Wednesday, March 11, 2009

WBC Roundup: Thursday

It’s occurred to me that the team that the Tigers are putting on the field right now is pretty much the team that fans of other teams want the Tigers to have around late July. Detroit’s economic problems have got other fans salivating over what they believe is an imminent fire sale. They’re circling Detroit like a bunch of vultures, and I’m getting tired of it. Hands off! Still no offense from the boys down in Florida, so let’s move straight to the WBC:

Pool B
I was kinda rooting for Australia in this one, mostly cuz I had (understandably) never heard of any of the Cuban players. I fell asleep during the middle of the game, so I can’t give much insight into that, but Cuba’s starting pitcher (a 21-year-old lefty who throws 100 MPH) was dominant. Why do I get the feeling he’s gonna end up with the White Sox someday? However, it looked like the Aussies played a lot better than people thought they would. In fact, they were in the lead until a pinch-hit home run in the top of the 8th. Now Australia and Mexico have a rematch tonight, and given how Australia killed Mexico in their first game and how they played relatively well against Cuba, I don’t think Mexico would necessarily be a shoo-in. Still, they are favored over Australia.

Pool C
Hey, Maggs and Cabrera finally started hitting! Venezuela is into the next round, though I’m not sure how far they’ll be able to go with their middle relief being what it is. If they’re gonna win, it looks like they’ll have to rely on the offense. And judging by the little bit of press conference footage I saw, they know this. Tonight they’ll face Team USA for seeding purposes. I don’t know this for sure, but I would imagine both Carlos Silva and Felix Hernandez would be available. I do have one question, though: Why were a bunch of Venezuelan fans wearing Indian headdresses? I don’t quite get it. It would make more sense if there were Indians players on Team Venezuela, but there aren’t.

Pool D
Holy crap. The Netherlands eliminated the Dominican Republic and are on to the second round. In a way, this is more of an upset than Team Italy eliminating Canada. Italy at least had a handful of major leaguers like Nick Punto, Frank Catalanotto, and Jason Grilli. The Netherlands had Rick VandenHurk and Randall Simon. And the Dominican had more of a stacked lineup than Canada, even without A-Rod and Manny Ramirez. And in the end, the Dominican Republic did it to themselves with the errors in the bottom of the 11th. If you were watching the television broadcast, you could tell Rich Walz was definitely rooting for the Dutch, based on how excited he got (I’m not saying that’s right or wrong; I’m just a little surprised, considering how both teams featured players from the Florida Marlins). And the Dominicans were literally in tears. By the way, when the Netherlands scored the winning run, why did the public address system start playing Samuel Barber’s “Adagio for Strings?”

Tonight’s gonna be a little different because I’m working 5-9. As a result, I’ll probably miss the Netherlands-Puerto Rico seeding game, which is a shame since it’s the last game that’ll be played in San Juan, and the Puerto Rican fans were awesome. I also probably won’t see a lot of Venezuela-USA unless it turns into a big slugfest. Australia-Mexico is the late game.

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