Daily Distractions: Picking a new WBC favorite; Cactus League attendance down; Mike Piazza ads.

WBC logoI started toying with this mental exercise last night: What if the state of California had a team in the World Baseball Classic?

Forget about how many players would decline invitations. Forget about generational eligibility — if you were born in California, you’re eligible (which is fine, since I had a better chance of making Team Wisconsin anyways). What would that team look like? Could it contend?

The answer is yes.

C: John Jaso, Mariners/Rod Barajas, Diamondbacks
1B: Adrian Gonzalez, Dodgers
2B: Aaron Hill, Diamondbacks
SS: Jimmy Rollins, Phillies
3B: Ty Wigginton, Cardinals
LF: Ryan Braun, Brewers
CF: Coco Crisp, A’s
RF: Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins
DH: Prince Fielder, Tigers
UT: Skip Schumaker, Dodgers

SP: Jered Weaver, Angels
SP: CC Sabathia, Yankees
SP: James Shields, Royals
SP: Cole Hamels, Phillies
SP: Stephen Strasburg, Nationals
RP: Sergio Romo, Giants
RP: Brandon League, Dodgers
RP: Addison Reed, White Sox
RP: Dale Thayer, Padres
RP: J.P. Howell, Dodgers
RP: Bryan Shaw, Diamondbacks
RP: Kris Medlen, Braves

Manager: Dusty Baker, Reds
Hitting coach: Mark McGwire, Dodgers
Pitching coach: Chris Bosio, Cubs

Apologies to C.J. Wilson, Mark Trumbo, Michael Young, Will Venable, Brandon McCarthy, Kyle Lohse, Mike Moustakas and Carlos Quentin. Perhaps you can dig into your family tree and find another state to play for.

On to some bullet points:

• More than 1,400 players, coaches and managers from all 30 MLB teams collectively pledged a record donation of $2,457,710 to the Baseball Assistance Team (B.A.T.) during the organization’s 11th annual Spring Training Fundraising Tour to raise money for members of the “Baseball Family” in need of assistance.

• Cactus League attendance is down one-third from last year, according to a front-page story in today’s Arizona Republic.

• Every Mike Piazza commercial you (n)ever wanted to see here.

• Happy birthday to Raul Mondesi (42), Steve Finley (48), Darryl Strawberry (51) and Dale Murphy (57).

• Loyal Daily News reader Don Newcombe, A.J. Ellis and Brandon League are the “Dodger Days” autograph signing participants May 11 at Hall of Fame Sports and Collectibles in San Dimas.

Manny Ramirez‘s salary in Taiwan is one-one hundredth of what he made during his MLB peak.

• Thee Oh Sees are from San Francisco, not Orange County, but we won’t hold that against them today:

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