The World Baseball Classic (WBC) provides an opportunity for players who wouldn’t be called to play for their native countries under normal circumstances to feature for other nations.
This was the case of Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Austin Barnes.
Barnes was born on December 28, 1989, in Riverside, California.
His parents are Dennis and Stephanie Barnes.
The latter is Mexican-American, which gives him eligibility to play for the Mexican national baseball team.
That’s precisely what Barnes is doing, together with fellow Dodger Julio Urias.
Some Dodgers players are currently with Team USA in the Classic, most notably Mookie Betts and catcher Will Smith.
Barnes and Smith were the primary actors in one of the weirdest moments in WBC history.
“Dodgers catcher Austin Barnes stealing a base on Dodgers catcher Will Smith is something I’m sure will never come up in that clubhouse,” MLB insider Chelsea Janes tweeted.
Dodgers catcher Austin Barnes stealing a base on Dodgers catcher Will Smith is something I’m sure will never come up in that clubhouse
— Chelsea Janes (@chelsea_janes) March 13, 2023
Yup, that’s right: catchers other than J.T. Realmuto are actually allowed to steal bases!
All kidding aside, Barnes must have caught Smith off guard because the latter is a plus defensive catcher with a good arm.
Barnes does have 18 career steals in MLB, though, so he is not one of the slowest out there.
Mexico stunned Team USA on Sunday and Pool C of the Classic is very much undecided.
Both teams are 1-1, with important games to play.
Colombia and Canada are also playing well, so there is a chance one or both between Mexico and United States are eliminated in the group stage.
That would certainly be shocking, but both countries still have their destiny in their own hands.NEXT: Mookie Betts Clearly Enjoys His Newfound Defensive Flexibility