WBC Awesomeness

2009-world-baseball-classic-logo2I don’t know how you feel about the sport of baseball, but I love it. In sports terms, it is my first love, my great passion. It’s the greatest game ever invented, and I’ll tell you why – baseball is the perfect combination of individual sport (batter v. pitcher) and team sport (don’t think baseball is a true team sport? just ask the Yankees how spending a ton of money but not having a true team has worked out for them for the last few years). Baseball is the perfect combination of the ‘any-given-Sunday’ mentality (can anyone say Appalachian State v. Michigan 2 years ago?) and the typical ‘you have to be better than me to beat me’ dynamic of golf.

The best baseball story of the year so far has come from the World Baseball Classic. It’s the story of a baseball juggernaut stomping all over a no-talent rival twice in the first round on their way to WBC dominance. Wait… sorry, that was the story in the 2006 Classic.

This year, the story is David beating Goliath… twice. The Netherlands, a near no-account team with only one major leage starter on its roster, has now twice beaten the Dominican Republic, a team filled with major league rising stars, current and former MVPs, World Series winners, and some of the biggest names in baseball.

In sports we love to see David beat Goliath, a la the Appalachian St. victory over Michigan. We love to see the guy you never see coming take down the ‘big dog’. The huge upset win happens with fair regularity. There are upsets in every major sport every season, but Netherlands over Dominican Republic is a special one in my mind. Here’s why – the first time they played (earlier this week – Monday, I think) it’s easy to say that Dominican Republic was just ‘looking past’ Netherlands to a game they thought would be tougher. When you look past an opponent, any opponent, you open yourself up to the possibility of being surprised. But, after losing on Monday, it seems inconceivable that Dominican Republic could have looked past Netherlands again. Yet, last night the Netherlands team pulled off what I consider to be one of the greastest upsets in sports history – they beat the powerhouse Dominican Republic team again.

The truly unfortunate thing is that baseball has lost so much traction with American culture that most people won’t even hear about this stunning turn of events. But for me, and for the millions of fans that baseball is gaining around the world, this is every bit as phenominal as the 1980 ‘Miracle on Ice’, Buster Douglas beating Mike Tyson, or Villanova beating Georgetown in the 1984 NCAA tourney.


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