Wednesday, March 15, 2006

WBC Naysayers Day

In Tampa, the Boss is "speechless." In Chicago, the Cubs are hoping that one injury will distract attention from another...which they'd claimed wasn't real. And the non-Korean followers of the WBC finally have something to harp about.

I'm talking about injuries on Team USA. Cub fans might be somewhat grouchy that Derreck Lee is on the shelf, getting an MRI after he jarred his left shoulder on a diving play during the US's win against Japan. He won't be able to play in the U.S. team's Thursday matchup against Mexico.

Unlikely to play on Thursday, also, is Johnny Damon, who has a sore shoulder on his throwing arm. No word about how the soreness happened--the lack of reports of any traumatic damage makes me think he's just sore from normal baseball activities. If so, Steinbrenner should save the histrionics--players get sore in the springtime, it's part of the process of getting ready for the season. We've seen Gary Sheffield and Jason Giambi go through that so far in Grapefruit League action--did we really think the WBC would be different?

Back to the Tournament, Team USA's Thursday game might not be all that important, since the U.S. could be eliminated prior to taking the field. If they survive the results of the Japan/Korea showdown, the U.S. will put Roger Clemens on the mound for the Mexico game, in hopes of making it to the semis.

This isn't quite what anyone imagined when this tourney was announced--Team USA having to sweat a game against Mexico, or losing to South Korea. One of the ways that baseball is different from other games is the way that any one starting pitcher can change the tide of a short series. Dontrelle Willis is a good pitcher, who had two bad starts. In the regular season, conscutive bad outings are a hiccup, in a tournament like this, they're the difference between success and failure.

On a happier note, the Dominican team made the semis, by beating Venezuela, 2-1 last night. After the game, fellow BU alum Paul, one of the guys on the BP email list wrote in just to say "What's better than that game?" That was the whole email. That said it all.

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