Monday, March 23, 2009

Three strikes you're out at the old ball game


Sheesh. Sorry for recommending the World Baseball Classic. (Outlaw 13 was right.)

I take that back. It had its moments. Thrills even, at least early on. Player patriotism -- those who chose the red, white and blue over team colors -- was inspiring and infectious. And Team USA played a heck of a lot better than last time even if the results were the same.

But the loss to Japan last night was disgusting. Inexcusable.

Jon Miller and company calling the game on ESPN used the words "handcuffed" and "betrayal" to describe what American fans might be feeling.


And it's Davey Johnson's fault. Davey Johnson and his masters, the bulk of baseball's general managers who refused us key players: pitchers. Davey Johnson, the bulk of baseball's general managers, and players who dissed their country for the silk sheets of spring training.

I'd blame American fans, too, but they were burned by the WBC once before, so failure to show this time is at least understandable.

Still, was I the only one -- along with Evan Longoria -- who got goosebumps hearing "USA! USA!" last night? I understand we didn't even get that in Florida last week. Thank God we weren't playing Mexico yesterday. (Having lived in L.A., I can assure you USA Baseball is the permanent visiting team vs. any team south of the border. Immigration is a beautiful thing. But I digress.)

Check out Steve Buckley on all this, though I think he blames Davey J more than the equally culpable GMs. Johnson is nothing but a toady, a willing, sacrificial scapegoat for ownership.

No wonder Chipper Jones said he wouldn't be back unless fundamental changes were made to this whole thing. Listen up, baseball. Chipper speaks for the rest of us.

...Oh, who am I kidding? I just got a month of baseball in 30-degree weather, and I'll always be a sucker for the underdogs. I'll be back.

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