Look at all that red and white in the background…coincidence, or subliminal message? Photo: Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports
This is, and will be, the only article I ever write that revolves around the World Baseball Classic. For the official record, I think it is a terrible waste of time and comes at a huge risk to MLB players. Plus, any team in baseball could have as many as 8 players missing from Spring camp for up to 3 weeks!!! Stupid. This is just another opportunity for Bud Selig to make a few extra dollars and put himself on the world stage, rather than the more pedestrian national stage he is used to. I have not watched a single game since its inception, that is not likely to change anytime soon. Again, I think the WBC is a joke…a really, really bad one. A la…a horse walks into a bar….
I did find it interesting that your Milwaukee Brewers have more players on Team Canada, than they do on Team USA. Then if you factor in former Brewers farm prospect (now Blue Jay) Brett Lawrie…it kind of makes you wonder how much talent the Brewers pull from our neighbors to the North. So, I did some research on Brewers players from 2000 onward from Canada and had some fun. Let’s start in the present.
- Brewers pitchers John Axford and Jim Henderson will be pitching out of the bullpen for Team Canada in the WBC. Then the Maple Syrup Crusaders added Taylor Green to their 40-man roster. Axford was born in Port Dover, Ontario; Jim Henderson is from Calgary, Alberta; and Taylor Green is from Courtenay, British Columbia. From a MLB standpoint…that is a lot of gravy soaked french fries in one clubhouse. Not to mention it is a lot of talent. Axford is our closer, Henderson will most likely become the set-up man, and I still believe Taylor Green is a major league talent waiting for a REAL shot.
- Very recent Brewers roster members Brett Lawrie (see above), George Kottaras, and Adam Stern hail from the land of maple syrup. Kottaras was designated for assignment this past season and was then picked up by the Oakland A’s. Lawrie was of course part of the deal that brought us Shaun Marcum. Stern was much more of a blip on the radar screen, as he made his Brewers debut in 2010 as a hot hitting outfielder…but he filed for free agency after he got almost no playing time. Kottaras is from Scarborough, Ontario. While Lawrie hails from Langley, British Columbia. And Stern came from London, Ontario.
- I was going to save this one for last, but….Member of the very first class inducted into the “Hall of Brewers We Won’t Miss” , Eric Gagne hails from Canada. He is a rare case and one I try to forget everyday. Most Canadians I find charming and wonderful, Gagne made me want to rip off my toes one by one and light them individually on fire. This was a “TALENT” that the Brewers should have left in the Yukon. I could tell you where Gagne came from, but I honestly do not give two craps.
- When you think of an MLB journeyman…there is really only one guy. Matt Stairs, member of the 2002 Brewers, is in fact a Canadian. Apparently one of the nicest dudes on earth, so clearly he was Canadian. Played for half of the organizations in Major League Baseball and you can’t find one bad thing about him. A true Canadian. Somebody get that guy a Labatt Blue.
- I guess we can classify this next guy as a Brewer, but poor Corey Koskie never did much. He missed almost his entire Brewers career due to post-concussion syndrome. We got to see him play part of 2006, but then he sat at home and watched July of 2006, until the team declined to pick up his option after the 2007 season. Poor guy never played again. Corey Koskie was brought to us by Anola, Manitoba.
***This was saved for last on purpose, so try not to have your mind blown***
As I did my research, it certainly did seem like we had taken a lot of talent from the land where hockey is king. Then I re-read the story about John Axford’s pitching session, where only the Brewers representative showed up. It is a beautiful story, but I started to wonder…why only a Brewers scout? Then it happened.
- DOUG MELVIN is Canadian. That’s right, the man who has provided us with the rosters for 2008 and 2011 playoff runs, is himself a Canadian. Not one of the names above was signed without this man’s knowing consent. In fact, he is soooo Canadian, that last year he was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame!!! The Milwaukee Brewers might as well be the Montreal Expos – South.
As if I didn’t love Canada enough already!! Vancouver might be my favorite city on this continent, I love hockey, and the TV show Trailer Park Boys (available now on NetFlix streaming) is one of the funniest sitcoms ever made. Now I have even more reason to love Canada, the Brewers.
If I were to watch the WBC, and I were to root for someone, I would root for Canada. Not because I am unpatriotic, but because the Brewers have been filling that roster since the WBC emerged from the depths of Hades in 2005.
Starting in 2013, the Brewers need to start singing O Canada in addition to the National Anthem. By not doing so, would be a slap in the face to everything our organization has become…Canadian.
In closing, Brewskies and Brewskettes, embrace your Canadian heritage. It runs deep in our beloved Crew.