Playing for the Dominican Republic is a way for Orioles third baseman Manny Machado to pay back his family for all of its support."It's something that everybody enjoys, to play for our country and represent where I came from, where my family came from," said Machado, who was born and
Playing for the Dominican Republic is a way for Orioles third baseman Manny Machado to pay back his family for all of its support.
"It's something that everybody enjoys, to play for our country and represent where I came from, where my family came from," said Machado, who was born and raised in Miami but has many familial ties to the Dominican. "It's going to be pretty cool."
Machado, just 24 years old, is considered to be one of the best young players in the Major Leagues. Already a three-time All-Star, he owns two Gold Glove Awards and is coming off a 2016 season in which he posted a .294/.343/.533 slash line with 37 homers and 96 RBIs in 157 games.
:: 2017 World Baseball Classic ::
The third baseman, who capped his career year with a fifth-place finish in American League MVP Award voting, is planning to just enjoy being part of the World Baseball Classic. His family is sure to enjoy it as well.
"I think it's something that my family always wanted [to see]," Machado said. "My mom and my grandfather, who is resting in peace, he always wanted to see me play for the Dominican. That's where we come from. That's where my family was born. I think I am doing this for my mom and my family more than anything else. I know they want to see me wear that uniform and see me out there. So it's going to be fun for them and for me.
"I know I've given them a lot, and this is probably going to be the icing on the cake for them, to [see the country] where they were born and where they spent their lives on the uniform across the chest."
The Dominican Republic won the World Baseball Classic in 2013, and this year, Machado will represent his roots against O's teammates Adam Jones (Team USA) and Jonathan Schoop (Team Netherlands) -- his close friend with whom he has a playful rivalry.
"It's going to be pretty cool," Machado said. "And I get to beat Jonathan Schoop, too."
The Orioles' first-round pick in the 2010 Draft, Machado will be entering his sixth season in 2017. He is under team control through '18, and he has already been predicted to earn a record-breaking contract, should he get to free agency. But during the Classic, the spirit of community is the only currency Machado needs.
The World Baseball Classic runs from March 6-22. In the U.S., games will air live exclusively in English on MLB Network and on an authenticated basis via MLBNetwork.com/watch, while ESPN Deportes and WatchESPN will provide the exclusive Spanish-language coverage. MLB.TV Premium subscribers in the U.S. will have access to watch every tournament game live on any of the streaming service's 400-plus supported devices. Internationally, the tournament will be distributed across all forms of television, internet, mobile and radio in territories excluding the U.S., Puerto Rico and Japan. Get tickets for games at Marlins Park, Tokyo Dome, Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul, Estadio Charros de Jalisco in Mexico, Petco Park, as well as the Championship Round at Dodger Stadium, while complete coverage -- including schedules, video, stats and gear -- is available at WorldBaseballClassic.com.
Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.