Second in a series of World Baseball Classic retrospectives.
ANAHEIM, Calif. – With David Ortiz hanging up his spikes, Robinsón Canó joins Mariners’ teammate Nelson Cruz as the veteran faces of the Dominican Republic. Canó began that transition four years ago in the World Baseball Classic when he was named Tournament MVP after a sensational .469/.514/.781 effort as he led the Caribbean nation to the title.
In the recently concluded 2017 Classic, Canó had another strong performance, hitting .300 with a .981 OPS, but the Dominican Republic lost 6-3 to eventual champions USA in the last game of Round 2. The Dominican captain has 24 hits and a .369 average in three WBCs, and is an .306 hitter in 13 seasons.
We spoke to him in our latest episode of World Baseball Classic Retrospectives after the Angels completed an improbable seven-run rally to beat Canó’s Mariners last Sunday. For those who prefer audio, it is available here.
Gabriel Fidler: This is Gabriel Fidler here with Extra Innings, we’re here talking to Robinsón Canó about the World Baseball Classic. Could you reflect generally about your time in the Classic this year?
Robinsón Canó: It was a good time. The Classic is always fun. I really enjoyed it, hanging out with the guys.
GF: It’s not your first Classic, by any means. I think everyone is familiar with your exploits in 2013. Can you talk about the difference in the preparation, the team, the expectations, the fans this time around?
RC: It was no different. I would say the only
thing that changed was that we didn’t win. It was fun again, being with the guys. I really enjoyed it and had a good time.
GF: This year on the Mariners, you team up with a young Dominican [Jean Segura] and you’ve got Edwin Díaz, so you have the next generation of Dominican Republic players and you’re an established veteran. What responsibility do you feel to mentor them?
RC: I don’t think there’s a responsibility for me, but I’m always willing to help whoever wants advice. I’m always going to be there for the young guys.
GF: Do you feel like having so many Dominicans in the Mariners clubhouse that you have a special bond and you draw on your shared experience together?
RC: It’s always good. It’s always good to have Latinos on the team, people that speak the same language. But here, we have a good team and good chemistry, and we all get along.
GF: Do you think that playing alongside Segura in the World Baseball Classic helped your preparations for the seasons as double play partners?
RC: Honestly, no. We practiced together in the offseason so we were turning double plays back home and taking them both together.
GF: What do you feel going forward for the next World Baseball Classic in 2021, what do you think the expectations will be, what do you think the feeling of the team will be?
RC: I don’t know yet. I don’t know if I’m going. It’s four more years for that. Just focus on the Mariners right now and try to win here.
GF: If you’re healthy and offered would you play one more time?
RC: I don’t know yet, I haven’t decided.
GF: Thank you very much, I really appreciate it.
RC: You’re welcome.
Stay tuned for further conversations on the World Baseball Classic with Nelson Cruz, Sergio Romo, Martín Pérez, Jhoulys Chacín, Robinsón Chirinos, and J.C. Ramirez.
Past 2017 World Baseball Classic Retrospectives include:
Robinsón Canó on the World Baseball Classic: “It’s Always Fun”
Jansen on Baseball in Curaçao: “I Never Stop Helping”
Segura on Playing for Dominican: “The Best Emotion You’ll Ever Have”
All photos copyright Gabriel Fidler 2017.