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pre-spring fever

March 15, 2013

Now that we can count the number of days until the vernal equinox on one hand, how can we not turn our minds to baseball?  Usually at this time I’m impatiently awaiting the end of spring training.  I know it’s important to bust off the rust and evaluate talent, but the games are meaningless.  My beloved world champion Giants have a 7-8 record, and the Kansas City Royals — one of last year’s worst teams — is 15-2.

This late winter, however, we are blessed with some games that matter.  The World Baseball Classic, started after the Olympics dropped the sport in 2005, is about to begin its championship round.  Unlike the misnamed World Series, the WBC truly is a global event.

Sixteen teams are invited.  This year the first round of competition was held in Japan, Taiwan, Puerto Rico and Phoenix AZ.  Tokyo and Miami hosted the second round, and AT&T Park (home of my Giants) will host the final games.

Participants don’t have to be born in the country they play for if they have some other type of connection, like a parent born in that nation.  So ace Giant closer Sergio Romo, born in California, played for Mexico.  This allows for a better distribution of talent from Major League Baseball and a more competitive tournament.  It’s like watching a bunch of all-star teams.

Last night the Dominican Republic beat the U.S. 3-1 in a thriller.  The Dominican starting pitcher held his own against R.A. Dickey, who won the National League Cy Young Award last season.  The DR scored two runs in the top of the ninth off Atlanta Braves’ Craig Kimbrel, one of the best closers in MLB.  Then THE best closer in the majors last year, Fernando Rodney of the Tampa Bay Rays, finished the U.S. off with 16 pitches.

DR now goes to San Francisco to face either Japan or the Netherlands in the semi-finals.  The U.S. plays Puerto Rico today at 4 p.m. PDT for the final slot.  Ryan Vogelsong of the Giants will start for the U.S.

Do yourself a huge favour and catch the game.  It promises to be a rip-snorter.

  1. March 16, 2013 10:12 am

    Baseball is my favorite game, with volleyball running a close second. I played both until well into my 50’s – – now, my poor back says NO, NO – NO MORE!! So, I’ve become a spectator, sigh.

    • March 18, 2013 9:40 am

      Did you ever play any beach volleyball? It’s the only time my muscles starting getting sore during a game.

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