It was a stone cold groove, my man. The WBC was a huge success. I had a healthy skepticism going into the event, but as I chronicled, one of the main goals of the trip was to see first-hand whether or not this event was a joke, or would become a quadrennial institution.
Japan beat Cuba 10-6 to take the 1st ever WBC title, congratulations to them. Yet, this was about oh so much more than that to this observer. You see, the BBHeckler’s mission is not to regurgitate boxscores that everyone already knows. Go see ESPN or your computer for that. It’s not to give you guarded, vanilla, spineless, condescending journalism w/no culpability. Go see most of today’s corporatized/’Country Club’ journalists for that.
The BBHeckler mission is to bring you the intracacies/nuances of the game, the flavor if you will. All of the many pieces of the puzzle that go into winning a game that has infinite possibilites/outcomes. To make the game more real, more alive. Accomplished in an unorthodox style that always aspires to be fun, witty, irreverent, and true.
Fun, witty, irreverent, and true. Fun because people aren’t having enough of it these days. To START acting like a child, rather than to stop. Witty because we like to laugh, learn, be original, and share. Irreverent not for the sake of irreverence, but rather to live for the things we believe in, than believe in the things we live around. True because it’s the only way to be, and we’re in a down cycle of truth these days, especially in baseball.
Baseball is the great equalizer. A sport that in its essence can make everyone feel like they’re 10 years old again, when all we cared about was making sure there were enough players for a pickup game, and the teams were fair.
Laughter, cerebral exchange, and tolerance. This is what the WBC was for so many people from so many different countries. Foreigners chanting to opposing fans, "My team’s better than yours!…My team’s better than yours!"…not "You root for the other team, so I’m going to rip off your head and **** down your neck, and then bury you alive!". I can’t count how many times I saw an opposing fan applaud a good play by the other team. Respect. The Koreans taking a solid infield practice. The Cubans playing ‘pepper’ pre-game in the outfield. Great talks with complete strangers. ‘The Wave’. LOL.
Baseball is flourishing worldwide. Yes, American baseball will have to endure a 3-5 year hangover from the Steroids binge. Let our toilet humor be the aspirin, as we try to make sense of it all, and ‘out’ those who cheated the game, and, subsequently, all of us, the fans.
The WBC exemplified, to the BBHeckler’s delight, how baseball was meant to be played. That’s enough for this fan. WBC 2009 already circled on the calendar.
Peace, E Maj
(Note: The next WBC will be played in 3 years, and then every 4 years after that. This was done to play the next one in 2009, and not ever compete w/another World Event such as the Olympics, or the World Cup…Ed.)
Gearing up for the Final game tonight between Cuba and Japan. Korea bowed out to Japan, 6-1 for their first loss of the tourney, after previously beating them twice. Cuba upset the powerful Dominican Republic to advance.
We had the pleasure of watching Korea and its fans 4 times over the past 9 days. They were a true Cinderella story, not losing once in the 1st 2 rounds. Their play exemplified fundamental baseball one learns early in one’s Little League career. Mistake-free defense, team play, tough at-bats, good base-running. The fans embodied the spirit and purity of the great game of baseball as we knew it. Cerebral, engaged, active, kind, fun. We learned a lot about their style, and their culture.
A Korean cab driver named Charlie and I philosphized on Eastern/Western philosophies, and how one can see the world through the eyes of baseball. Learned more history in 15 minutes than in a semester at school. Thanks Charlie.
"Han Dae Min Kuck!" no more. Unfortunately. Translated it means "KOREA!", chanted to a ‘One….TwoThree….Four!’ beat/cadence. The Korean faction would sing it/celebrate to it ALL game. In the parking lot. Everywhere. Good times. Come back soon.(2009)
Peace, E Maj
Getting ready to watch Roger Clemens(for the last time?) try and help the U.S. grab a WBC semifinals berth. On TV. WHATTTT???. You’re 1/2 mile from the stadium BBHeckler, you’ve worked for 9 hours today. Go pull the Jedi mind trick on some unknowing scalper and have him pay you to go to the game! After 9 hours of reading, writing, faxing, taxing, organizing, criticizing, planning, business structure, yadda, yadda, yadda—-there’s still 3736 hours of **** left to do, give or take, including another 5 hour session tonight.
Isn’t that hypocritical?. I thought you told us "Work to live, don’t live to work!"
Indeed, I did. Admittedly, what I have going on right now is completely overwhelming at times. Imagine trying to run a restaurant and open 2 others, metaphorically-speaking, with limited manpower. Parallel or not, that’s how I feel these days. That’s also what wakes me up in the morning.
Long story longer, by not taking the 5 hours of ‘being there’ tonight, I’m knocking off a bunch of busiwork, and taking my break tomorrow, when I take a sidetrip to go watch my 7 and 3 yr-old nephews play hoops and have dinner w/them and my sis+bro. That’s what I’m talking about.
I have tickets to all 3 Finals games I’ll chronicle and hone my writing, as well as another 18-20 hours of the aforementioned behind-the-scenes stuff awaiting me in SD.
Tomorrow, I get to be Uncle E.
Peace, E Maj
The U.S. team, thanks to Korea, once again has its fate in its own hands. With one of those hands being the right hand of one of the best pitchers in history, tonight’s SP Roger Clemens, a berth in the WBC Finals is there for the taking.
Mexico will not lay down, and will have a big crowd contigent spurring Castilla, Cantu, et al. MEH-HEE-KO! MEH-HEE-KO!. They Mexican fans were a lot of fun on Sunday night. The tequilla will flow for them ‘el rapido’, either in the mourning of defeat, or the elation of an upset victory.
Quick Rundown of Scenarios:
|U.S. advances if:|
|It defeats Mexico|
|It loses to Mexico, allowing 1 run in a regulation game (8 innings in the field)|
|It loses to Mexico, but does not allow a 2nd run until after it has played 8 2/3 innings in the field|
|It loses to Mexico, but does not allow a 3rd run until after it has played 12 1/3 innings in the field|
|It ties with Mexico, allowing 3 runs in 14 innings|
|Japan advances if:|
|The U.S. loses to Mexico, and allows 2 runs or more before it has played 8 2/3 innings in the field|
|The U.S. loses to Mexico, and allows 3 runs or more before it has played 12 1/3 innings in the field|
|Mexico advances if:|
|It defeats the U.S., 3-0, in 13 innings|
Peace, E Maj
(alright, it’s inning 2 and I hacked into the WBC server at the field…jk…brought the laptop, and I am on their signal….nice…wireless at the ballfield, surreal)
Pre-game–Watched both teams take infield, then the anthems….Ichiro is the only Japanese player w/his socks up..Question:.Why don’t the cameramen have to respect the National Anthem by standing at attention?..Can one eat a hot dog AND sushi at a ballfield?…well, i am…Korean crowd is big and fun and active…I just learned how to chant ‘Korea’ in, well, Korean….when i learn how to spell it, I’ll share
(T1) Watanabe, the Japanese SP is a sidewinder w/a jerky windup…think BH Kim(he’s Korean, i know) when he first got to the league…tourney MVP thus far Mr. Seung Yeop Lee(Korean for: Stud) Lee hits a 2-2 pitch HR, just foul…gets backed off the plate….3-2 count now…filthy, filthy changeup….somehow Lee fouls it off….that’s all he could do, that’s what the great ones do…just told Watanabe "your best isn’t good enough beeyatch"…next pitch is a 58 footer…Ball 4.. (B2) 2 outs, Akinori Iwamura trying to score from 2nd on a 2-out hit to right gets gunned down on a one-hop laser by Jin Young Lee…man, if I’m having trouble pronouncing some of the names, what would Elmer fudd say?….(that’s a t-shirt…whoops, just gave it away)…. (B3)Chan Ho Park(is he w/SD now?) is pitching for Korea, and he looks really good tonite(i meant pitching-wise, *****., not in those pants!)..i can now officially spontaneously combust (t4)..alright, screw it, let’s add a variable, I’m gonna start drinking…this is Day 5 and i’ve haven’t had but a couple beers..i know i know..hecklers need their sustenance…I’ve been writing and reading non-stop out here..12-14 hours/day…so bite me.. I’m calling the beerpen…ALL ABOARD!!…so let’s recap, we have…a stadium full of crazy Asians, WBC, Live A.D.D., wireless, and what the f, let’s throw some alcohol into the mix as a real-time experiment, no spell check, no nothin’..(b5) this game is flying.. 0-0..whoooaaaa!…just got the report Cuba won 4-3 over Puerto Rico…Cuba advances w/the Dominican to finals….
(t6) Watanabe for Japan has pitched 6 one-hit innings..just cracked beer 5, including pre-game…that used to be an inning for me, now it’s a full day..Michelob Light tonite(for the winners)… Watanbe’s line 6 1 0 0 2 3….he’s my new favorite guy named Watanabe…. (t7) Bum Ho Lee up, (i like saying Bum Ho)…guy on 2nd, one out…..CRACK OFF the BAT!!!…HOOOOO!…aw ****!!!…20 feet short of the fence…I’ve officially turned into the guy who stands up on every fly ball…bad for business…B7 and Byung Hyung Kim(Colorado, Boston, Arizona) is on for his 2nd inning….K…1 Out…The apolcalypse is near if Chan Ho/Byung toss a shutout….just kidding…these guys have a lot of national pride like all the players/teams and it’s elevating them to a new level….kinda like Michael Bolton-like state, I can’t get ‘How am i supposed to live without you?’ out of my head from Bolton…AAAGHHHHHHH!!!!…Is it because I haven’t seen the BB Duchess in 5 days? Is it because I’m gonna miss crazy flag waving crowds?…Maybe it should be the theme song for every major leaguer that used to do Steroids and Amphetamines…"after I been loving you so long"
COGENT THOUGHT INTERRUPTION: Both of these squads play fundamentally great baseball, it’s been such a joy watching this game. Everyone is hanging on every pitch, and both teams make every single play. They really do. No errors. Good risk management on the bases. Intensity. Fans that are into the game. Good stuff……..now back to fragmented thoughts :)- ***Ladies and…. People Who don’t smell so Good, we just had a counter clock-wise ‘Wave’…..with apologies to Luther Ingram, "If loving this is wrong, I don’t wanna be right"…this place is a circus, and E Maj likey…. (t8) it’s Puff-Puff..(0-0)..ummm, zero to zero….I was rooting for a high scoring game, as it betters the Americans chances, but now we’re here, and the purist in me is taking over….great game….w/1 out, kim on 1st for Korea…base hit by Lee #1….Kim tries for 3rd, throw beats him, but is dropped by 3rtd base man…..wow…Japanese IFs all go over to the 3B umpire….we’re sitting 20 rows up w/ the perfect angle on the LH batter’s box side….he definitely dropped it….can’t help but think about the call from the other night….infield in…Lee #2…double to left, scores 2…2-0 Korea!!!!….place is rocking!!!!….Seung Yeop comes up and has his first bad swing of the tourney, popping out….slacker..:)…Lee #3 should be in the states next year…look for him
B8—-one out….pitching change…..everyone’s dancing to some funk song….if the camera comes on me, I’ll put on glasses, do the Robot w/laptop in hand, like Lewis from Revenge of the Nerds…BBDuchess would be so proud(sarc.)……(pee break)…..they’re booing Ichiro vehemently….(it is a 75% Korean-friendly crowd)….flies out to center…on to the ninth we go…. t9– Korea goes down 1-2-3….on to the bottom of the ninth…. before it gets hectic in here, let me say this is unreal….Baseball is not going away….I was skeptical of this WBC, but it’s going to stick….Steroids will linger for awhile, as will the taste of the salty nuts the peanut vendor said to put in your mouth(peanuts…peanuts)….trust me, we are going to be all over the Steroids thing…(break-in)…B9–1st batter Nishiouka goes deep to left…doh!…2-1 Korea now…awesome theater…we can do without the pyrotechnics Petco Park…OK?…6-3 groundout, 1 out….LH Koo on mound, #4 hitter Matsusomething at the plate…2-2….why am I typing every single pitch?…why do they say to rinse, then repeat?…why don’t you just tell me the movie you’d like to see?….base hit….pitching change…. More Japanese like the song "Whip It" by the Dazz Band than Koreans…..there’s your Cliff Clavenism for the night….Yelnic McGwawa is in the house… I got up and danced..it’s either I like the song,t the ber, did i just call beer, ber?..or it’s the fact hypothermia is setting in and I have to move…b9)–2-2 countr, 1 out, and the ump scratches his nuts,..the pitch…Arai strikes out for the 2nd out…this place is going nuts…Zen has identified a Korean Get-up Guy…so i feel a little better that the Get-up Guy(def.–guy who implores the crowd to get up, as 30,000 people are JUST ABOUT TO GET UP) transcends all races, all genders, all nationalities of baseball fan idiocy..deep breath..1 ball 2 strikes…guy on first…Strike 3, and the place is going wild…I’ll write a postscript tomorrow, but gotta enjoy this for now.. Korea 2 Japan 1…Peace, E Maj
The Dominican Republic beats Venezuela 2-1. DR in, Venezuelans out. Winner of Puerto Rico vs Cuba today cops the other Pool 2 Semifinal berth.
Pool 1 is not so simple.
Lots of scenarios, but once again the U.S. is not in control of its own fate. In this round robin format, the first tiebreaker is based on a RA(Runs Against) model. Through 2 games: Korea 2-0 RA=4, Japan 1-1 RA=5, U.S. 1-1 RA=10. If Korea wins vs Japan, they’re in. If Japan wins, the U.S. needs it to be a high scoring game because they would lose the tiebreakers before even stepping on the field Thursday vs Mexico. Japan wins and allows 7 runs or less, buh-bye U.S. Japan wins and scores 6 or less, buh-bye U.S.
The easiest scenario is Korea and the U.S. win, they’re in, but Japan will be very motivated after the umpiring slight against the U.S. Back soon.
Peace, E Maj
Game 2: Korea 2 Mexico 1:
I wanted y’all to get the vibe of what was transpiring last night. Thought we’d bullet-style the Game Recaps to comment on what we see, and put you right there w/E Maj. (in boldface and parentheses is the particular inning)
- (1)–they’re announcing the players both in English and their respective languages, nice touch, also quite educational
- (2)–5 of the first 6 Korean batters are named Lee…S.Y. 1B, and #3 hitter..hits a 2-run yak, I’ll note later he never gets cheated at the plate, gets his hacks in…
- (3)–these Koreans are very pesky, lots of long At-bats, have Rodrigo Lopez(Balt.) Mexico SP up to 61 pitches one time through the lineup, and 72 pitches after 3IP…Lopez will be chased soon due to the 80 pitch limit, but has pitched well, one mistake
- (3)–Jae Won Seo(LAD), Korea SP, sets the 1st 6 down…Luis Garcia grounds a seemingly playable grounder to Korean Gold Glove 3B Bum Ho Lee(i like saying Bum Ho Lee) that Bum Ho lets go foul….Seo barks at his 3B…next pitch, Seo misses over the plate….Garcia deep RightCenter…score 2-1…someone like Greg Maddux would’ve waited ’til after the inning to yell at someone…youngster mistake by Seo…
- (4+5)–did I mention both crowds are going absolutely nuts the entire game? picture World Cup Soccer, or those nutty England soccer games….anyway, found it very interesting between innings, the Koreans were very much into the ‘KissCam’, but not the next inning when they showed the Bloopers….figure it out
- (7)–interesting how the Koreans are playing the RH Garcia who homered earlier, LF Lee is WAY over toward center, yet 3B Bum Ho is hugging the 3B line…i’ll have to inquire to the Sources about this one
- (7)- 1st well-executed ‘Wave’ I’ve seen in years…+ Happily Participated In!!!!…i might be crying right now but, but i think my noxious foot odor is possibly evaporating any moisture on contact
- we saw a 1-6-3 Bunt double-play executed by Mexico, on a pretty good bunt too…Wow!…
- (8): SS Jin Man Park, leads off w/a 9 pitch walk, great AB, amazingly the 1st of the game issued by either side
other Notes: the Korean fans cheered loudly when Luis Garcia, Mexico LF, ran like 2 football fields to catch a flyball on Park in the 5th….nice
the pitchers/Ds held the teams to 8 hits, there were no errors made, and only one walk issued, some great D in the field….purist’s dream….
Peace, E Maj