« Home | World Baseball Classic: The Empire Strikes Back » | World Baseball Classic - Will the Empire Strike Ba... » | Back from Phoenix » | World Baseball Classic » | World Baseball Classic » | I'm so happy so happy » | Off the Screen for a while » | Mardi Gras, New Orleans 2006 » | WTC- 13th Anniversary of 1993 Bombing » | Bode Miller, Flop »

Japan Wins World Baseball Classic


Well, actually they won it this past Monday, beating Cuba 10-6. I did predict it...and I don't know why. I tend to make my prognostications with my heart rather than with my head, and I had started to root for Japan mid-tournament, and that, more than any insights probably made me pick them.

I liked them because--they had suffered two bad calls by the American umpires that really hurt them, and were much more gracious than US players would have been under the circumstances.

I liked them because the great Sadaharu Oh was their imperturbable manager.

And I did feel bad for them when the Korean team beat them twice in a row, and then ran riot over the field, waving their flag over the field, planting it on the pitchers mound, something noone had ever done before. It was too much.

The Japanese lucked out when Mexico beat the US, which gave them new life. Allowed into the semifinals by good fortune, they beat Korea, then the mighty Cubans.

The final was a bit of a blowout, which was a surprise.

I watched the final game in a hotel bar in Jupiter, Florida. Most Americans had a very lukewarm interest at best in this competition, but to me it was as important as a Super Bowl. I was bitten by the international bug.

I was very happy to see the Cubans line up to shake hands with the Japanese at the end of the game. That was a classy gesture. NHL players do that at the end of a championship game, and I could never understand why baseball players didn't do some version of this gracious act of congratulations.

This was the first WBC tournament, and I think it can only be ruled an immense success. I heard that the final game drew 50% of the tv audience in Japan. The interest in Asia in general was very strong, as it was in the Caribbean, and in the rest of the world it was as big, or bigger than expected.

This was the first big time international baseball tournament, and it can only be ruled a great success. Good job.

---


I think that the individual player who impressed the most was the great Japanese outfielder >Ichiro Suzuki. This catlike, graceful athlete could have blown off the tournament like most US players and as his countryman Hideki Matsui did. But Ichiro leaped at the chance to play for the country. He arrived at camp early, trained hard, and played well throughout the tournament. I raise my sake glass to you, Ichiro-san.

I was very happy to see the Cubans line up to shake hands with the Japanese at the end of the game. That was a classy gesture. NHL players do that at the end of a championship game, and I could never understand why baseball players didn't do some version of this gracious act of congratulations.

Do you remember when Larry Walker (a Canadian) organized that one year after a playoff series? The baseball authorities were all over him AND you had loads of old timers talking about what a disgrace it is.

Yet, most sports at least acknowledge the other team when a big series (or single game playoff) ends. In basketball & football the teams shake hands, if less formally than in hockey. In European soccer they trade shirts!

I'm pretty sure they have a formal "shake hands" in college baseball. I'm not sure why this can't be done in Major League Baseball.

And I did feel bad for them when the Korean team beat them twice in a row, and then ran riot over the field, waving their flag over the field, planting it on the pitchers mound, something noone had ever done before. It was too much.

Wasn't this a reaction to what Oh & Ichiro had said about Korean baseball before the tournament?

I was not aware of that incident. Intriguing...will look into that. I liked Larry Walker.

--Wasn't this a reaction to what Oh & Ichiro had said about Korean baseball before the tournament? --

I don't know. I know what Ichiro said ( that he didn't want/expect the Koreans/Taiwanese to compete for another 30 years...but what did Oh say?

But regardless of what was said...I don't like that type of nationalistic display. A more classy display by the Koreans would have gone over better...and wouldn't have inflamed the Japanese as much. They woke 'em up. Bad move.

Another thing I did not like about the what the Korean GOVT did...is to put the carrot of a military service exemption in front of the players if they got to the quarterfinals, which of course they did. I found that repulsive, and think that sort of thing should be banned.

I'm not crazy about nationalism in sports to begin with, but to have the entire team faced with three years of hard time if the shortstop makes an error is disgusting.

That having been said,the success of Korea heightened the profile of baseball in Asia big time, and I am all for that.

You can read about the handshake here.

Post a Comment

Links to this post

Create a Link