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The World Baseball Classic has had an outstanding and frustrating start, especially for Mets fans.
Several star Mets players are on the Puerto Rico team that advanced out of their pool. Behind shortstop Francisco Lindor and closer Edwin Diaz, the Puerto Rico team pulled a big upset of tournament favorites Dominican Republic.
But that win came at a tremendous cost for the Mets franchise and their fans. Diaz collapsed on the mound during the ensuing celebrations, grabbing his knee.
The following day, the Mets got the worst possible news; Diaz would need surgery and was set to miss the season.
READ: METS CLOSER EDWIN DIAZ OUT FOR SEASON AFTER CELEBRATION INJURY; WILL WBC LOSE FUTURE PLAYERS?
That’s led to significant debate about the future of the World Baseball Classic and whether or not teams will allow players to participate.
If it’s up to Lindor, the tournament’s importance will only grow, not diminish.
When asked about the injury to Diaz, Lindor was adamant that the WBC counts as much as the regular season.
“I understand how Mets fans are hurting,” he said to ESPN. “But while for so many people the regular season is what counts, playing in the WBC means just as much to all of us.”
Mets Fans Agree With Lindor?
It doesn’t seem likely that many Mets fans will agree with Lindor’s assertion about the WBC.
The tournament has been exceptionally fun to watch. Fans have been heavily invested in the outcome, and there’s been clear stakes and emotional attachment for the players.
But Mets fans may not care much if their season comes down to the 9th inning of say, the NLCS or World Series and Diaz isn’t available to close out the game.
Lindor said he feels the fans’ pain and and sadness.’ But he seemed much more zen about the fact that Diaz was hurt.
“We don’t want injuries to happen, but it is part of the game. Of course, this is sad for all Mets fans. And I want to thank them for being so concerned about us, and about Edwin, and I really do also feel your pain.”
He continued, saying that it’s a “dream” for players to represent their country at the WBC.
“It is the dream of every Puerto Rican ballplayer to wear Puerto Rico’s colors and to represent our country,” Lindor added. “And not only Puerto Ricans, but every player in the WBC considers being here the ultimate honor.”
It’s understandable for players to want to represent their country. And it’s helped the tournament feel much more impactful and fun to watch.
But at the end of the day, fans want players’ ultimate commitment to be to their team, especially because that’s who pays them.
It’s a fascinating debate, and it’s only going to continue if there are further injuries or if the Mets are severely impacted.