Mexico and Canada got into a big fight during the ninth inning of Canada’s 10-3 victory in Pool D play of the World Baseball Classic Saturday at Chase Field in Arizona.
The benches-clearing brawl resulted in eight ejections. The fight began after Canada catcher Chris Robinson bunted for a base hit with his team up 9-3 in the ninth. Mexico third baseman Luis Cruz felt Canada bunting with a six-run lead was disrespectful, so he encouraged pitcher Arnold Leon to hit the next batter.
In the video below, you can see Cruz make a gesture that appears to instruct Leon to hit the next batter:
One of the beautiful things about the World Baseball Classic is that we get a chance to start ragging on umpires for blown calls a full month before we typically would. During Thursday’s game between Cuba and The Netherlands, the home plate umpire completely blew a call on a foul ball that clearly dropped into the dugout but was ruled a catch.
Upon viewing the first angle of the play, you can see where the umpire was confused and almost had to take guess about whether or not Curt Smith caught the ball. In all fairness, umpires don’t have the luxury of viewing several camera angles before making a call. That being said, the second angle showed that Smith clearly dropped the ball and then picked it up while leaning over the railing.
You can understand why Cuba was furious. The good news is the bad call didn’t cost a team in the playoffs like this call did. That probably won’t save the guy from being embarrassed when he watches the replay and realizes how badly he botched it.
H/T LBS contributor A. Liu
You probably already know my thoughts on this since I’ve opined on the World Baseball Classic before. Still, let’s present the facts of the case first. Over the weekend around 11,000 fans showed up to watch the U.S. play Netherlands at Dolphin Stadium in South Florida (still about 10,000 more than show up for Marlins games). For the game against Puerto Rico, the attendance was around 30,000, about half of whom were fans of the island team (you can see how many people were there on Tuesday in the picture at right). Red Sox first baseman Kevin Youkilis who’s been carrying the U.S. offensively in the WBC isn’t too happy about all this:
“I don’t think we have enough pride in this. It’s kind of a sad day – and I know it’s a tough time (economically) to buy tickets – when you see that. I don’t think there’s as much pride in the USA as there is for these other countries. There was a whole section of Dominican fans (Sunday) night just here to watch baseball. I think we’re losing a little bit of pride for, quote, ‘America’s national pastime.’ ”
“It definitely hurts a little bit to know that you’re always the away team in your own country,” he said. “There are some good people out there, but it would be nice to have a lot more of those people chanting ‘USA,’ holding up American flags. That’s the one thing we didn’t see much of the other night – there were more Puerto Rican flags than American (flags).”
You want to know why, Mr. Youkilis? It’s because this isn’t a real event. Just be happy that your Red Sox games always sell out and that you have a packed house with rabid fans who live and die by each at-bat you take. What do you really expect from the fans, to go head-over-heels for a fake, made-for-TV event? Fans are already committed to their teams, isn’t that enough? You’ll also notice that the U.S. isn’t getting too patriotic because the whole world already acknowledges the best baseball is already played here. What is there for us to prove, that we shared a popular game with the rest of the world? Fantastic, let’s all celebrate! The day this event goes away wouldn’t be soon enough for me.
(via Ben Maller)
You already got a taste of what a fraud I think the World Baseball Classic is based on my criticism of ESPN for continuing to use A-Rod to promote the WBC in commercials. In that vain, I’m still wondering what the point of this entire event is. Surely I understand that the U.S. doesn’t send its pro athletes to the Olympics to compete in baseball, and that’s fine with me. We already have the highest level of competition playing 162 games a year (not including the playoffs) from almost every baseball-playing country worldwide. The only reason I have to say “almost” is because many of the top Cuban players are forbidden from leaving the country. Still, it doesn’t take much more than looking inside the dugout for any team in MLB to realize we already have a global game going.
MLB has players from the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Panama, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Colombia, Curacao, Japan, China, Korea, and Australia, and that’s only off the top of my head. The best players in the world already convene in the U.S. to play against each other at the highest level of baseball; they do it in a little something called Major League Baseball. Many teams have international training facilities to further mine the globe for the top baseball talent. Heck, they’re even trying to get players from India now, too. And up until this year when the economy turned sour, MLB had been a vastly successful league with immense popularity and growing fan bases. Knowing that fans already have and support their teams, why are you trying to create some event to supersede what we already have and what’s already working?
Too many players turn the
opportunity burden down because their MLB careers are more important, automatically making the WBC inferior in terms of competition to MLB. The WBC allows bogus roster rules, letting guys like A-Rod who were born in the U.S. play for the Dominican, and guys like Frank Catalanotto play for Italy. I suppose if they had a Team Poland they’d allow me to try out considering I’m 1/8th of it. Like that makes any sense. They’re trying to drum things up like this is a matter of nationalism and civic pride. I, along with millions of others, am just hoping my pitchers don’t get hurt or burnt out in a useless event. Just what I need — the Angels bullpen tiring out in July because of a bunch of meaningless innings they threw in March. So one more time, outside of TV revenue, why does the World Baseball Classic exist??
- world baseball classic
I’ve been wondering about this question the past week considering the blitzkrieg of WBC press by ESPN lately. First of all, don’t get me started on the World Baseball Classic to begin with — we get to watch the best players in the entire world compete 162 times from April-September in something called Major League Baseball, what good does the WBC serve besides tiring out my team’s pitching staff? Anyway, every time I see the ESPN WBC commercial play (which I’ll admit is pretty cool in a nationalistic sense), I wonder why they would choose Alex Rodriguez — an admitted steroids user, not to mention a U.S. citizen — as the player to represent the Dominican Republic. Yes, this admitted cheater is now headlining the WBC as a representative for a country where he wasn’t even born. Here’s the commercial in case you’ve missed it:
Of all the players on the Dominican Republic roster — superstars like David Ortiz, Hanley Ramirez, and Jose Reyes — you pick the admitted cheat who wasn’t even born in the freaking country? And what kind of slap in the face is that to the U.S.? As we were discussing on The Arnie Spanier Show on Sporting News Radio Wednesday, why would a guy who was born in the U.S. and has made like $300 million here, choose to represent the D.R. in the WBC, especially considering he played for the U.S. team last time? It’s bad enough seeing this guy used as a “face” in advertising a product considering his latest admission, but it’s rubbing salt in the wound by having A-Rod draped in a Dominican Republic jersey. I’m very surprised that ESPN not only continued to run the commercial, but that they didn’t just splice in a new player to represent the Dominican while leaving the rest of the commercial the same. It’s highly disappointing and makes me wonder why they decided to pick him for the spot and why they continued to run it even after the steroids issue.