United States second baseman Ian Kinsler # 3 is welcomed back to the dugout after hitting a two run homer in the World Baseball Classic final at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on March 22, 2017. Team USA defeated Team Puerto Rico 8-0 in the championship game to win the 2017 World Baseball Classic. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo
Detroit Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler told ESPN that "everyone should be celebrated" after his two-run homer ignited Team USA to an 8-0 victory over Puerto Rico in the championship game of the World Baseball Classic.
Kinsler's comments on Wednesday came one day after his quote to the New York Times regarding the passionate play of Latin American teams drew criticism over social media.
The 34-year-old was asked about what the American team reaching the title game would do for popularity of the World Baseball Classic in the United States.
"I hope kids watching the WBC can watch the way we play the game and appreciate the way we play the game as opposed to the way Puerto Rico plays or the Dominican plays," Kinsler said. "That's not taking anything away from them. That just wasn't the way we were raised. They were raised differently and to show emotion and passion when you play. We do show emotion; we do show passion. But we just do it in a different way."
Kinsler elaborated on his view Wednesday, admitting that flair and style are positive for the game.
"What I said was that American kids can watch American players play, Puerto Rican kids can watch Puerto Rican players play, Venezuelan kids can watch Venezuelan guys play, and that's who they emulate," Kinsler said. "That's who they watch. That's who they want to be like. There's nothing wrong with an American kid watching a Puerto Rican player and wanting to be like them, or a Puerto Rican kid watching an American player and wanting to play that way.
"You should play the way you want, and the way you feel will put you in the best position to win -- the way you feel the best and perform the best. Everybody is different. I play differently than a lot of my teammates on this team; I play with a little more emotion than most players during the season. Everybody has their own style! That's all I was saying."
Kinsler rounds the bases after hitting a two run homer in the World Baseball Classic final at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on March 22, 2017. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI