World Baseball Classic Round 2, Day 4

San Juan

Think whatever you want about this first World Baseball Classic, but the first two rounds of ’06 Clasico Mundial de Beisbol came to a close tonight in San Juan with a game as intense and interesting as any game, anywhere, between any two teams, as Cuba advanced to the semifinals, avenging last week’s loss to Puerto Rico when it counted in a thrilling 4-3 win.

Lots of tension tonight on and off the field. First, the Cubans had been sent a sheet of paper today that mistakenly listed them as the home team. As I mentioned last week, home and visitor were determined for the first two rounds by draw. That draw — which was observed by a Cuban representative — had Cuba as the visitor tonight. Unfortunately, the observor was back in Cuba, so the team wanted to rely on the paper they had received.

Once that mini-crisis was resolved, the game started, and in the first inning, the first argument of the night occurred — about the location of the ballboy of all things. Cuba contended he was too close to a direct line behind the plate; Puerto Rico responded that he was where he had always been. People got more exercised than the issue seemed to warrant. The ballboy moved a few feet, and the game actually proceeded.

Cuba2_1Things got really hot in the bottom of the seventh, when second base umpire James Hoye called the Puerto Rican baserunner safe when the Cuban shortstop was pulled off the bag on a force play, allowing a run to score and leaving two men on with none out. The Cuban manager, Higinio Velez, complete with intepreter in tow, came out and argued the play vociferously and when he refused to stop arguing he was thrown out of the game. (The interpreter was allowed to stay). The bench partially emptied, and it took some time for order to be restored, with the crowd roaring the entire time.

Replays showed Hoye clearly made the correct call. This was not a "neighborhood" play where the pivotman is given the benefit of the doubt. The throw was wide, and the shortstop was pulled off the bag when he caught the ball. When the dust settled, Puerto Rico scored one more run and had the tying run thrown out at the plate to end the inning on a perfectly executed relay play. The final argument of the night occurred in the eighth inning when the Cuban first baseman Barrero bobbled a throw in the dirt and the runner was called safe. Again, replays showed umpire Rob Drake made the right call, but that did not stop Barrero from jumping four feet in the air several times and complaining about the call.

The real mystery tonight was which Cuban team would show up, the one that got thumped by Puerto Rico last Friday in a game that did not matter — or the one that handled a Major League star-laden Venezuela team on the opening day of Round 2. And at the end, it was the latter. The Cubans were much more animated and spent the entire game standing and rooting on the top step. And they don’t make many mistakes on the field.

Cuba_3_1By the way, from what I can glean from our information, meetings with Cuban officials, the story in today’s USA Today, and conversations with IBAF officials, this is not a team of Cuban second-stringers, as has been suggested in some of the postings. These are the best players Cuba has to offer, including perhaps the best player from the island, second baseman Yulieski Gourriel. Their whole lineup is made up of veterans of international play.

I don’t think you get to see the anthems on television from all of the games, and they are pretty cool. All four flags of the participating teams are together, along with a flag with the Classic logo. In addition, there is a flag for each of the two competing teams at the head of their lineup along the baselines. They play the anthem of each of the teams and the host country. Tonight, all that was followed with a five-minute firework display that got the crowd even more frenzied before the game started.

Responding to some of the news today, ESPN the Magazine is just plain wrong in stating that somehow our drug testing protocol for this event is less that the WADA standards, or is in some way deficient. From the very start, it was imperative that we have a drug testing program that complied with international standards (i.e., WADA) so as to avoid any chance that any countries would run the risk of losing certification by participating in a non-sanctioned international event. The MLBPA agreed to these standards long before the negotiations last year that resulted in MLB’s new comprehensive 50/100/life drug program agreed to during the off-season and in effect this season. The testing program in our event is being run and administered by the International Baseball Federation. This list of substances that was submitted to the players was taken off the WADA web site. That the list may now have been amended is frankly irrelevant and a red herring, and not our responsibility.

Some media got out in front of our discussions here about Major League games continuing in San Juan. The fans here have been great. The promoter has done a terrific job. He would like to bring more games to the island. We are disposed to do so, and have talked to him about it, but we need teams and schedules that would accommodate it. We certainly will look hard at 2007 and 2008 for a limited number of games, and if we can squeeze some in this year, we are not opposed to reviewing that. Up to now, however, we have spoken to no teams about giving up home games to travel here to host a series or two.

Good coverage in USA Today on Wednesday. In addition to the Cuban story mentioned above, there are two stories about the nascent event’s popularity. I think it is also interesting to read the evolution of the postings to my reports. They have gone from issues the first couple of days about whether the players would try and skirt the pitch count restrictions (which has generally proven to be an irrelevancy), to real unhappiness that not all the games have been televised on readily accessible cable outlets in realtime. While none of us likes to disappoint any fans, for a maiden voyage, that’s a back-handed compliment. If no one wanted to watch, our problem would be much more serious. This one is remediable in 2009.

On to San Diego where, I am sure to the surprise of many US fans, at least two of the teams will be predominantly or totally made up of non-Major League Players.



    For anyone who missed the japan and Korea game tonight you missed a great one. Have you ever seen such excitement and passion from a USA player during the MLB season for hitter a double and bringing in 2 RBI’s ?? I mean even in the World Series you dont see that.


    Ok, we have 14 pitchers I think. D. Wellis has blown it twice and should not pitch anymore. Roger has only pitch in one game 5 innings aganist the easiest team South Afica. So, we dont really know how good hes stuff is yet. I think Todd Jones and Sheilds have looked better to me than anyone.


    Since we have two out due to injuries we should add Bonds and Smoltz now if we are going to win this thing.


    Team USA without a doubt needs a miracle to win at the rate they’re going at. I agree, Bonds and Smoltz would do the trick. Even if the big chap doesnt get a HR or RBI, we saw it in the giants, just by having him on the team the rest of the players have more confidence and drive.
    I’m hoping for a Cuban US final, it would be explosive!


    Again Bonds said he would play if MLB asked him too or called him. So i dont know what you are waiting for Bob.


    Again more of the same, this type of event needs to be broadcasted on national TV for all can see it. The Olympics is this way and the world series and also the little league world series. If you cant accomplish this then don?t have it at all.


    With Cuba over Puerto Rico 4-3 and Korea over Japan 2-1 yesterday was one of the best days of baseball that I’ve ever seen. It’s a shame the audience was limited to ESPN Deportes (who carries this channel??) and the computer telecast. It’s lame that ESPN wouldn’t pick up those two games on ESPN/ESPN2. It’s also lame that the ESPN web site continues to treat the WBC as a footnote compared to their cataclysmic coverage of March Madness.

    As for Bonds, it’s a close call but I think I’d rather see the U.S. lose than to win with Bonds.

    Here’s hoping the Rocket gets the U.S. past Mexico and into a great rematch with undefeated Korea on Saturday.

    Bottom line: despite the kinks and glitches, the baseball’s been fantastic.


    I think that Velez argumentation about the second base safe call was right. All the tough decisions benefit the PR team. Here in Cuba we think that if you still quiet then the umpires will never show respect. In fact I think that the referees think twice to make an adverse call to you if you argue and show a strong personality.

    A Cuban Fan


    I was really upset that I was not able to watch either of last nights games, especially after seeing the higlights. Me being Dominican I have pretty much focused on the caribbean teams but those Koreans are something special. before the WBC began I was hoping for a DR vs. USA final since we Dominicans have believed we could take them with are stars but now it seems that the Koreans are the team to beat.

  10. Ivonne

    the call at second base was correct…i have watched the replay over and over …there have been doubtful calls in all games…i really dont think there is a general bias on the umpires part….congratulations on winning….

    and congratulations to the Puerto Rican team for showing good sportsmanship at the end of last nights game by joining the Cuban team on the field and congratulating them to show what this is all about…i am very proud of my boricuas…

    the number one female puertorican baseball fan, without a doubt…..


    If Barry Bonds joins team USA I will not watch any more of the WBC…and so far I’ve loved every bit of it (check my last two posts). Honestly though I think there are two huge stories in the baseball world. The first, Barry Bonds, represents everything that is bad in baseball–an egotistical steroid abusing monster intent only on gain for himself. The second, the WBC, represents everything baseball should be, passion, desire to win, enthusiasm, and patriotic chills. Please for the love of God do not mix the two, seeing Barry Bonds in a USA jersey would make me ashamed to be an American and ashamed to have bought my WBC USA hat. I’d rather the US lose to Mexico tonight without bonds than have him and win.

    And I agree with everyone Bob regarding TV scheduling, though perhaps this is more the fault of ESPN. That I had to stay up and watch updates on my computer for both a great Cuba-PR game and an amazing Japan-Korea game, made me really angry. It didn’t make sense for me to buy the games on seeing as half the tournament was over anyway. I think you should give it to a network who in the future will be able to show all the games (For somereason Time Warner Cable doesn’t have ESPN deportes in the NYC area…ahhhhhhhhhh…) I would have gladly watched either of those games in Spanish I wanted to see them so badly.

    After all, baseball is baseball, no matter what language the commentator is speaking.


    I haven’t seen the Korean’s play yet, are they really that good? Or is it just the teams they’ve had to face…lets face it, the pools were so uneven, or atleast as far as the types of teams go.
    Bonds is a joke, he should have his stats altered for the time he used steriods. Saying that, all the stats from that era need to be changed…its a horrible situation, especially if Barry doesn’t retire before he makes it worse by passing a great man who EARNED his status as an all time home run pounder. He’s big enough to hit a ball between states, but not enough to own up. Mr Selig, tell him where to take his punctured ***


    Korea really is that good. One game could be considered a fluke, but they’ve now beaten Japan twice and the US soundly once, not to mention a really good Mexican team. Even if this is the weaker bracket (and I’m honestly I’m not convinced it is seeing how Japan and Korea have played) Korea having thus far gone 6-0 is clearly a lot more than a fluke.

    And I agree someone should at least put an asterix next to Bonds name. I can’t believe he’s going to at least pass Babe Ruth and maybe aaron as all time HR king. Sad sad sad.

    So tell me Christopher, can we expect the UK to participate in the next WBC?


    you guys kill me. Who ever knoes of Babe Ruth or Hank Arron ever cheated someway or somehow? how about yourselfs, have you ever cheated or altered or fixed your resume or something at your job to help you cain a raise or anything, huh? Still so far there is only allcations and no real proof that bonds is guilty of anything. Either proof him quilty or shut up about him and stop calling him a cheater.

  15. pochtecatl@cox.nt

    I don’t think the pools are that uneven. They might have seemed that way on paper, but the asians have prove to be as competitive as any other country; Korea and Japan might be the greatest surprise of this tournament. They have soundly beaten Mexico and the US, the teams which were, expected by most people, to be in the final four in San Diego. Thanks to the the WBC we now know baseball is alive and well all over the world and not only in North America and the Caribbean.

    I think Bonds should stay out of this tournament not only because of the drug issue but because the tournment has already started and we sholud let it play out, whatever the consequences might be. Let this be an example for players in the future so that they can understand that if you want to represent your country an play for Team USA, you must be there from the beginning and not just when “it is convenient for you”. The US has enough quality players anyway to pull a miracle and still win this thing, bad umpiring aside.

    Finally, I also think that thw WBC has shown baseball to be a more “democratic” than that other sport played worldwide (soccer) in that it is clear that, at any given time, there could be 7 or 8 teams that could win this “International Cup” and not raise any brows. Seriously, after watching the high level of play, would anyone be surprised to see Cuba, Dominicana, P.R., Venezuela, Korea, Japan, the U.S. or even Mexico win this championship? In soccer, Brasil could field 3 different teams and still be the favorite by far, and there are only 4 or 5 teams that can seriously hope to beat the Brasilians in a good day. Having said that, there are countries that have great potential to grow baseball wise, like Colombia, Brasil, Argentina, the UK, China, Russia, etc.

    Great initiative, great tournament, I couln’t be more excited about the future of baseball world wide.



    I think the book itself is proof enough he’s guilty. We’re talking grand jury testimony from people who were directly involved with Bonds as well as federal investigators. Bud Selig doesn’t start an investigation into a player because he’s probably innocent.

    No I’ve never fixed my resume to gain an edge in anything and I don’t think most normal people do that…

    And I think its pretty safe to say that when Ruth and Aaron played they didn’t cheat…steroids in baseball didn’t exist then. If anything Ruth hurt himself with his extravogant lifestyle! He could still have been homerun king for all we know.

    So take your bonds thumping-USA hating rhetoric elsewhere. We will win tonight, with Roger Clemmons on the hill, without D. Lee and with some good solid baseball.


    new08, by your logic there’s no point in trying to prevent or penalize cheating, since what the heck, everybody probably does it… so why have any rules at all?

    I used to live in SF and had a helluva good time watching Bonds hit bombs out of Pac Bell Park into the bay. So like most Giants fans I gave him the benefit of the doubt for a long time. But at this point the evidence is overwhelming. Bonds isn’t the only guilty party in all this, but still he’s the epitome of MLB’s steroids scandal. So there’s no way he should be added to the U.S. team.


    I am loving this tournament but cannot understand why these games arent selling out all the time! I hope next tournament you try to hold a pool in either Toronto or maybe Monterrey or Mexico City.

    One thing that bugs me though is that I read an article on an Italian baseball website that of the players who actually speak Italian and are from Italy, barely got playing time! Thats a disgrace you allowed such soft citizenship rules. Why would Italians get excited about baseball when they arent even true citizens?!

    I actually think a good idea for making the European countries feel they are more then teams to beat up on, allow them to hold a pool over in Italy or the Netherlands. Actually give them a good chance to see their players play.


    Amazing games… can’t wait to be there in person tomorrow, rooting on Cuba. There has been so much BS said about them in articles and by those first ESPN2 announcers (declaring them dead after the 1st PR loss, questioning their coaching, calling them cheaters, etc.).

    I strongly disagree that the Cuban 2nd base call was correct. The standard “neighborhood” call is to protect players. The 2b was clearly avoiding a high slide aimed right for his privates. The media played up the Cuban protests, which were more a result of over-excitedness – and previous bad calls. Their celebration was one of the most heartfelt I’ve ever seen – beating an $80million All-Star team on their home turf!.


    Great tournament! Absolutely amazing to see every team playing for the name on the front of the jersey. Can’t wait to watch the semis. All teams in the second round played their heart out, Cuba, DR, Puerto Rico, Mexico, etc. Just to point the only bad note in the WBC, Bob Davidson. First the Japan fiasco, followed by two controversial calls in the Mexico vs. USA, one of them being clearly and evidently a wrong call. First the out at first base in the 2nd inning, which I think was an out, but can be overviewed just as a close call which could have gone either way. The second one, the homerun in the 3rd inning. The ball clearly hit the foul post at least 3 meters above the fence. As you said in a previous post Bob, it would be unfair to question Mr. Davidson’s integrity, but if he truly made all of these bad calls honestly thinking he was right, then he is plain and simple, just a bad umpire, saying that just to avoid upsetting you and giving Mr. Davidson the benefit of doubt, but honestly I think his judging is clearly biased and unfair to every team against USA. Either way I think we don’t want to see Mr. Davidson in the semis, the MLB and the 2009 edition of the WBC.


    Well, The better team is advancing TEAM JAPAN, they got cheated with the USA. The glassic is great but the USA didnt play well at all. I think they went 5 for 39 with runners in scoring pos. A. Rod had no hommers, Mark Texeria no hommers….shame shame. Plus Mike Young blow it for us tonight with Mexico when he was suppose to bunt the runners over to 2nd and third but for some stuipd reason pulled the bat back took a stike down the middle and left jeff fran to hang out to dry.

    And what a very bad miss called on the homerun that was cleary about 6 to 8 feet over the wall and off the fail poll. that was the worst call ever. Bod Davison should never be allow to call another game. everyone saw it was a homeone but the 4 umps didnt see it. wow. if mexico doesnt score that run that inning and the USA wins by one run I would not have watched the rest of the USA games.


    I don’t see why many people view asian baseball lowly before this tourney. After all even though I don’t like Japan, me being Korean(we don’t like japan too much), they do have the second best baseball league after MLB. Their goal was to win it all this year. Korea was a surprise even to me and many other Koreans. We hoped to make it to semi final, but not in dominating fashion like being undefeated and even whooping US of A soundly. Now it’s time to beat Japan again for the third time and embarass Ichiro who stated before this tourney that he’s going to make Koreans think that we can’t beat them for next 30 years or so by whooping us badly… well, that statement was a joke after Korea whoop their *** twice and now it’s going to be the third time come semi finals…


    Always so impatient new08, he’s a busy man to be writting articles all the time.
    Did Bob not realise that after his first bad call, if he made another one it wouldnt just ruin his rep, but the rep of the WBC being held in the US. What a t**t!

    Thats made me very glad team USA are out now, it would be a farce if they were in the semis playing like they’ve been and with their team stats…rediculious for a team of such calibre(on paper).


    From Michigan I baught tickets to San Diego the second they went on sale. At that time I wanted to see two MLB all-star line ups battle it out. The beauty of buying the tickets was that it gave me a huge interest in the WBC despite the negative press it started out getting. I watched every single game (I had to do this on instead of my TV) and now that the final 4 are set I could not be happier. The USA played so poorly they do not belong in the Semi’s. A rematch of Japan and Korea will be excellent. Cuba vs a star studded Dominican Team (the true represenatives of the MLB) is a dream come true. I can’t wait. California here I come.


    Mr. Bob Davidson really caught a break with the Mexican win and all his bad calls turned out to be irrelevant. I do not really know what MLB authority is thinking about, but certainly this time no one will be fooled by the explanation such as “bad calls are part of game” nonsense. No, not after three bad calls all against the opponents of the team USA.


    Team USA *****. They cannot beat Mexico even with 10 players (including dear Mr. Bob Davidson). They are really deserved to be kicked out. The two semi’s will be very exciting games. Can’t wait to see.


    I?ve heard that Bob Davison and crew may umpire either semifinal or final. If that happens, its like WBC are saying (accepting the fact) , (1) Since the Team USA is out, he will call a fair ball game from now on, (2) Who cares who umpires the final four games. Baseball has being known for ?game of inches? Japan?s tag up was proven to the world that it was a bad call after carefully watching the replay. But I just can?t believe an umpire at any level of baseball judges a blast by Mexico?s Mario Valenzuela did not go over the fence. The ball bounced off the foul pole (Mr. Davison, if a ball hits a foul pole it?s a homerun, in case you didn?t know) well over 5 feet above the fence. Mr. Davison, I suggest it may be time to either hang up your umpire?s mask or get a set of eyeglasses or restudy at umpire school.


    Bob, it is a shame that WBC is still using Davidson. If he made such a bad call in Japanese Professional league just one time, he will be suspended for a while in the minor leagues. No one believes he is calling what he thinks is right. If he think he is, he should quit his job. Maybe MLB is paying him or committing his return to MLB for his favorable calls to USA or otherwise, how could he be so stupid for making such little league calls over and over? It is just a shame for USA and I think that bad call in Japan’s game lead US out of the tournament. I am sure that US ball players are not guilty, but those bad calls certainly got US team out of rhythm ending up in place where they do not belong and deserve. I think if not for Davidson, US have made it to the finals as team US don’t need any help from umpires to win games. What the heck losing to Japan they have enough ability to come back on their own. I really hope we don’t seem him again in the semis or finals. He is a shame for USA and world baseball fans. We should vote right here if he should leave or stay.


    Push the games back to Sunday!!! Please do not make us sit in the rain for a double header. More people will fill the seats on Sunday then if they keep in on Saturday. Be logical. Make the call!!!!


    Bud Selig you’re pathetic!!! What a wimp! Controversy has always been part of the game??? That is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. That’s your response to an umpire clearly making another blatantly biased and incorrect call. On top of that you can’t decide if you should investigate the biggest scandal (“Barry steroid Bonds”) in baseball since the Black Sox. Resign now and save MLB from more international embarrassment.

    No post from Bob today because he doesn’t know how to spin doctor the US lost despite the best efforts of Mr. Bob Davidson! With the US eliminated we now truly get a World Baseball Classic with players that actually show how much their national pride means to them and not just the dollars.


    Dear Mr. DuPuy.?I honestly believe you love baseball and will never do anything to hurt the game. You have giving your heart out to make the WBC a success. Only to find that there was an umpire who thought by doing a favor for the Team USA, he could get job back as a MLB umpire. You have tried to cover for him, but he does the same thing over and over. I also feel sorry for the rest of the young umpire crew who probably knew in bottom of their heart that those controversial calls are all wrong but can?t say it out loud because of the seniority. I wish WBC is here to stay. WBC has a potential to be just as big as World Cup Soccer. So please don?t jeopardize the existence of WBC by allowing some one to umpire any more games who only think of himself.


    I’m not sure WBC can compete with the football world cup for a while – but it certainly has the potential to be a Division 1 international sporting event and that is what baseball needs.

    I’m pleased to see most US fans have accepted their elimination with good grace – winning it next time should be all the sweeter for you. These short tournaments are not lotteries – or the Cubans would not have so dominated them in the past. But there is a style of play which succeeds in them. Good pitching, excellent defence and good ‘small ball’ execution. A line-up stuffed with big boppers can be spectacular but it lacks the required consistency unless they happen to click – and the timing of the event militates against that.

    Incidentally the much-maligned World Cup was last time contested in the final by Cuba and Korea. And there they are in the Semis of the WBC. And what semi-finals! Dominican Republic’s big boys against a Cuba who still aren’t playing to full potential (they will need those red jerseys) and Japan with a third chance against those pesky (but brilliant) Koreans. Should be a lot of fun 🙂


    The only thing I don’t agree about the WBC is that in the semifinals the teams should cross, meaning DR vs Japan and Korea vs Cuba. Why make Japan and Korea play a 3rd game? If they are the best two teams in the world lets them play each other in the finals. I think USA didn’t want to face a Caribbean team until the finals, but it didn’t work out as they expected.


    I am still trying to accept the loss of USA from Mexico. Buck Martinez was trying to give excuses for the loss. The bottom line is that the Caribbean and Asian Teams came to play and play they did. I understand that the USA players were concerned of injuries. But the rules were the same for all, especially in protecting the pitchers. I say to Buck, the players knew they were playing. Were they thinking, the Next Guy will be in shape? The Next Guy will get the hit? Well somebody forgot to recruit the Next Guy.

    I will wait patiently for the next WBC. Please provide us with the correct time listing and channels. The game listings were a mess.


    Chandler, AZ


    The US arrogantly underestimated their competition. They thought they could get by with players like Randy Winn, Vernon Wells, Matt Holiday, Michael Barrett, Brian Schneider, Gary Majewski, Dan Wheeler, Brian Fuentes and Al Leiter.

    How does Al Leiter replace Billy Wagner if the US was taking this tournament seriously? Pitchers like Roy Oswalt, Chris Carpenter, Barry Zito, and Mark Buehrle should have been on the team. Hitters like Grady Sizemore and David Wright should have been on the team instead of the team. Serves us right to be so arrogant to think that we would make it into the finals without the best players available for every single roster spot.


    Congratulations for WBC Bob. Not everything is perfect, but what have been achieved is historic.

    Baseball has gained as a sport, the world baseball community has strenghtened and we are seeing nice games.

    I am Cuban and living in Cuba. When I tried today to sign-up for WBC newsletter I found ¡Cuba is not in the country list for registering in the WBC site! ¿Do we still have to win two games to be included?

    To be here I decided to register as Puerto Rican, being grateful as I am for the support they gave our team, except when we play with them and for the nice reaction their team and their fans had when they loose with our team.


    I really don’t care for the Semi-Final draw. It just doesn’t seem right that Korea and Japan have to face each other a third time, for the right to gain entry to the WBC Final. It would seem to have made more sense if the Pool 2 Winner was playing the Pool 1 Runner-up, and the Pool 1 Winner was playing the Pool 2 Runner-up.


    Hi Bob,

    Thanks so much for the blog. As an employee, I followed the WBC wholeheartedly, and was hopeful that people would embrace the games and that the competition would be strong enough that it would keep the interest of folks that might not follow baseball during the regular season.

    Despite the US team not making the cut, it was amazing to hear the crowd in Puerto Rico, an amazing din of noise at all times. The talent that was dispersed amongst the various teams that represented each country was amazing. I think it’s wonderful that Korea has come through the way that they have, playing small ball, with seamless defense and extraordinary pitching.

    I wish the US team made it into the final rounds, but I think that this is a gigantic plus for baseball. Every game that I have watched has been (for the most part) a nail-biter. I can’t wait to see Korea vs. Japan II. It should be a great game.


    Dear Bob,

    I am a Cuban living in the US, politics aside I’m very proud of the job the Cuban team has done in this tournament. They have prooven that they can hang with the major leagers if anyone had any doubt. Over the last 18 years I have argue with friends that Cuba could beat a team of major leaguers, and they never believe me, they always said no way that would happen. Well in 1999 we got the first clue when Cuba played against the Oriols and gave them all they could handle in Havana and them blew them out of the building 11-6 @ Candem Yards. Then came the defections of Livan, El Duque and Contreras and what do you know they all have World Series rings, yet my friends did not believe me, well now most of them do because not only they’ve beaten major leaguers but they have beaten 2 ALL Star caliber teams, others say it’s a short tournament and they got lucky.

    Gentlemen I tell you, for what I’ve seen so far the team they had in the 80’s and 90’s would had put this team to shame and would have done even better, they had Yulieski Gourriel’s caliber players or better at every possition one of them was his Dad, not to mention “El Nino” Linares(best 3b in the world not toplay in MLB) and pitching they had 5 or 6 guys just like the one’s waring rigns now. It’s a shame they never got a shot in the majors or in a tournament like this.

    Bob the tournament it’s been great, the quality of the games has been supreme but for the love of god do a better job next time at televising the WBC, It’s the cream of the crop playing and to see the games you have to go to bars that play socccer games because they are the only places that carry ESPN Deportes(Most Cable and SAtellite providers don’t carry it).

    I agree with others that the semi’s should be crossing pools with Pool 1 winner playing Pool 2 Runner up and Pool 2 winner playing Pool 1 Runner up and the Winners advance.

    The US got eliminated for one major reason, INDIFERENCE. One thing I never liked about MLB is how indiferent and cold the american players are, if it wasn’t for the Latin players MLB would be unwatchable, they are like robot’s program to do things in a certain way and don’t think or play outside the box and with their heart in it; great players but with a few exceptions, no spark. When ESPN televised the games from Puerto Rico you could see the intensity of the players from the Caribean, in fact we saw more emotion from some of the Latin MLB star players than we have seen in years, add to that the festive enviroment and you have electricity running thru your veins.

    The US was indiferent and even a bit arrogant to think that by showing up with a bunch of All-stars the competition would tremble and go UhuhUh… there is Jeter UUUHHH…. that’s A. Rod (who seems to jinx every team he goes to), well it did not happen as Korea, Japan and Mexico showed us. If it wasn’t for Mr. **** Davidson wanting to get his old job back so badly, they might have very well been 0-3 in the second round, thank god Cantu push Valenzuela in or the integrity of the tournament would have been in jeopardy.

    Last but not least I want to take a shot at Buck Martinez and the ESPN crew that covered the Japan Vs.USA game, they saw in the replay that the japaneese player went after the ball had been cought; talked about it for 2 innings and when they interviewed Buck and he said he was glad that Bob Davidson got it right, they should have had the integrity to tell Buck he was wrong and they had gotten a gimme.

    By the way what was that all about -Buck ” Bob you have to get this right” to which Mr. **** Davidson replyed “don’t worry I’ll get it right” and then proceeded to get it WRONG.

    Today I’ll be in San Diego rooting for Cuba, rooting for Baseball and for the Players not for a dictator that has oppressed my country for 47 years, so come on and join me and may “BASEBALL WIN”.


    After such sound 8 first paragraphs in a letter, one can only feel sorry for somebody finding necessary to:
    – explain and excuse himself for rooting for Cuba

    – finish with a political insult “politics aside”



    Nice to see someone else has noted ‘the curse of the A-Rod’

    Also congrats for being able to put politics aside and support your team. Its CUBA on their jerseys not another name beginning with C…

    Lets be clear – MLB has the greatest pool of talent in world baseball by far but Teams Cuba, Japan and Korea have proved its not quite a monopoly!


    As it was written in the World Baseball Classic comments “Team USA needed some help to qualify” but you got it wrong, not the way you try it. Shame on you. If you are not retired yet, please think about it. A million lies are defeated by a single truth


    Hi, Just wanted to let you folks know. The Japan Korea game Wed in Anaheim was the most exciting baseball game that I have ever been to.
    Great pitching, excellent defense, great fan involvement, and a Korea win needed for the USA to advance! WOW!!! This game was what the whole tournament was about! Take a bow, you’ve done a wonderful job!

    For the record this was posted about 3 weeks after the finals. I had the great pleasure to go to 11 of the games. What an experience! It was great being around so many baseball fans from around the world. Yankee and Red Sox fans sitting side by side, rooting for team USA.

    Special thanks to you for getting this event together, and especially to my wife for putting up with me for the 2 months prior to the games. She attended 6 of the games(including the semi’s and finals) and my daughter’s were at 5 games also.

    Looking forward to 2009! We’ll be the first ones in line for tickets! Thanks again, dan from still not sunny, but the skiing/boarding is still great Ca.

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