The World Baseball Classic has failed to build a large following in the United States, as many of MLB’s biggest stars have turned down the opportunity to suit up for Team USA.
One such player, Chicago White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko, became one of the first major leaguers to offer a solution, suggesting to ESPN Chicago’s Bruce Levine that the tournament could be moved to July.
Konerko, one of the more accomplished American first baseman with 422 career home runs, said that it is too difficult for players to be ready during March, when the first three WBCs have been staged and noted the event’s lack of star power.
“Maybe the best thing to do is take two weeks off in the middle of the season if you want get at it the right way having best versus best,” Konerko said. “I am sure that would take a lot more planning and that would be tough to do.
“It is still fun to watch. I watch it and it is still great baseball. If they are going to have every country’s best players they will have to make an adjustment to what they do now. At that point there are no excuses. Maybe that will happen someday but they are doing it the best way they can do it now.”
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Team USA suffered a major blow on Wednesday when it was announced that first baseman Mark Teixeira would be out 8-10 weeks with a strained wrist. Along with Konerko, the Tigers’ Prince Fielder also reportedly turned down an invitation to replace Teixeira, while the Phillies’ deemed Ryan Howard unfit to play, leaving Eric Hosmer as the eventual replacement.