Penn guy Mark DeRosa to manage USA
SAN DIEGO -- Next year's World Baseball Classic will have a Philly connection as Penn graduate Mark DeRosa will manage the United States. 

DeRosa, a Passiac, NJ native, was a dual sport star with the Quakers in the mid-1990s playing quarterback on the gridiron while playing shortstop on the diamond. 

"You talk about competing; I knew every time I walked into a classroom I was undermanned," DeRosa said Tuesday with a laugh. "I always had visions of playing in the Majors, but in case it didn't happen, I wanted to put myself in the best position to be successful after college." 

DeRosa was drafted by Atlanta in the seventh round of the 1996 draft and pieced together several solid seasons over a 16-year Major League career with eight teams. His upbeat personality and knowledge of the game landed him a studio analyst gig with the MLB Network upon retirement, and he's been there ever since. 

He's damn good at it, too. 

"They don't put your GPA on the resume, or at least back then they didn't," DeRosa said with a smile. 

DeRosa was a member of Team USA in the 2009 WBC, helping lead America to its first semifinal appearance in the event. He appeared in all eight games, hit .316 with a double, triple, and a home run, and led the team with nine RBIs. 

He's now in charge of a roster including superstars such as Mike Trout, Trea Turner, Mookie Betts, and J.T. Realmuto, and the list continues to grow. 

"It's been a trickle down effect," DeRosa said. "Trout and [Bryce] Harper have been on a parallel track their entire career dating back to the draft, and they wanted to be together in the locker room. From Harper it trickled to Mookie, and then from Mookie it's snowballed a bit from a position player perspective." 

Team USA will begin its WBC title defense as part of Pool C in Phoenix, Arizona, from March 11-15, facing Canada, Colombia, Mexico, and Great Britain. 

The quarterfinals will begin March 17 in Miami, with the championship on March 21. 

"I will do my best to not mess up and I'll follow the parent clubs as to how they want their players used, but guys have to hit, field, and pitch strikes," DeRosa said with a chuckle. "It's not going to be easy because there are some really good clubs out there." 

The Phillies are well represented on Team USA with Realmuto, Turner, and Kyle Schwarber all set to wear the red, white, and blue. Harper had planned on participating, but offseason surgery means he'll miss the tournament.

As for DeRosa, the enjoyment of being around baseball continues to drive him everyday.  

"I have a love for the game and a love for the players, everybody has a different story of how they got to the big leagues. I just want to be a part of it," DeRosa said.
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