What the ----???
... is what you might be saying to yourself regarding the WBC action lately. US has lost to both Canada and.... and KOREA??? Japan has a meek 2-2 record??? Puerto Rico, sure, we knew they had a pretty solid team offensively, but a 4-1 record? And once again... KOREA? 5-0 with wins over both Japan and the US???
Well rest your wee heads, lads and lasses, I have the reasons and answers, so you can hopefully stop your brain from chasing its tail. My theory is pretty simple in principle, and I definitely think it holds some water. Every player on every team in the WBC has strengths and weaknesses, right? And the key to any matchup is going to be taking advantage of your opponents weaknesses while making use of your own strengths. The problem is: what if you don't know anything about half of your opponents because you have never seen, heard of, or played against them before? What if, in the meantime, your name is Alex Rodriguez or [Insert other famous MLB player here], and everyone you are playing against knows all of your strengths and weaknesses?
I say that it sure gives a relatively unknown pitcher a heck of an advantage over his opponents when he knows everything about them while they know nothing of him. The same goes for the unknown hitter facing a guy like Johan Santana or Freddy Garcia, although, perhaps to a lesser degree.
Anyway, regardless of the reason for some of the unexpected upsets, US sucks. I guess it is fence hopping in some ways, but I've decided I'm not pulling for our beloved home country representatives. My new favorite team is Venezuela, baby. I'm a fan of enough of their players (Abreu, Cabrera (yes, despite the Marlins/Cubs playoff series), Santana, Vizquel, Martinez, and most of all.... Zambrano) that I figured I could jump on their bandwagon. I watched the Puerto Rico game last night and was pretty impressed with the Zambino's effort. It wasn't an October-worthy effort, but it would have been fine for April, June, or even July (if he was able to throw more than 80 pitches), and this is only March!
So, I don't know about you, but I will be positioned comfortably on my couch tonight, silently (probably not) pulling for Venezuela to beat Albert Pujols and his fellow Dominicans to advance to the next round.