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Phillies Pheatured on the World Stage

Welcome and thanks for reading my first contribution to Legends On Deck! Special thanks to my longtime friend Brian Koss for introducing me to David Conde and to both gentlemen for welcoming me on board. Most of you have never read me, so right off the bat here I will disclose my bias as a lifelong Phillies fan. All baseball sayings and puns are intentional, of course.

Now it’s time again for my favorite international sporting competition, the World Baseball Classic. Our planet would be a happier place if this tournament received as much attention as the World Cup.

One particularly noteworthy and, for Philadelphians like me, enjoyable highlight of the 2023 edition of the WBC is the astounding and impressive degree that teams have welcomed Phillies players to their rosters. Accounting for both 8 major league and 7 minor league players, a grand total of 15 Phillies organization players are in the tournament, across the rosters of 10 different teams. 50% of WBC teams now have at least one Phillies organization player. Apparently reaching the World Series makes people popular and pays dividends, including even some players who were not on the 2022 team that won the National League pennant.

Bryce Harper would have made nine Phillies. However he resigned from team USA in favor of receiving his necessary Tommy John surgery as soon as possible following the World Series. Tommy John surgery takes a notoriously long time for a player to heal and rehab afterwards to become ready to return to playing normal games. Rumor alleges Dave Dombrowski might have twisted Harper’s arm because when you pay your MVP superstar $330 million, and he is in his prime years, and your MLB team is in the championship contending window, then there is no time to spare on deliberately delaying the recovery clock.

Because I’m sufficiently self-aware of my long-winded nature, and because I want y’all to come back and read more from me in the future, I made the choice to refrain from writing a hagiography for every individual Phillies player in the WBC. Instead I will simply close with a short and sweet list:

USA: Trea Turner, J.T. Realmuto, and Kyle Schwarber.

Venezuela: Ranger Suárez and Jose Alvarado.

Dominican Republic: Gregory Soto.

Mexico: Taijuan Walker and two guys in the minor league farm system.

Israel: Garrett Stubbs.

Honorable Mentions: Netherlands, Canada, Great Britain, Australia, and Puerto Rico each have one guy in the minor league farm system.

Jeremy Cerone is a lifelong baseball fan. As a native Philadelphian, he was born and raised as a Phillies fan. He played second base as a kid, even before Chase Utley made it cool. Later, in college, he adopted the Yankees as his American League team. The Phillies remain securely as his first love in baseball. Sports journalism and commentary have fascinated him since childhood. If Mars fielded a baseball team and played the Atlanta Braves, Jeremy would openly cheer for the Martians.

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