Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The World Baseball Classic: it matters?

The World Baseball Classic was effectively born yesterday. All the things I hate about it proved their value, at least this once, as one of the more or less hopeless teams proved itself good enough to get fortunate, one of the best teams looked rusty and confused, and it became clear from the way each team celebrated taking the lead in the 11th inning that the game mattered to them. And not just to get a job.

The biggest flaw in the World Baseball Classic--yeah, it's fucking March, too early for even this lowly blog to post every week--has proved to be one of the best things about it. Preparation could be a leveling factor over talent when pitchers have their stuff together more than hitters have their timing, as was the case as a few will-bes and never weres shut down the seemingly mighty D.R. lineup for ten full. (One of the will-bes is a Sox prospect, Curacaoleno Dennis Neuman. Nice 1.2 IP there, kid.)

And, of course, sometimes talent obliterates all else. Ubaldo Jimenez, who was essentially unhittable but also uncontrollable in a taut Game 2 of the 2007 World Series, reminded me of me playing MLB 2K8 against a friend who never had. I would say, "I'm throwing a fastball," and he would miss every time all the same; Ubaldo struck out 10 of the 14 batters he faced, with two weak hits thrown in for pity's sake. That's some Steve Nebraska shit no matter who you're playing.

In the end, it actually kinda came down to who fucked up less, as Gene Kingsdale badly misplayed a likely single, with two outs, into a single with two-base-error to score a runner from first. With two outs. This needs be emphasized.

But guess who singled the tying run home, advanced to third on an error, and scored on a hard-hit ball to first that was still, yes, an error? Kingsdale. Is this great baseball? No. Was it amazing TV, and an unexpected March gift? Oh, hell yes. For the other advantage the WBC has in March is the same thing that is that disadvantage that now seems like an advantage (whew): it's in March.

Pre-March Madness March.

Pre any sports on TV to watch March.

(The entertainment value of the run-and-gun Knicks has dissipated as their results have become more inevitable. To use a Frazier-ism, they're just suckin' and chuckin' these days.)

And we have ourselves a George Mason beats UConn before the tournament. Long live the Orange.

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