Every day I see you
Every day I need you
Every way I breathe you
On and on and on and on again
Everyone’s mocking it and making fun of it, but if you’ve been missing the World Baseball Classic you’re missing out on some spectacular baseball. Although ESPN is covering a couple games they’re also missing out on some incredible stories and top notch games.
Venezuela Vs. Dominican Republic
This game had more requests for press credentials than the Superbowl. Players in this game were told to not over extend themselves and risk injury to jeopardize their ‘06 season, but that quickly fell on deaf ears.
The Dominicans had lineup of Alfonso Soriano, Miguel Tejada, Albert Pujols, David Ortiz and they didn’t play like all stars. Oh no, All Stars are just happy to be at the game and they really don’t give it their all.
These guys were playing for their country and they fuckin WANT. TO. WIN!
So the Dominicans have it right? Well, the only way to silence that kind of hitting is through pitching. Venezuela has that with Santana, Freddy Garcia, Carlos Silva, and Carlos Zambrano just to name a few. It was almost as if Venezuela was meant to play the Dominicans by the sheer matchup.
Then there’s the fans. I have never seen--not even in any world series game-- a crowd more passionate and crazy like this crowd in Florida. Like Carlos Silva said,
“If there’s 25 million people in Venezuela, 24 million will be watching.” and it certainly seemed like it on Tuesday. After every pitch one particular guy behind home plate would stand up and criticize or praise the call. The fans were in on every damn pitch!
Santana had the start and he actually pitched pretty well against the Dominican juggernaut lineup, but the Dominicans prevailed in the win. Even though Venezuela lost the game 11-5 it was actually closer than that. All the fans stayed until the very end when the Dominicans fans and players danced and waved the Dominican flag.
That’s right, the Dominicans bursting at the seems with the best major league talent was dancing and waving their flag! unbelievable.
South Africa Vs. Canada
Then in the night time game of South Africa Vs. Canada one of the biggest upsets I have ever seen was 3 outs away from happening.
South Africa was a team much like the Jamaican bobsled team in that they really had no reason to be playing because their best players are single A minor leaguers the rest are amateurs in their teens. In fact the South Africans only had 2 legitimate pitchers on their club, one being the starting pitcher.
Canada was a team with not the best major league talent, but it was major league quality hitting and pitching.
The announcers were SURE that the game would end using the mercy rule, which was seemingly established for teams like South Africa.
Bottom line: South Africa was meant to lose. No doubt about it.
If that was bad enough, Canada even had their best starter pitching in the game just so he could pitch, win, and have enough rest to play their third game which would probably be the game to advance into the 2nd round. They certainly didn’t expect to beat the US team the next day, so why waste a starter?
It wasn’t that easy. South Africa was very impressive and they led for a good part of that game. Minor league hopefuls were legitimately beating major leaguers. Canada had the lead in the bottom of the eighth when South Africa cleaned the bases with a double to take the lead.
Now was the top of the ninth and all South African needed was three outs. Three outs away from the biggest baseball upset ever. They really didn’t have a pitcher so they threw out…someone out to the mound.
They couldn’t do it but it was impressive nonetheless. Hell, it was just impressive that South Africa made the whole 9 innings without the mercy rule coming into effect.
US Vs. Canada
After Canada’s near upset they had to play the US team full of all star major league talent. This was almost a talent difference similar to South Africa and Canada. Canada even started their “throw away starter” just because they didn’t think they could win and they wanted to save their good starter for the next day. This throw away pitcher was just a single A minor leaguer and he’s pitching against Griffey Jr., Jeter, Derrick Lee, Texiera, and Jason Varitek.
Unbelievably, this single A pitcher pitched 3.2 scoreless, 3 hit innings to lead Canada over the US. Who knows if the US team was trying (it certainly looked like they were) but it’s just embarrassing to lose to Canada with those lineups.
Canada, the same team that nearly lost to the South African Amateurs, beat the US team.
Really, if you’ve been ignoring the WBC because “it sounds stupid” or “ you don’t know anyone” or “everyone else has been making fun of it” you’re really missing out.
These games were only in the first two days. There’s a couple more rounds to go and there is a chance that Venezuela and Dominican Republic will face off again.
If that’s the case, drop whatever you are doing, and watch that game.