Colorado Rockies: Carlos Gonzalez Talks World Baseball Classic
By Kevin Henry
Carlos Gonzalez sat inside the Colorado Rockies locker room at their spring training facility in Scottsdale, Ariz., on Monday morning. Nearby, the locker of Nolan Arenado was quiet. Arenado was already on his way to join his Team USA counterparts for the World Baseball Classic. Later in the day, Gonzalez would start his journey toward Team Venezuela.
It’s an opportunity to represent his home country in the World Baseball Classic and it’s an opportunity that Gonzalez relishes.
“If you play on our side, it’s a little bit different than a playoff game,” Gonzalez said. “The Latin culture is so different than the one here. You will see a lot of noise in the stands. People playing music during the game. People dancing during the game. Singing songs like it’s a soccer game. It’s cool. It’s how we grew up. It’s how we play in winter ball. It’s something that takes you back. You don’t have the opportunity to play in winter ball any more so it takes you back to those days when you were a prospect coming up in the system. It’s a good feeling.”
This will be CarGo’s second time playing in the WBC for Venezuela following his debut in 2013. He said he’s taking lessons about preparation and patriotism into this year’s Classic.
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“I learned it’s a really tough tournament,” CarGo said. “I don’t care how hard you work in the offseason. You will never be 100 percent. It’s so short. You don’t have a lot of time to prepare and you don’t see a lot of pitches before to do that. It’s tough but at the same time, it’s a lot of fun.
“You feel proud about representing your country and listening to the national anthem. You see the people in the stands waving their flags. You get to play with the best players from your nation. It’s an opportunity you don’t see very often. A lot of times, you’re playing against the best players in your country, not on the same team. Having everyone on the same team is like an All-Star Game with your country’s talent.”
Venezuela begins play in Pool D on March 10 against Puerto Rico in Jalisco, Mexico. Joining those two countries in Pool D are Italy and the host country, Mexico. You can see the complete WBC schedule by clicking here.
“It’s a great chance for us to get ready early,” CarGo said. “Having a chance to play in the WBC changes your mind a little bit. You don’t have two months to get ready for the regular season. You have to be ready for the big tournament. You’re representing your country. It’s a lot of responsibility and a lot of excitement. I can’t wait to do it.”
Gonzalez said he had some words of advice for Arenado, who will be playing for Team USA in his first World Baseball Classic.
“I told him to have fun,” Gonzalez smiled. “It’s a great opportunity. It’s like playing in the All-Star Game but with more responsibility. Your only responsibility in the All-Star Game is to look good and try to get that home field advantage if your team gets a chance to be there (in the World Series). This is a different thing. Play with your heart. That’s all you need to do.
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“Sometimes you have a good day and then a bad day. You can carry that to World Baseball Classic and say you’re not ready. Nah, it’s in your heart. Go celebrate. Go play hard. A lot of good things are going to happen. He’s a talented player. I think he’s going to do really well for the U.S.”