I was watching the WBC game of US vs. Mexico tonight, enjoying Roger Clemens and his rock-solid delivery...that man has not even flinched while the years flew past his head. If anything, he's grown more powerful the older he gets--he's a giant. He's immortal. According to this article by Nick Cafardo,
understand that in the World Baseball Classic, the players, managers, and coaches are in awe of two people in this tournament -- Japan manager Sadaharu Oh, the legendary home run hitter, and Clemens.
It's easy to see why. He's not only a living legend, but a playing legend. If he'd retired when most pitchers run out of gas, he'd be in the Hall of Fame twice over by now. It's unbelievable to watch.
So the Mexican team is pretty much playing for pride. The only way they could advance in the tournament is if they win 3-0 in thirteen or more innings. Gotta love that "new math."
Even with those odds stacked against them, the men in red, green and white were bringing it to the US in the early innings. One by one, our best hitters grounded out, and were stranded on base. Clemens held the line, but it was a stalemate going into the fourth--when Mario Valenzuela hit a home run off the right field foul pole.
Except the umpires huddled, and said, inexplicably, that it was a double.
It was US-Japan all over again. I was disgusted, and flipped the channel.
I eventually went back, deciding I wanted to see Roger pitch some more, and was pleased to see Mexico get the run back on a bloop single by Jorge Cantu.
I might watch the rest of this game; I might not. Either way, I just have to say I'm disgusted at the way the US has been favored in this tournament. It's insulting to the intelligence, how obvious it is that the WBC's organizers are pulling for the US at every turn, to the point of taking runs off the board by any means necessary. This is a deep insult to the rest of the world in a time when our country needs all the PR help it can get.
I would rather see the US lose than win under such dubious circumstances, and words do not express how much I loathe this trend I've seen in what has otherwise been such a spectacularly successful competition.
Update: After a truly classic, exquisitely played game on the part of Mexico, the US lost, 2-1. Japan will advance to the semi-finals.
Don't get me wrong, here, folks: I'm not some America-hatin' commie. I was rooting for the home team to move on, especially since Mexico got the run back anyway, and it is pretty stupid that Mexico eliminated us when they were already eliminated, too.
But I'm also interested in what's right, and the integrity of the game--and I can't deny that there's a sense of poetic justice in the fact that Japan will now advance. There are many who'd argue it should've been that way all along.
That said, I'll be rooting for the Dominican. And looking forward to getting Tek and Timlin back in camp.