Okay, allow me one more foray into the "why isn't this tournament taken seriously here" questioning.
New thought: Baseball doesn't necessarily lend itself to the round robin/single-elimination tournament format. Baseball games, unlike other sports, can be won on any given night by any given team due in large part to pitching matchups.
For example, it's really not that big a deal for the Pirates to beat the Yankees in mid-July. In a four game series, the Yankees would probably win 2-3 games on average over a team like the Pirates. Unlike in basketball and football, one game is an extremely small sample size in baseball, especially when you are trying to determine who really is "the best team."
Therefore, it can be harder to take a tournament seriously when a team of 20+ major leaguers loses to a rag-tag bunch from Holland (err, Holland's territories) in a couple of one run games and be promptly dumped from contention. Basically, I have just rehashed Billy Beane's entire argument from Moneyball as to why the playoffs, specifically the best-of-five Divisional Series', are a complete crapshoot. This could be why it's hard to feel as though the true "best country" has been crowned baseball king of the world.
However, it still doesn't excuse getting mercy-ruled by a territory you OWN.
Onto the nightly notes:
I had completely forgotten that South Korea actually won the last installment of baseball in the Olympics in Beijing. As they handed Oliver Perez his second straight drubbing last night, winning 8-2 in an overwhelmingly pro-Mexican environment in San Diego, they're looking as dangerous as any team remaining in the tournament.
Dice-K last night: 6IP, 5 hits (all singles), 0R, 8K, 0BB. I've had this guy on my fantasy team the last two seasons and I think that may be his best start in the states ever. Seriously. He just does not drop lines like that in MLB play.
So long to the nice story that was the Netherlands. Sure, they had absolutely no offense to speak of damn near the whole tournament and got outscored by 20+ runs, but hey, we need more VanderHousensmits playing ball. I promise in 2013 not to bitch about y'all being invited to this thing, as long as you change your name to the "Dutch Antilles."
So the U.S. lives another day and will play another elimination game tomorrow against the loser of tonight's Puerto Rico-Venezuela matchup. Jimmy Rollins and Brian Roberts brought the bats, and Roy Oswalt pitched four shutout innings in a 9-3 win. And some jackass reliever from the Marlins nearly started a bench clearing brawl against the friggin' Dutch due to some Dutch player staring at a HR too long. Hey douchebag, maybe this Dutch guy was just shocked that there was a U.S. pitcher shitty enough to give up a homer to FUCKIN' HOLLAND. Anyways, the pitcher is now injured and heading home. I nominate Brandon Webb to replace him.
It was Robert's first appearance with the team, as he was added to replace the injured Dustin Pedroia. Chipper Jones and Ryan Braun also left the game (and now the team) with injuries, leading to a comical situation where Brian McCann was playing left field in the 9th inning. Chipper says his injury could just have easily as happened in spring training, and anyone who's surprised by his injury or puts the blame on the WBC probably HASN'T BEEN FOLLOWING CHIPPER'S CAREER THE LAST 6 YEARS. Anyways, here's to a speedy recovery by opening day.
However, the Chipper-Braun-Pedroia injuries bring up an interesting point. Why the hell does the U.S. have to resort to bringing in Brian Robers halfway through the tourney? Why are they putting a chubby catcher in left field? Shouldn't these teams be assembled and managed like actual baseball teams with intentions of winning the tournament (pitch counts notwithstanding)?
We've already seen the Dominicans lose a game because they decided to enter this Classic without a true first baseman. The U.S. brought 15 pitchers (mostly relievers, another dumb move) to this thing. Could they not have used one or two of those spots on another outfielder? And if your backup LF (Chipper) is out for the game, it's probably not a good idea to use up anyone else who could possibly play that position (Youkilis, Dunn, DeRosa, Victorino). Rick Sutcliffe mentioned this last night, but teams need to start thinking about winning this tournament, not just throwing together a bunch of names or taking the first available volunteers.
Don't know if anyone caught Jake Peavy's interview last night, but if OBJ's mancrush on Doc Halladay rules the roost, I'm ridin' with Peavy. Dude made no excuses for his performace, explained the issues with hitting his spots and his inability to make adjustments in such a short stint on the mound, said his velocity is still there and his arm feels good, then said he loves the WBC, his country and he wishes he could play in this thing every year. Class act. I can't wait to see him and Oswalt in Braves unis in 2013 when they're past their prime.