Marcus Stroman is scheduled to take the mound for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic final against Puerto Rico Wednesday night in Los Angeles.
The Long Island native, however, almost ended up on the other team.
Stroman nearly chose to pitch for Puerto Rico to honor his mother, Adlin Auffant, who was born there. He even tweeted on Sept. 13, 2013: “Hopefully have the chance to represent my mom @aya11763 and Puerto Rico in the next World Baseball Classic! That would be unreal. #latinoboy”
But Stroman, who won both the Yastrzemski and Gibson Awards at Patchogue-Medford High School and now is the Blue Jays’ ace, opted in December 2016 to pitch for Team USA, which set him on the path to Wednesday night’s championship game.
While Stroman told Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal that Auffant was “100 percent” behind his decision, that didn’t stop the backlash from Puerto Rico fans toward both of them.
“I know a lot of people have been saying bad things to her, going through the process, on social media,” Stroman told Rosenthal after Team USA’s 2-1 victory over Japan in Tuesday night’s semifinal. “That’s my mother. I stand by her always. She supports me through everything. I don’t respect some of the comments that were made toward my mother.”
Stroman, who took the loss in Team USA’s second-round game against Puerto Rico, wouldn’t say if the comments would be used as motivation, only offering Rosenthal the following:
“I’m really excited to pitch. I’m ready to go.”