Jhoulys Chacin has a newly inked contract, peace of mind, and a firm grasp of his importance to the Colorado Rockies this season. As one of the five most important players on the roster, whether or not Chacin pitches for the Venezuelan team in the upcoming World Baseball Classic is a decision that should not be taken lightly.
As of now Chacin is not planning to participate, but he might change his mind:
“I am still considering it. (Venezuelan officials) want me to do it. I want to do it. But my first priority is my team. I hope to talk with the Rockies about it.”
Dare I go with the cliche? I think I will. Right now Chacin sounds like a guy who “gets it.”
The thought of Chacin risking injury makes me cringe just like it did with Troy Tulowitzki. You can call it the paranoia of an irrational fan and I won’t disagree with you.
It is important to acknowledge a cultural difference here. Tulowitzki wants to play for Team USA out of a sense of national pride, but there is not necessarily a collective pressure from American citizens for him to participate. There is no way to compare that to the pressure Chacin feels. I’ll let Chacin’s fellow Venezuelan Carlos Gonzalez explain: “We feel like we have a gun at our heads. You have to represent the (country’s) team.”
Chacin’s decision is more complicated because of that context. I understand that. If he does play, I hope Chacin makes his country proud and also uses the WBC as a way to build momentum for the upcoming regular season.