WBC Article from College Paper

Found this article in a local university's sports section and thought I'd share it:

Over the last few weeks, some of you may have looked up from March Madness just long enough to notice there was some crazy thing going on in the world of professional baseball. Of course, there was spring training but, something other than that. I can tell youre stumbling around the inside of your head looking for that apparently trivial bit of sports knowledge, so let me help you out. That thing was the World Baseball Classic, and Im willing to bet you did not care one lick about it, and for that, I am very upset with you. And for that matter, I am upset with team USA.

First of all, Mr. Casual Sports Fan, I have to say Im thoroughly disappointed in you. You sat around watching Louisville beat Morehead State into a bloody pulp in the first round of the NCAA tournament, while meanwhile, Ichiro Suzuki and Daisuke Matsuzaka of Team Japan were squaring off against South Korea in an elimination match en route to a match up against Team USA. How could you make such a horrible decision? The Boston Red Sox most dominant starting pitcher, coupled with one of the most consistent hitters and fielders, on their way to take on Team USA. 

Let us not forget that Team USA featured some of the most talented, most exciting names in  baseball, featuring the likes of Roy Oswalt, Chipper Jones, Jimmy Rollins, and more. Yes, THAT Chipper Jones, the one who posted a ridiculous .364 batting average last year. Yes, THAT Jimmy Rollins, the one who is a two time Golden Glove winner and just two years ago had a ridiculous .531 slugging percentage.  

But instead, when the cold, calculated, determined machine that was Team Japan knocked off the star studded American squad, you watched UConn predictably dismantle a Texas A&M team that never stood chance, 92-66.

But thats okay, because that only brings me to my next point: what in the world were they thinking when they, whoever they are, let Davey Johnson manage this baseball squad? 

This is the man who early in the tournament, threatened to forfeit the rest of Team USA’s games if the injury bug did not give it up. In short, he was down with the idea of quitting. In games like the one in which the US would get eliminated against Japan, in a roster stacked with offense, but lacking in fielding, Johnson put 35 year old geezer and generally overrated all star Derek Jeter at short stop, while three time all star and two time golden glove winner Jimmy Rollins hung around in a designated hitter position. Finally, with the game on the line against Japan, and the USA’s championship hopes fading quickly, who did Davey Johnson send to the mound to close out the game? Joel Hanrahan. Who the heck is Joel Hanrahan? Whoever he was, he was not Scot Shields, the other available closer who sports a 2.93 career ERA.

In short, Johnson was okay with losing. And judging from the apathy of the few American fans who stumbled across ESPN2 in time to see a few WBC games, neither does the rest of America. This is not even the World Cup, where we can say, “So what? We dont play soccer.” 

This is baseball. This is what America is. And were okay with losing at it, in an embarrassing fashion.

As for me, I used to think famed World War 2 General George S Patton was right when he said, “Americans love a winner. Americans will not tolerate a loser. Americans despise cowards. Americans play to win all of the time.”

Now though, Im not so sure. 

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