“You know who ended up winning? Baseball did, sports did, sportsmanship did,” Velez said. “What you saw here tonight, we have to do this more frequently.” By JEFF BLAIR
SAN DIEGO (23 March 2006) — The organizers of the World Baseball Classic knew they’d hit on a winning formula the second Team USA was eliminated from the event and Alex Rodriguez talked for 45 minutes about what he’ll do differently in 2009.
It was a refrain heard elsewhere throughout the event, which culminated Monday night with Japan’s 10-6 win over Cuba at Petco Park in San Diego. Continue reading
“We all deserve a little more Cuban baseball,” writes JEFF BLAIR in the Globe and Mail on the eve of the final of the World Baseball Classic. “More Cuba. Less Lasorda.”
SAN DIEGO (Monday, 20 March 2006) – WHAT WE ARE WITNESSING is nothing short of a conquest if not an outright theft of a national pastime. They have turned major-league millionaires into paupers on the baseball field, and tonight, in a city that bills itself as “America’s finest,” despite a fiscal crisis that has left it broke, Cuba can record a win for the ages.
In the shadows of the U.S. Pacific Fleet and in a state that was the magnet for America’s westward expansion, Cuba will play Japan in an improbable final game of the inaugural World Baseball Classic.
The final, set up when Cuba beat the Dominican Republic 3-1 and Japan shut out bitter rival South Korea 6-0 at Petco Park on Saturday in a day of baseball that drew a total of 83,907 fans, validates the legitimacy of the WBC.
It has also answered a riddle about how many members of the Major League Baseball Players Association it takes to hold a WBC final? The answer, in 2006 at least: two – Japan’s Ichiro Suzuki and Akinori Otsuka.
It is permissible to refer to the Chicago White Sox as the World Series champions, but it is fraudulent to call them the world champions. Continue reading
Globe and Mail reporter JEFF BLAIR quotes a Cuban reporter: “All I can say is, there’s a famous phrase that a Cuban reporter uses. It’s ‘You can draw your own conclusion.’”
SAN DIEGO (18 March 2006) — QUESTION: How many Major Leaguers does it take to hold a World Baseball Classic final, anyhow?
Answer: Not as many as everyone thought.
Cuba’s national baseball team took its act to the belly of the beast Saturday and sidelined an all-star squad representing the Dominican Republic 3-1 to advance to Monday’s final game, against the winner of a game between South Korea and Japan that was played later Saturday. The Cubans, an amateur powerhouse whose players earn about the equivalent of $20 (U.S.) per month in the Cuban league, knocked off another team laden with Major Leaguers, Puerto Rico, to advance to the semi-final round. Continue reading
JEFF BLAIR, Globe and Mail Baseball reporter on the Second Round quarter-finals
SAN DIEGO (18 March 2006) — NEVER UNDERESTIMATE the beauty or deep meaning of a literal translation, especially when the person saying it is one of the game’s international icons. Continue reading
Miracle on grass: Canada beats US at World Baseball Classic
JEFF BLAIR, Globe and Mail Baseball Reporter
Team Canada’s Adam Sterm highfives infielder Stubby Clapp
PHOENIX (9 March 2006) – WHEN HE LEFT for the World Baseball Classic, Adam Stern’s Boston Red Sox teammates said they’d be waiting for him to return soon.
They thought Canada didn’t have much of a chance of advancing to the second round and that the centre fielder from London, Ont., wouldn’t be absent very long from the team’s spring training in Fort Myers, Fla.
“I guess I have a few phone calls to make tonight now,” said Mr. Stern, who turned in a once-in-a-lifetime performance yesterday in a once-in-a-lifetime win for Canadian baseball: a shocking 8-6 defeat of the heavily favoured United States. Continue reading