What a difference a week makes.
Adrian Gonzalez was all-in on the World Baseball Classic last week, basking in the pride of playing for Team Mexico while questioning those players who declined invitations. But now Gonzalez’s country is eliminated from the tournament, and the Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman took quite the different stance when asked Wednesday about his WBC experience.
All right, then.
There’s a reason for Gonzalez’s anger, as Mexico was sent home on controversial terms. The club went 1-2 in Pool D to finish in a three-way tie with Italy and Venezuela. That meant two teams would play a tiebreaker game while one club would be eliminated.
Per WBC rules, the deciding tiebreaker in that scenario is average runs allowed per inning. Mexico, with 1.12 runs allowed per inning compared to Venezuela’s 1.11 and Italy’s 1.05, barely finished last, meaning it was sent packing while Venezuela and Italy played a fourth game for the right to advance.
Gonzalez insisted at the time that Team Mexico hadn’t been informed of that rule, complaining Sunday night after Mexico defeated Venezuela 11-9 that his club had been told a different story.
Mexico filed a protest, but to no avail, as Puerto Rico and Venezuela advanced from Pool D. It appears the incident has left a permanently bitter taste in Gonzalez’s mouth, too, enough to make the 34-year-old veteran distance himself completely from the tournament.
Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images