From The Arizona Republic:
Major names aim for Classic
Joseph A. Reaves
The Arizona Republic
Dec. 6, 2005 12:00 AM
[Roger] Clemens was one of 177 players from all 30 major league clubs who formally announced Monday they wanted to represent their countries in the biggest, most-prestigious international baseball tournament ever staged.
Some key major leaguers had tough decisions to make because tournament rules allow players to compete for any country that would grant them a passport.
Craig Biggio, John Smoltz and Mike Piazza, for example, all have enough Italian ancestry to qualify for Italian passports. Biggio and Smoltz asked to play for the United States. Piazza opted for Italy.
Gene Orza, chief operating officer of the players union, said Piazza came to him and wanted to know what would be best for international baseball - if he played for Italy or the United States?
Orza, who is of Italian descent himself, said when he suggested that Piazza's presence might help make the Italian team more competitive, the Pennsylvania-born catcher told him: "All right, I'm signing up for Italy."
[Read the whole story]