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Will Playing in the WBC Help or Hurt Adam Jones’ 2013 MLB Season?

Playing in the World Baseball Classic every three or four years for your respective country is a great honor that every major league ballplayer has to have in the back of his mind. 

This March, the third annual World Baseball Classic will take place. Spring training begins on March 1 for the Orioles, and the first game of the WBC is on March 8.

The Birds’ center fielder and team leader, Adam Jones, will be representing team USA, reliever Luis Ayala will be playing for Mexico, reliever Pedro Strop will sport the Dominican Republic colors and Jonathan Schoop will be on the Netherlands squad.

Last season, Jones broke out the home run bat and belted a career-high 32 long shots. He was leading the team until Chris Davis jumped one in front with seven home runs in the final week of the season.

Although he failed to set a career mark in RBI, the former Mariner drove in 82 runs—one shy of his career high, which he posted the year before. He finished the season batting at a very respectable .287 average, which was another career mark. The previous season, he tapered off towards the end of the year and finished at a .280 clip.

The question this week is whether playing in the WBC will be detrimental or helpful to begin the season. I think it could be very helpful for Jones to play with a new squad and see new looks on the mound. But there are also a couple of negative aspects of playing in this tournament

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Four Keys to Baltimore Orioles Building a Perennial Contender Under Showalter

Critics and even many fans counted the Baltimore Orioles out of the 2012 playoff race from the get go. And, really, who wouldn’t blame them?

I know I didn’t expect the Orioles to advance to the postseason. I just was hoping for a winning record for the first time since 1997.

After 14 consecutive disappointing losing seasons with a revolving door of sub-par managers in the history books, the Birds finally were able to put together a strong core of young, talented players. The only problem last season was their experience level—they could not handle the pressure that comes with the postseason.

However, as the months and years progress, I’m sure they will be more adept and learn how to win as a team and advance further in the playoffs.

Even though the Birds forced the nail-biting Game 5 against the always tough New York Yankees this past October, critics still believe that this season was a fluke and they won’t be able to build and grow. They don’t think the Orioles have a shot next year because of their recent history of bad decision-making and struggles.

But, if Buck Showalter and Dan Duquette have anything to do with that, the Birds will be just as much a contender next season, if not even better.

I’ve compiled a list of the top four keys to the Baltimore Orioles building a perennial contender under the leadership of Buck Showalter.

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