Chris Archer

Combining sports and politics is sometimes a necessary evil that leads some to shout from the top of the mountaintop to “stick to sports,” but with the start of another World Baseball Classic, the importance of wearing a Team USA jersey carries some extra meaning for some this season, including Tampa Bay Rays starter Chris Archer.

Archer commented on the honor he feels to wear the United States jersey during the baseball tournament, commenting on the current state of the nation.

“Given the timing and the circumstances of our country,” Archer said. “I think it’s a great opportunity for us, temporarily, to show we are united, regardless of the turmoil and things going on here and other places in the world. So it’s always been a dream. And what’s going on in the country right now makes it even better.”

Archer is hardly the first professional athlete to raise his or her concerns about the current state of the nation, with President Donald Trump continuing to generate controversy with his decisions and comments, and even more controversy seeming to pop up every way you turn with regard to other political leaders.

Archer went on to say there is a unique sense of pride in being a part of the United States baseball team, as it is one of the most diverse groups of players you will find in the World Baseball Classic.

“Just that we are all unified, at least in my opinion. And it is a beautiful country of diversity and freedom and a lot of other things that other countries don’t have,” Archer explained. “So for this moment in time, for this next two weeks, we’re going to put on this jersey with pride and show we’re diverse, we’re united, and what USA is really all about.”

What would really help is if the United States could actually play well in the World Baseball Classic. The USA has yet to medal in the international tournament in any of the three years the tournament has been played. The United States finished in fourth place just once, in 2009 with a loss to Venezuela in a consolation game between semifinalists.

[ESPN]

About Kevin McGuire

Contributor to NBCSports.com's College Football Talk, Athlon Sports and The Comeback. Host of the No 2-Minute Warning Podcast on iTunes, Stitcher Radio and iHeart Radio. FWAA member and Philadelphia-area resident.