The debate about the World Baseball Classic is heating up after Edwin Diaz’s season-ending injury on Wednesday night. The New York Mets closer suffered a knee injury while celebrating Puerto Rico’s win against the Dominican Republic.
WFAN’s Evan Roberts of the Audacy Original Podcast “Rico Brogna” sounded off on the people blaming the World Baseball Classic for Diaz’s injury and explained why there’s really no one to blame.
“It sucks. It really, really sucks,” Roberts said (7:04 in player above). “And that’s the emotion I have about this. There’s a lot of anger that people are expressing at the WBC, and we’ll address it, I’ll give my opinions not really defending the World Baseball Classic, more defending that that’s not the reason he got hurt. To look at this event and say that’s the reason, to me, look, you can get hurt doing a million different things. We’ve seen a lot of freak injuries and this is a freak injury.”
There have always been injury concerns with the WBC, and that’s a reason that some players – mainly American pitchers – opt out of the tournament. However, Diaz’s injury wasn’t one that was directly caused by the WBC.
“Before this World Baseball Classic started, there was a concern that the Mets had about Edwin Diaz,” Roberts continued. “They were concerned about him pitching on back-to-back days. They thought wait a second, it’s spring training, he hasn’t thrown a lot, it’s still March, is that safe? And by the way, legitimate concern! That is absolutely a legitimate concern.”
Roberts brought up Max Scherzer saying that he’s not ready to throw high-stress pitches that may be required in the WBC in the middle of March. He agreed with the Mets ace, acknowledging that that’s one part of the WBC that he’d buy blaming the tournament for.
“So I do think there are things about the World Baseball Classic that you can look at and say ‘Hey, that makes me uneasy,’ and I think that’s a reason why a lot of American pitchers have not pitched in the WBC,” said Roberts, noting Gerrit Cole, Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander, and Clayton Kershaw as examples.
“So I get that. I don’t want to portray it as I’m naive to the fact that this event could cause injury risk, but what happened to Edwin Diaz on Wednesday night is a fluke. I can sit here all day and talk about other fluky injuries.”
Roberts listed off Kendrys Morales breaking his leg celebrating a walk-off home run, Francisco Rodriguez stepping on a cactus, and Mike Soroka re-injuring his Achilles. You can add Diaz to that list.
“I know we live in a society right now where there’s We gotta blame somebody! We gotta be mad at somebody!’ There really isn’t anyone to be mad at,” Roberts said. “And I understand there are a lot of people listening that don’t like what I’m saying and that’s OK. You want to make me the boogeyman? Fine. You want to make the WBC the boogeyman? You can do it but understand you’re wrong.
“It’s not the boogeyman. It sucks that Edwin Diaz got hurt, and I ask you this question: If Edwin Diaz got hurt walking into the locker room in Port St. Lucie, Florida because he was excited he won a ping pong game against Justin Verlander would it make you feel better? If Edwin Diaz got hurt on the mound in spring training would it make you feel better? If Edwin Diaz got hurt playing the 27-out game that Luis Rojas set up two years ago would it make you feel better?
“Because quite honestly, nothing’s going to make me feel better. The guy got hurt. It sucks. He’s not going to be here this year, but if it’s going to make you feel better to blame the World Baseball Classic, I guess you can do it. Whatever works for you. But I think you’re nuts.”
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