Ryan Vogelsong is a crucial part to a contending Giants team. Ryan Vogelsong is going to spend his March throwing in games that mean something. I'm okay with this.
(Vogelsong) has committed to play for the United States in the World Baseball Classic, joining a provisional roster that includes a pitching staff with stars such as Toronto's R.A. Dickey, Atlanta's Craig Kimbrel and the Yankees' Andy Pettitte. The full roster will be named on Thursday.
The common thread among the three starters listed: wrinkles. Maybe that's just a coincidence, but it's also the reason I'm okay with Vogelsong pitching in the WBC. The idea is that an older pitcher knows his routine, knows what to exert and what to reserve. An older pitcher has made it out of the injury nexus of the mid-20s alive and is part of a self-selecting group that you don't need to worry about quite as much.
Or maybe the reverse is true. The average arm might have so many miles on it, and Vogelsong's a lot closer to the top of the odometer than someone like, say, Madison Bumgarner would be. Maybe there's a greater chance that Vogelsong will be borrowing against miles pulled from the end of his Giants career. Dunno.
But when I read the news that Vogelsong was going to be on the roster, the knee-jerk reaction was positive. Part of that has to do with my affection for the WBC -- I love this silly little tournament.
Awesome, and that highlight didn't do justice to the Ichiro at-bat, which lasted 19,931 pitches and seven days. And the WBC finals at AT&T Park, possibly with thousands of regional partisans showing their affection for Vogelsong? Yeah, that's something to get excited for. Maybe it's silly and short-sighted, but I can dig Vogelsong in the WBC. But I suppose there need to be ground rules. The following players need to stay the hell away from the WBC:
You can probably guess why. Bumgarner was running on fumes at the end of last season, Lincecum wasn't running on anything for much of last year, Posey has the robo-ankle, and the Giants like to take it easy with Romo and his elbow. Apart from that, the more Giants the better. Pablo Sandoval is playing for Venezuela, which should have a ridiculous team. Matt Cain would make me a little nervous, seeing as the Giants are betrothed to him for the next decade or so, but I could live with it.
Update: Nice timing, Morosi.
Matt Cain won’t play for Team USA in World Baseball Classic.— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) January 15, 2013
Hunter Pence representing our country would be a beautiful thing, in which "beautiful" is defined as "hilarious."
Other than Sandoval and Vogelsong, it's not clear if there are any Giants representing their country. Or the country they have some sort of tangential relationship to. I think Brandon Crawford watched Pan's Labyrinth once, so he might qualify for the Spanish team. The recent news, though, is that Ryan Vogelsong is going to fight the world with nothing more than a glove and a scowl. I like them odds. Looking forward to it.