ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Manny Machado has decided to play for the Dominican Republic in next March’s World Baseball Classic.
The news first reported by Enrique Rojas of ESPNdeportes, was confirmed by Machado on Wednesday.
“It’s a great experience. It’s a great tournament, so I always wanted to be a part of it, always wanted to represent our country. I always wanted to play for the Dominican. I’m just going to enjoy every moment of it, I’m going to try to represent the country and just enjoy myself overall,” Machado said.
Even though the 23-year-old Machado was born in Miami, he’s playin for the Dominican Republic to pay back his family for their support.
“It’s something that everybody enjoys, to play for our country and represent where I came from, where my family came from. It’s going to be something that’s pretty cool.”
Machado said that he’s played for U.S. teams in the past.
“This is something beyond that. I think it’s something that growing up, that my family always wanted [to see] -- my mom and my grandfather, who is resting in peace right now, he always wanted to see me play for the Dominican,” Machado said.
“That’s where we come from. That’s where my family was born. I think this is more doing this for my mom and my family 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 be fun for me. We’re just going to enjoy it and hopefully things go well and they’re finally going to get their wish.”
The Dominican Republic won the tournament in 2013. Four years ago, Adam Jones played for the Team USA and Machado’s close friend, Jonathan Schoop, a native of Curacao, played for the Netherlands.
“This is not just for me. It’s mostly for my grandfather and my parents. I know they’ve always wanted this. I know I’ve given them a lot and this is probably going to be the icing on the cake for them to for be in the uniform across the chest is where they were born and where they spent their lives. It’s going to be pretty cool, and I get to beat Jonathan Schoop, too,” Machado said.