World Baseball Classic - Will the Empire Strike Back?
Koreans plant flag on the pitchers mound after beating Japan.
The first baseball classic has only two games to go. It has been an enormous success so far.
Pool One started out with the USA, Mexico, Korea and Japan.
The USA proved to be the flop of the competition. They beat Japan with the help of a bad call from an umpire, then lost to Korea, and then, with their survival on the line, lost again to Mexico.
Mexico bowed out, but at least will be consoled by the fact that they knocked the USA out.
Japan, like the USA, lost two out of three, but they advanced because they allowed fewer runs to score than the USA. I am happy that they went ahead, because they probably lost the USA game due to a bad call.
Korea continued to astonish, winning three and losing none. They beat archrival Japan for the second time, seemingly eliminating their ancient enemy. Then they paraded around the stadium with the Korean flag, and planted the flag on the pitchers mound. I don't like this type of chauvinism. It deeply offended the Japanese. It was not cool.
Puerto Rico and Venezuela are out.
Earlier today, Cuba played the Dominican Republic to decide who advances out of this pool. I watched most of this game. The Cubans, behind great pitching from sneaky starter Yadel Marti and fireballing reliever Pedro Lazo, shut down the mighty Dominicans.
The Dominicans had lots of power hitters from the US Major Leagues, but good pitching stops good hitting, a cliche that gets proven every season.
Its an embarrassment for the US govt to see the Cubans do so well on US soil. I hold no brief for Castro's personal dictatorship, but the Cubans deserved to compete and they've won fair and square.
So, the championship game will be between Cuba and whoever wins the Korea - Japan game. Who do I want to win that game? Japan. The Koreans were a little too proud after that last win over the Japanese. They thought the Japanese were dead, and they did a little jig on the grave, before they pissed on it like a bunch of drunk high school punks.
Well, the Japanese crawled out of the grave, and tonight, the Empire will strike back as the Japanese win 4-1.