Emile Haddad: Seattle Mariners in the World Baseball Classic
Emile Haddad, from Seattle, is a huge baseball fan. While he grew up idolizing the Washington Nationals because of Bryce Harper, he has since warmed up to his hometown team, the Seattle Mariners. Emile used to play rec league baseball and still conducts baseball clinics among Seattle’s inner-city youth. He studies at the University of Washington and has chosen to major in business.
The city of Seattle prides itself in being a salad bowl of different cultures. There are large Mexican, African-American, Chinese, Filipino, and Puerto Rican communities in Seattle, each with very long histories in the city. In addition, the tech companies based in Seattle and its surrounding region draw some of the best talent from around the world. Thus, it’s only fitting that the city’s baseball team, the Seattle Mariners, has a roster filled with talent from other countries, and that these players are actually representing their respective nations and the city of Seattle very admirably on the international stage.
For instance, the rosters on this year’s World Baseball Classic, which was played on March 6 to 22, featured six members of the Mariners’ 40-player roster and another five from the Mariners’ minor-league teams. Representing the Dominican Republic were seven-time All-Star Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz, who play second baseman and designated hitter, respectively. Venezuela paraded the Mariners’ ace Felix Hernandez. Mexico, for its part, lined up Mariners pitcher Yovani Gallardo, and Puerto Rico had Edwin Diaz in its roster. Finally, Drew Smyly, who was recently named a starter in the Mariners’ lineup, was named to Team USA’s provisional pool.
That’s not all, though – the WBC rosters were also chock-full of talent from the Mariners’ minor-league system. Sam Gaviglio and Pat Venditte represented Italy; Tyler O’Neill wore the maple-leaf hat for Canada; Emilio Pagan teamed up with Diaz in the Puerto Rico lineup, and Sebastian Valle played catcher for Mexico.
Among the 11 members of the Mariners organization in WBC rosters, Diaz, Pagan, and Smyly went the farthest; Puerto Rico and the United States faced each other in the championship game. The final game could’ve gone either way as Puerto Rico beat the United States 6-5 in Pool F play at Petco Park. However, Team USA opened the third inning with a two-run homer, and poured it on during the fifth, seventh, and eighth innings while not allowing a single Puerto Rico run.
As a result, the United States won 8-0 and grabbed its first WBC championship title ever. For Puerto Rico, it was their second straight silver-medal finish as they also lost in the 2013 championship game, this time to the Dominican Republic. However, there is no doubt that they’ll be a force to reckon with in 2021.
As for the Seattle Mariners players in WBC rosters, they sure did their countries proud and elevated their respective games while playing with some of the world’s best players. They’ll come back to the Mariners tougher and stronger and this only means one thing – the rest of Major League Baseball better watch out.
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