Monday, March 13, 2006

World Baseball Classic

Yesterday, after an open house visit in San Francisco’s Outer Richmond, we had a late lunch/early dinner at Thai Café. Once home, changed into lounge attire and turned on the TV to ESPN2 to watch the World Baseball Classic.

If you’re a baseball fan and haven’t heard about the WBC, then you must be on another planet right now. It’s a round-robin tournament of teams from countries such as Puerto Rico, Australia, Mexico, Korea, Japan and of course, the United States. Surprisingly, there are also teams from the Netherlands and South Africa (who recently lost to the U.S. 17-0 and had the mercy rule invoked after 5 innings).

One of the games I watched was Puerto Rico vs. Dominican Republic. On paper, the Dominican Republic has one of the strongest team rosters. Players include Albert Pujols, Adrian Beltre, Moises Alou, and Miguel Tejada. The Puerto Rican team, while not having the same magnitude as DR, had a few of their own name players. Their roster includes: Bernie Williams, Javy Lopez, Carlos Beltran and Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez.

Going into the game, I really didn’t think Puerto Rico had much of a chance. José Cruz Jr., a lifetime .250 hitter in the majors, had 2 critical hits to help Puerto Rico dominate Dominican Republic, 7-1. This is what makes the WBC special for veteran players and baseball fans. The players get in place of spring training a fun and competitive way to prepare for the season the fans can go out to see. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.

With guys like Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Ken Griffey Jr., and Roger Clemens playing for the U.S., how can a baseball fan not watch? I hope it becomes an annual ritual. Play ball!!!

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