now that Team Canada has been blown out of the Winter Olympics without a hockey medal, the pride of Canadian professional sports is in the hands of a baseball team.
Eric Gagne, on the comeback from elbow surgery, said Wednesday he reluctantly expects to withdraw from participation in the World Baseball Classic.
In the place where hockey is king, Major League Baseball has made huge inroads in Canada in recent years. With kids setting aside their ice skates and picking up their baseball cleats during the summer months, a bumper crop of talent has emerged.
Wladimir Balentien, Scott Thorman, Francisco Liriano and Yusmeiro Petit are a few of the top prospects on the preliminary rosters for the upcoming WBC.
On Wednesday, just a few days after revealing the names of 23 of its WBC participants during Baseball Canada's annual awards banquet in Toronto, Team Canada submitted its provisional 51-man WBC roster.
The 39-year-old Larry Walker, a 17-year Major League veteran, said he's walking away from the game because of continuing pain caused by a herniated disc in his neck. He will serve as a coach for Team Canada in the World Baseball Classic.
At this March's World Baseball Classic, the Canadian team will borrow from the 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates, whose "We Are Family" attitude brought the team together and carried them to a World Series title.
Former Toronto player and current Blue Jays bench Ernie Whitt talks about his best memories of the holidays, what he's doing this Christmas, who does the shopping in his family and much more in this special holiday chat with MLB.com.