Wrapping up the World Baseball Classic
After traveling to San Francisco to cover the third World Baseball Classic on site, I can say that this event is great for the sport of baseball worldwide.
As an analyst you make predictions based on what you know. So it is tough to make predictions in this event. I took a lot of heat from Team Puerto Rico because they felt I was making excuses for Team USA losing to them, when I said they didn’t look as ready as Puerto Rico because PR has winter ball. I was not making an excuse for the US! It was a nice way of saying that the US needed to start working and playing together sooner.
Team PR had five Major League players on their roster. The entire US team was made up of big league players. But to be honest, before Japan played PR in the semifinals, I was going to pick Japan to win. Right up to the point that I found out that Team PR were so mad at me, thinking I was making excuses for the US. Then I changed my pick and went with PR.
If a team is so passionate as to get that upset by my comments about the US, they are there to win. What Yadier Molina did to upset that Japan lineup was impressive to say the least. He had his pitchers get the ball and throw it. They took no time in between pitches. Hitting is about timing, and the Japanese are known for the high leg kick at the plate. It is a timing mechanism. Molina did all he could to disrupt that, and PR got to final, where they eventually lost to the DR, 3-0.
This brings me back to why I believe Team USA needs to pick a team and start playing together sooner. Because the art of hitting is about timing.
Having the general manager of the DR, Moises Alou, on our MLB Tonight postgame show last night, I asked him directly what he did differently for the event this year from years past. He came right out and said he chose players who had been playing winter ball. He felt in the past, they weren’t ready to perform at their highest level because they hasn’t been playing.
In any case, I really like this event. It was awesome to get to witness first-hand the pride all these countries take in the fact the name of their country is on their chest!