Recapping this year’s World Baseball Classic Recap
Note that the tagline to this article contains the seldom used word ‘invigorating’ as oppose to its alter ego ‘re-invigorating.’ This is because the North American audience has largely dismissed the quadrennial tournament ever since its inception in 2006. Many star players don’t participate, those who do are seemingly allowed to play for whichever country they see fit, and it occurs at the same time as March Madness. While I’m sure MLB is not pleased with this lack of interest, its overall goal for the initiative is to grow the game internationally, which may explain why the championship game ended close to 1am on the East Coast.
In that aforementioned title game, behind a dominating performance from Marcus Stroman, the US defeated Puerto Rico 8-0. Isn’t Puerto Rico considered part of the US? Whatever. I’m Canadian. We have territories too that we also don’t really consider to be ‘one of us.’ Despite the lackluster final game, the WBC did have its share of nail-biters. To get to the title game, the US had to defeat usual juggernaut Japan, which they did by scoring in the top of 8th to eventually win 2-1. Reports have surfaced that the Japanese team was shunned by their home country upon landing back in Tokyo for the great shame they brought upon their once proud nation. Ok. I made that last part up. Although I don’t know that it’s not true. Anyway. The Puerto Ricans, not be outdone, needed extras in the semis and squeezed out a 4-3 win over extremely unusual juggernaut The Netherlands. How did the Dutch even end up in that spot? Did only four total countries enter the tournament? The most memorable part about this game is that under WBC rules, the 11th inning started with runners on BOTH 1st and 2nd. That sure got people talking, even if it was for all the wrong reasons. I guess it wasn’t such a bad thing considering even with that new wrinkle the game still took almost five hours to complete.
Alas, the most memorable moment of the whole thing will forever remain the circus, home run-robbing catch of Adam Jones off the bat of Manny Machado. One star committing grand larceny on arguably baseball’s best player. Just look at this pic:
If nothing else, the 2017 rendition captured the attention of the nation for one brief, fleeting moment. It leaves us with an indelible image of patriotism mixed with pure athleticism. It doesn’t get much more American than that. Take it from me. Like I said, I’m Canadian.