Did you pay attention?
Ah March, NCAA at its finest, conference championships, tournaments champions, bubbles burst, and of course the tournament itself. So, after the first two rounds filled with upsets and bracket busters, I am going to focus on none other than....baseball.
MLB owners fought against it, Cuba had to fight to participate, and is A-Rod in or out, he's in for the U.S.A, no, wait, he's in for the Domincan...he's back out....WAIT, he's back in for the U.S.A. All of this drama before the games even started! Everyone knew it was happening, but how many people actively paid attention to the games (checking the scores on ESPN doesn't count). I admit, I didn't watch more than 4 innings of the whole tournament. Shame on me.
Baseball, America's past time, and where was our national pride. I assume most of you were like me, you cared, but did you really? Other countries were stoked, finally, Latin Americans can show off their pride. Japan and Korea have a chance to prove that baseball is every bit theirs as it is ours. Hell, even some European countries participated. Where was the American spirit...this is OUR game, OUR pasttime. Where was the hype that the Dream Team had in 92. It's like Canada not caring about how they do in Hockey.
Pride of country was obvious from the start at the games (even ours), flags were waving and competition was fierce. It is March, we aren't supposed to see baseball this intense until fall! Yet, after Canada, with a group of mostly minor leaguers beat the U.S., the water cooler talk wasn't how awful it was to lose to our neighbors of the north, but rather how Stubby Clapp sounded more like a Venereal Disease than a name. We still made it to round 2, shit happens, at least we didn't lose to Mexico right?
Obviously we know what happened in Round 2, we needed to beat Mexico in order to advance to the semifinals....umm, we lose to, Mexico. What little I did watch though, was the end of the U.S. vs Japan game, extra innings, two top baseball countries going at it. The end was the U.S. winning with a line drive up the middle, thrilling, exciting, and controversial. Just how I like it.
So who ends up in the finals, Japan vs Cuba! Cuba beat the Dominican Republic to advance. That had to look bad for our politicians who fought to keep Cuba out of the country, I thought it was rather fitting however. Japan ultimately won, rightfully claiming the first World Baseball Classic as theirs.
Was it bad or dissapointing for the U.S.? Absolutely not! It goes to show how, baseball, OUR game has spread around the world. It also shows that baseball is a game where the underdog has a chance, it is a game that can unite the world. I expect you all to be cheering for the Red White and Blue in 4 years! Speaking of sports uniting the world, isn't there some other tournament starting that takes place every 4 years? Bah, who cares, opening day is coming and I want to see if Stubby Clapp is playing in the majors!