Friday, March 10, 2006

United States advances in World Baseball Classic

Don't know if you have been following the WBC, World Baseball Classic, but there is some good baseball being played. Some people have been turned off by the rules and the fact that it is "meaningless".

First, the rules are tweaked from MLB baseball with ties being allowed in the opening round (none ended in ties), the mercy rule in effect, and pitchers having a pitch count of 65. Skeptical at first, on deeper look the rules are beneficial to a tournament format where teams are playing in a short time for a Championship. Changing of the pitchers gets more people involved, involving more variables, increasing the excitement of the game. Pitchers don't throw as many balls as they do in the MLB. Ties are class. Futbol, the world sport, has ties. It commends th
e effort of both squads. If after a pair of innings a winner isn't decided in a baseball game, a tie is a great way to reward both teams for a tough fought game. I think it would be good in the MLB after 11 innings a game goes to a tie. The MLB season is long, unlimted extra extra innings in a regular season game is not necessary.

Second, the issue of the WBC being meaningless is a simplistic one to answer. Ofcourse it isn't meaningless. It is a tournament where players are representing their country, regardless if the United States sits back and says that our best players are not there. There are great players on the United States team. For a first time event, the quality of the teams is exceptional. The event should definitely be continued next year. The selection of players will be much more vast for the United States.

The USA dropped 6-8 against Canada, after beating Mexico 2-0 in their first game. The Canadians took an 8-0 lead after an in the ball park home run. Check some clips out here, including the grand slam hit by Varitek to make the game 8-6.

Today, the United States came back with a 17-0 mercy of South Africa. The Canadians were smashed by the Mexicans 9-1. Mexico, United States, & Canada all sit at 2-1. Based on the tie breaker rules, United States and Mexico will be advancing, with Mexico being the Champion of Pool B. Mexico plays a 3-0 Korean team on March 12th @ 8PM. The Korean defense is averaging a run a game. United States will play Japan March 12th @ 1PM. Japan was 2-1 in Pool A and lost a close 3-2 game to Korea.


in Pool C, Puerto Rico and Cuba will be squaring off for branging rights as Pool C Champions. Both teams are 2-0, with the Netherlands and Panama bowing out at 1-2 and 0-3 respectively. Winner of this game looks hard to select because the Puerto Rico team is full of talented players but the Cuban team has been playing for half a season. Cuba has played over 60 games in their season, so that could be an advantage. Slight lean would be to a shoot-out, with Puerto Rico ultimately winning by a couple. feel for the game: 7-5 Puerto Rico

Since the topic came upon trying to analyze the tournament, Puerto Rico was my selection to win Pool C. The two play for that title tonight. To win the tournament, I selected the Dominicans as the favorite, but also took a bit out of Cuba and Venezuela. United States are not going to be the favorite to win and will really have to work hard to advance. Win or lose, it should be some exciting baseball.

Anti-Castro sign at WBC sparks furor in Cuba

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