When the United States and Puerto Rico take the field at Dodger Stadium it will be a classic in the making. Besides the fact that this game is a rematch of an earlier nail biter, the story lines go deeper than the game of baseball.
The USA is the Mother Ship, Puerto Rico is the Territory. Puerto Rico has representation in the US House of Representatives, yet it has its own flag. And here is the biggest political kicker, a referendum is scheduled for June of this year to decide what direction the island will take. The two choices are either apply for statehood, which will possibly make this the last competition between the two entities, or declare its independence as a nation.
Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Marcus Stroman will take the mound for Team USA this evening and will be opposed by Seth Lugo of the New York Mets. Stroman could have been part of Team Puerto Rico, but opted to play for the Americans. As a result, Stroman’s mother has been the subject of harassment on social media by many Puerto Ricans. This will make for an emotional start for Stroman. This again, could go way beyond the game of baseball.
Marcus Stroman will start for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic Finals.
Seth Lugo will return to the Mets camp in Pt. St. Lucie, Florida following the WBC to finish competing for the fifth spot in their rotation. Tonight, he takes the pride of the territory that either wants to join Big Brother or break away from it on his shoulders. Yes, this is the biggest start of Lugo’s career, notwithstanding a start on the World Series stage at Citi Field.
Who will be the Classic’s MVP? Yadier Molina has been arguably the driving force in Puerto Rico’s 7-0 record and a place in the Finals. Adam Jones and possibly Christian Yelich are candidates from the United States.
So the grand old ballpark set in Southern California’s Chevez Ravine could see another chapter written in its hallowed halls. Perhaps a ballpark that has been home to Sandy Koufax, Tommy LaSorda, Don Sutton, and Don Drysdale to name a few, can add one of the all time biggest international games to its resume tonight. Too bad old Vin won’t be in the Dodger Stadium press box to tell everyone in the USA and its extended family in the Caribbean to pull up a chair this evening. Enjoy the game wherever you may be!