WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — Cedric Mullins will represent more than the Orioles next year.
The Baltimore outfielder announced he will represent the United States in the World Baseball Classic while he was mic’d up during the eighth inning of Sunday night’s Little League Classic.
“I was definitely just surprised,” Mullins said, detailing how he was called into manager Brandon Hyde’s office this week with executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias. “Didn’t know what was going on. They just kind of told me, ‘Hey, Team USA is interested in you. What’s your interest in playing?’”
Mullins didn’t need any time to ponder his decision.
“It was an automatic yes,” Mullins said. “A once-in-a-lifetime experience in my opinion and something I wanted to jump on.”
The World Baseball Classic will take place in March 2023, with the championship game scheduled for March 21 at LoanDepot Park in Miami. The four hosts cities are Miami, Phoenix, Taichung and Tokyo.
Mullins joins a roster that features Los Angeles Angels star Mike Trout and St Louis Cardinals duo Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado. Before Mullins’ announcement, just seven players were confirmed for the team. The other four are Boston Red Sox infielder Trevor Story, Philadelphia Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto and outfielder Bryce Harper and New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso.
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Former major leaguer Mark DeRosa was announced this week as Team USA’s manager as he looks to lead the U.S. to a second straight World Baseball Classic championship in his managerial debut.
On that 2017 championship roster, outfielder Adam Jones and reliever Mychal Givens were Baltimore’s representatives, and Jones made a highlight-reel play by robbing Orioles teammate Manny Machado of a home run.
“That’s the only memory of the WBC I can recall from when he played in it,” Mullins said. “Just knowing the energy that was there that day, just excited to be a part of it.”
Jones also featured on the roster in 2013, when the U.S. was eliminated in the second round.
Mullins hasn’t reached the heights of last season, when he became the first Oriole to join the 30-homer, 30-stolen base club. Mullins entered Sunday with 25 steals and 11 homers as well as a .733 OPS.
But before the 2023 season begins with Baltimore, Mullins will represent his country on the world’s stage.
“It’s just an honor. The entire country on your back,” Mullins said. “It’s just one of those things you’re never going to forget.”