Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Special Post: Japan Wins World Baseball Classic 2009

We don't usually post about sports, but it was a pretty historic moment and I have to show some love to my Japanese heritage. Baseball is America's greatest past time, and along with the U.S, the South American teams have traditionally dominated the sport. The World Baseball Classic is the World Cup of baseball featuring a slew of major leaguers and each country's best players. It takes place every 3 years and in 2006, in it's very first year of existence, Japan defeated Cuba to become the World Champions. Now in 2009, Japan are the champs once again as they defeated the U.S. in the semi-finals and defeated Korea in the finals last night.

So congrats to team Japan, but I definitely consider myself an American.... and America, you need to get back to the basics, stop crying about potential injuries that may affect the regular season, and step up your game! Now here is a longer blurb by Goodchild which I believe he wrote during the 9th inning.

- Sonic

Iw. Akuma.

That’s not to say I think Akuma is gross or anything. Actually, he’s always been my fav Street Fighter character. If I ever get around to getting and playing SFIV, I’ll go online and kick your ass with him.


No, this is more about Iwakuma, pitcher for the Japanese World Baseball Classic team.

First off, I just wanted to share some of my thoughts on what might one day be a much bigger deal here – an international tournament for baseball that truly gives any real team a chance at becoming the best in the world. Secondly, I just wanted to say that I’m an American. Brooklyn born, I live in Brooklyn now, and I see no home but New York City for me in the future. I’m never going to move to Europe, or Australia. I’d like to visit them, but who knows if I’ll ever get the chance. I love my country and as hokey as it might be, I root for team USA in whatever the competition is.

Except soccer. I only look that dumb.

Back to the classic and Iwakuma. So, this Iwakuma guy is insane, he kept Korea to 1 run in 7 2/3 of baseball, didn’t even allow a hit in the first few innings. And the Korean pitching wasn’t shabby, either. Japan had 1st and 3rd, no one out – Korea got out of it without giving up a run. Japan had the same situation again – Korea gets out with only 1 run given up. Tight pitching, excellent defense and sound fundamentals, and something else you don’t see in the MLB – a reliance on constructing runs by stringing together hits and aggressive running – or, not just sitting back and waiting for the home run. This is exceptional baseball, something only National League fans get to see here in the USA, and even then not all too often. This is the 5th time in the WBC that these two teams have met, they split the previous meetings, and this one just went into extra innings.

This may not mean anything for the MLB season, of which I am waiting for with baited breath (GO BLUE!!), but I feel that this is one of the best and most exciting games I’ve ever watched. I seriously think I could watch these two teams play all season long and love ever game.

But, Sonic forgive me, I think I’m pulling for Korea. I was certainly pulling for Japan in ’06, but with Japan shaming team USA in the semifinals (hey, at least we got there this time); I kinda want Korea to win just to stick it to them. The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

I think the WBC is really coming around – I really feel that by the next time it comes around, it’s popularity will have grown exponentially – around the world, and even in this country. This really is great for the sport, and it has me super excited for the MLB season.

Whoever wins this game, congratulations to both teams for their excellent showings, and for entertaining the hell out of baseball fans all over the world.

And, no matter who we might be rooting for, I think we can all agree that we all win on a night when Steve Phillips says so little. Now, if only we could get Joe Morgan to shut up …

+ Ichiro delivers as Japan Wins WBC Title [NBC]
- Goodchild

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