Like most Americans, I assume, I have been paying very little attention to the World Baseball Classic. Up until last night, I had probably not seen more than a half dozen or so innings of the game, but I was aware of a few things.
One of those things was the intensity of the crowds, particularly the fans of the teams from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, and the intensity that had stadiums filled and rocking with cheering unlike what we are used to seeing at MLB games here. Also, from what little I did see, I was taken with the fervor with which the teams are playing, including the highly paid and supposedly entitled MLB players on Team USA.
So it was that I settled in to watch last night's semi-final game between the USA and Japan. What I saw was a highly skilled and entertaining ballgame, won by the USA, 2-1, a win that puts the USA, for the first time in the brief history of the WBC, into the championship game tonight.
Yeah, I know about the big name Americans who are NOT playing (Kershaw, Trout, Harper among others), but the American team is just stacked with good players....Andrew McCutchen, Adam Jones, Buster Posey, Eric Hosmer, and many others. When you watch these guys playing, and hear them being interviewed during and after the games, these players are really into it and really loving the experience. It's pretty cool, actually.
Tonight, it will be the USA vs. Puerto Rico for the WBC Championship. I will be at the set watching. If you are a baseball fan, you should be, too. It promises to be a pretty good and exciting game.
I will leave you with what has no doubt been the signature play of this WBC - Adam Jones robbing his Orioles teammate, Manny Machado, of a home run in the pivotal win-or-go-home game against the Dominican Republic on Saturday.