...and somebody did.
Thanks to reader Jeff E. for sending us this gem
. So, Dan Connolly, whatcha got for us? "The inaugural World Baseball Classic is over, and one can presume that the flag-waving, sign-holding Japanese fan base has finally strolled giddily away from San Diego's Petco Park wearing smiles and plenty of official Classic merchandise."
I guess one can presume that. I don't know that the Japanese fans bought any more merch than the other countries' fans. But, sure, okay, I'm with you. Three short paragraphs later:
"Meanwhile, the Japanese fans at the semifinals and final in San Diego couldn't have had more fun soaking up the experience and the souvenirs."
A good point. Even if the Japanese didn't buy more than others, they certainly did soak up
more. (The hell?) But on to the good stuff: "The most important lesson learned, though, came from the field. The disciplined teams without much MLB influence schooled the star-laden countries - and not because they had more talent or because the timing hampered MLB-heavy squads."
How this guy can conclusively disprove that the timing of the event didn't hurt teams like the USA, I have no idea. It seems to me that there's at least a good chance that teams like Cuba benefitted from being well in the swing of their baseball schedules. "Simply put, Japan and Cuba didn't play ego ball. They didn't throw 100 mph or crush countless homers. They won by advancing runners and turning double plays. They scored with hard sprints and sweeping hand tags across the plate. They won by playing anti-modern-American, anti-MLB baseball."
Okay. Now, Dan Connolly, honestly: would you really prefer that your favorite team not
hit countless homers? Let's put it this way: you're a fan of team USA. A-Rod's at the plate. Would you rather he advance the runner or hit one of his team's limitless taters?
Fact: No team hit more home runs than the representatives from that most famous of souvenir-buying nations, Japan.
Fact: Cuban pitchers were, as a generalization, some of the hardest throwers in the tournament. One Cuban pitcher was clocked at 97 mph
while striking out Carlos Guillen.
Bonus Fact! As for fundamental defense, Cuba committed three more errors than any other team.
"It's just that our pro athletes are rarely asked to play as a team. They don't have to. It's not what they get paid to do and not what our fans want."
I'm sorry. The teams that these guys are normally paid to play for are somehow fundamentally different than the team they were asked to play for in the WBC? Aren't they paid to play as a team 162 times a year? If 24 of the Oakland A's decide to take the field against the Tigers at 4:00 pm, and then Mark Kotsay decides to take the field all by himself 4 hours later, does he get paid? "A baseball purist can talk about fundamentals until he is Dodger Blue in the face, but ultimately, who would Joe Baseball Fan rather see with a bat in his hands, David Ortiz or Willy Tavares? Albert Pujols or David Eckstein?"
Is this a trick question? Is this a fake trick question? Please, please Dan Connolly. Tell me you're not suggesting that David Eckstein is a better player -- or even a better team
player -- than Albert Pujols. Please tell me you don't think David Eckstein belonged on the WBC roster.
"Leaving the perpetually hustling, unselfish Eckstein off the U.S. roster wasn't a critical mistake, as some have suggested."
Whew. Thank God. Dan Connolly, I can certify you a sentient human being. Okay, now that --"The Americans didn't need one Eckstein."
No, Dan! DAN! I'm trying to --"They needed a roster full of them, or at least a roster full of guys who would morph into Eckstein when the situation arose."
Oh, Danny. Danny boy.