PHOENIX — The game is supposed to be America’s national pastime, but the United States has not fared well in the World Baseball Classic.
Joe Torre is putting his manager’s uniform back on to lead Team USA in this year’s competition, but he cautions that there are reasons the U.S. has not won, or even made it to the title game, in the first two editions of the worldwide competition.
Torre, speaking Monday at a news conference in Phoenix, said players usually use spring training to get ready physically for the long major league season, slowly working in the mental edge along the way. But with the World Baseball Classic, they are asked to get that competitive edge in a hurry against countries that take this competition very seriously.
“I think a big part of it is the mental preparation for a postseason type of atmosphere,” Torre said.
Japan won the first two championships, beating Cuba in the finale in 2006 and South Korea in 2009.
Team USA will have a workout on March 4 in Scottsdale, followed by exhibition games against the Chicago White Sox and Colorado Rockies before beginning round-robin play March 8 against Mexico. Canada and Italy are the other two teams in the group. Team USA’s round-robin games are at Chase Field, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The second round will be held in Miami, with the semifinals and finals set for AT&T Park in San Francisco.