National Det Joins National Team
It’s been one heck of an offseason for Ross Detwiler. That trend continued Tuesday, as the Nationals starter was extended and accepted an invitation to pitch for Team USA in this year’s World Baseball Classic.
“The little kid in me wanted to say yes right away, without thinking it through,” said Detwiler, who immediately took the offer to manager Davey Johnson and pitching coach Steve McCatty to get their nod of approval.
Both coaches encouraged his participation. Nationals EVP of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo also spoke Tuesday, throwing his support behind Detwiler’s decision to play.
“This will be a good step in Ross’ developmental curve,” Rizzo explained. “These kinds of opportunities don’t come along very often, and we think it’s vitally important that Team USA is well represented.”
This will not be Detwiler’s first stint in a Team USA jersey, as he also pitched as an amateur for the 2006 squad that won the championship in Cuba. He said that his ring from that tournament still rests on his nightstand at his offseason home in the St. Louis suburbs as one of his proudest career accomplishments.
Ever since his strong performance in Game 4 of the NLDS last October, the left-handed starter has been whisked in one direction, then another, his life a whirlwind of activity. First, the 26-year-old married his college sweetheart Keri on December 1 and the two took to Hawaii for their honeymoon. However, before they could even return from that trip, the next big event in Detwiler’s life presented itself.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin E. Dempsey – who had met Detwiler when he threw out ceremonial first pitches twice during the 2012 season – personally invited the pitcher on his USO holiday tour. Faced with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, Detwiler jumped at the chance, departing the warm, sunny beaches of Hawaii for the war-torn middle east.
As the calendar flipped to January, Detwiler’s newly minted Twitter handle earned the nod as the most creative in baseball. Now, just as he was settling into his first week of Spring Training, the opportunity to represent his country has come knocking once more.
Detwiler compared the honor of the USO and Team USA invitations, joking that perhaps the highlights of his year were coming a little earlier than he expected.
“I feel like I’m peaking a little early,” he joked. “But it’s kind of the same feeling, being able to wear ‘USA’ across my chest and represent my country.”
Detwiler will join Team USA in Arizona for the first round of games in the first week of March.