Friday, March 17

Viva Mexico!


Seriously, Mexico beat America. Little tiny Mexico, with their little antique ways and disappearing natural resources, home of Sammy Hagar's tequila factory and the hottest Spring Break spot this side of Tucson, kicked those high-paid, hair salon-frequenting gringo asses!

Mexico won the old-fashioned way, using their technical brilliance: by figuring out how to make Vernon Wells ground into double-plays. El Rocket was bien, and he sure made California Jr. work hard for their runs [the umps made them work even harder - that shot by Valenzuela down the right field line was a goddamn home run, end of story], but when he reached that pitch count.... dios mio, man. USA South took advantage -- Jorge Cantu bringing home the puerco with those RBIs. And now, Mexico get nothing in reward, except a fresh dose of national pride, and the ability to enjoy sweet revenge. This one's for San Jacinto, motherfuckers!


What's that Bud? That's the sound of a successful tournament. After I harped on that last week, some bigshot Anderson at the New York Times [I'd post the article if it wasn't sequestered behind "Times Select", aka "Pay a monthly fee to read op-ed pieces"] echoed those sentiments in his erudite fashion on Thursday. And now, the two Asian powers get to battle for the rights to face either the Dominican Republic or Cuba in the championship game.

Already, irony is knocking at the door, as we might well see two countries with which the US has less-than-stellar relations square off on American soil to win an American-created trophy in a sport devised and popularized by the United States. While it's not entirely crazy [given that England can't win the World Cup more than once when we made that fucken game], it's still funny.

[Note: How much do you wanna bet that A-Rod is wishing he decided to play for the Dominican Republic instead? I bet my friend 5 fake dollars that A-Rod would hit into that game-ending, WBC-ending double play. Because come on, let's face it, A-Rod going 0-3 in a game that counts, wouldn't that have been THE perfect ending?]


At 11:53 PM, Anonymous Lazlo said...

I'm just upset because I was hoping Barrett would get a hit in the tournament.

Anyway, eliminating the U.S. in the second round may not be that great. What is left in the tournament as far as big upsets? You really want the biggest upset at the end! What's left now? I guess Cuba beating the Dominican would be an upset, and a Korea vs. Cuba game could be quite interesting. However, Japan vs. Cuba, or Japan vs. the Dominican wouldn't be that interesting. I wouldn't mind seeing a Korea vs. Dominican final, but only if Korea manages to outslug the Dominican's star-studded lineup.

At 1:36 AM, Blogger JT said...

Yeah, I had hoped Barrett would do something in the WBC too -- then again, I had also hoped the "team" would let him and Lee practice with the Cubs on the off-days given the proximity of the two camps.

I don't want the biggest upset at the end. Where the upset comes is not the point [look at NCAA March Madness], but just the fact that there's a high probability of such events that counts.

I would love to see Korea vs. Cuba in the final, but I reckon Korea vs. the DR will happen, and either way you slice it, it'll be a phenomenal game.

Does anyone else find it funny that Chan Ho Park [aka "I'm a middle-of-the-road major leaguer"] has been absolutely lights out this whole tournament, grabbing several saves and getting the Ks???

At 11:49 AM, Anonymous Lazlo said...

Chan Ho Park has finally been what Major League scouts had always said he would eventually be, and they all his ex-managers and pitching coaches are probably so mad they could spit right now.

I don't know, I think I'd like to see a big upset at the end. It's always more fun when the final is a big game. Wasn't it kind of dissapointing in 2004 when the Red Sox won the World Series? Granted, it was gratifying watching the Cards get shut down so completely, but it was not dramatic, and that's more of what I look for in short tournament or playoff style games. Cuba winning the whole thing is probably still the most dramatic thing that could happen, since they almost weren't in the tournament at all, and Korea going undefeated could be dramatic, but not very characteristic of baseball. It will be interesting to see if Korea can beat Japan again. Are they that dominant and do they have that much luck left (as you need both usually to beat a good team)?

At 12:04 PM, Blogger JT said...

"Wasn't it kind of dissapointing in 2004 when the Red Sox won the World Series?"

Not at all, although I see what you're saying. I think all the excitement was manifested in the ALCS and the NLCS that year, as both went to 7-game sets with the obvious 3-0 recovery by Boston.

Bear in mind that this will be more exciting by default given that it's a one-game, winner-take-all game. That alone will generate enough tension to create a good game. As this tournament has proved, so many games have provided unexpected results because there has been no tomorrow.

It never helped Chan Ho Park that he pitched in Texas for so goddamn long. That's where ERAs go to die.

At 11:32 AM, Anonymous Lazlo said...


Quote of the day:
As Cuba's manager, Higinio Velez put it Saturday: "It will be a wonderful game. We know the Asians. We have played against the Asians, we know how the Asian teams play, and they're great players. They put everything onto the field, great effort, very similar to Latin American players."

A little knock against the North Americans there? Maybe it was aimed more at Italy and South Africa.

At 8:37 PM, Blogger Hyposquasher said...

Here's a good one too, made by Tom Lasorda, the "goodwill ambassador for the World Baseball Classic:"

"In my current position, I cannot pick my favorite team, but I can say I don't want Cuba to win, definitely."

Doesn't that kinda mean that you want Japan to win, buddy??

At 2:24 PM, Anonymous Lazlo said...

Kind of off topic, but it look slike the Reds just improved... slightly.

Reds and Red Sox traded Willy Mo Pena and Bronson Arroyo today. Neither project to be huge acquisitions, although for the Reds even getting a pitcher with a lifetime ERA of 4.51 is a big improvement. I don't expect him to be all to great. I expect Willy Mo to hit some homeruns for the Sox, but not to be a huge addition either. Still, maybe the Reds are actually addressing some of their pitching, erm, inadequacies.

In addition, Murton is batting .500 in ST and Ramirez is over .500, and both have knocked out a few homers and batted in some runs. Cedeno's average is still pretty poor, but on the rise, which is a good sign. Maybe he'll get into a bit of a groove to start the season. I guess Pierre is still working on his bunting.

Okay, that was my dose of the Majors for a while. Back to the WBC.

At 10:41 PM, Anonymous Lazlo said...

I'm watching the championship and just thought I'd like to mention some things before I forget them.

I saw a separated grip for first time in a long time tonight. Borrero, the Cuban first baseman, has his hands separated on his bat by an inch or two, not much, but enough. That's old-school. Think Nelly Fox.

Matsuzaka looks very good on the mound. I wouldn't venture so far as to say he's got better stuff than many of the pitchers we've seen in the tournament, though he's got good stuff. But I would say he's got good command of all of his pitches, he moves the ball around, changes speed, and can get batters out in the strike zone.

It's only the 4th inning, but so far Japan has out-played Cuba. It looks like Cuba is trying to slug a little bit, and their defense just can't match up to Japan's. Japan hasn't shown off great hitting, but they have shown off solid offense. Lots of small ball. I love it.

Speaking of small ball, Murton is batting .517 in spring training, and hitting loads of singles. I love that too.

At 10:52 PM, Anonymous lazlo said...

Actually I think the separated grip was Garloboro.


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