Carlos A. Nava | ESPN Digital Writer12:15 AM ETLread: 3 min.
PHOENIX — The champion is back; He improved and improved… And he knows that anything less than a repeat of the World Baseball Classic title is a failure.
The United States opens participation this Saturday against Great Britain, as one of the favorites to win the tournament again, with a team full of stars; all major league top players
“We never came here to compete, we came here to win,” said US outfielder Mike Trout. “This competition is much bigger to all of us than people think.”
A selection of Los Angeles Angels superstar heads that includes 20 players who were former All-Stars and who collectively conspire to appear in 66 All-Star Games.
The only other time the United States had raised a major league title was in 2006. But those rosters combined had fewer All-Stars in their resumes (58).
“This is good for the team,” Trout added. “With all due respect, maybe better than last season. Sometimes I think it’s a dream to play with all these guys.”
The manager of the United States, former baseball player and now television analyst Mark DeRosa, recognized that he has talent but that he cannot take any of his rivals for granted, among the Europeans they will meet in the stadium in Arizona on Saturday night. The Diamondbacks, in Phoenix, are already guaranteed to be fully sold out.
“We have to respect all guys because we don’t want to be caught off guard,” DeRosa said. “For today the most important rival for us is tomorrow; then the next game will be and so on. To play with everyone The responsibility.”
DeRosa confirmed that Adam Wainwright will be the starting pitcher for the opening game against the Angels, but it will be after each game when he announces the next pitcher to throw to the mound to start.
“There is no reason for the opponent to take advantage of the time,” DeRosa said. “As I know, the rule is that I can report to an hour after the previous game ends. That’s how it goes every day.”
Great Britain is one of the newcomers at this stage of the tournament with only six players born in their country, a good portion of Americans, Caribbeans and Canadians with roots in the United Kingdom.
Los Angeles Dodgers Outfielder Trayce Thompson, brother of Golden State Warriors basketball player Klay Thompson, is one of the few major leaguers brought in for his debut by the Angels.
Shortstop Lucius Fox made his big league debut with the Washington Nationals last season and catcher Harry Ford made one of the Seattle Mariners’ top picks.
“I think the biggest part of my job with this all-star team will be the motivational aspect, beyond the coaching or management aspect,” DeRosa said. “We have to help them make a big machine, a united force. They’re all super-stresses from different organizations. It’s just going to get the job done here.”
The United States also shares Group C with Mexico, which they will meet on Sunday; Canada and Columbia.