Sunday, March 22, 2009

World Baseball Classic: U.S.A. vs. Japan

It was still the game I've followed since childhood, but it was different somehow. Tweaked. For starters, there were words on the scoreboards that I had never seen before...

How do you dream about playing in the Honkbal Hoofdklasse when you're a little kid in the Netherlands? If their word for fireman is even slightly better, we're never going to see that country in another W.B.C.

I tried to settle in and enjoy the game. As a Red Sox fan, this made me feel right at home.

And what's a game of good old American baseball without Ichiro standing on second and Derek Jeter scratching his balls?

Team USA trotted out some legends to try and impart some wisdom on the younger guys. Welcome back, Cal. We've missed you.

The problem with the W.B.C. is that the American fans don't have any idea what they're doing there. I could see it on their faces and hear it in their half-assed cheers. I felt weird chanting "U. S. A.!" at the top of my lungs and didn't do it more than once. The thing is, we like Ichiro, Matsuzaka, Fukudome and Iwamura. We've adopted them as our own and it makes us feel weird to see them in some other uniform, playing against us. They've become part of our culture... but they will always be Japanese at heart.

The Japanese fans weren't confused at all. They cheered every strike, booed every ball and went crazy for each of the nine runs their offense put up for them. They looked like this for the entire game.

They had better chants, better headbands, better noisemakers and better posters. In the end, they got what they deserved.

I think the World Baseball Classic has the potential to become an epic test of patriotism and talent. Maybe the American fans will figure this out before the tournament rolls around again. I hope so. Without us, Team U.S.A. doesn't stand a chance.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Jeff,

    saw your post on John August's blog about "Why do people in LA Suck" and wanted to say one thing:


    Actually, a couple of things - I agree wholeheartedly with your assessment of the human condition. People are everything everywhere, and it's up to us to work hard to get to where we need to go. I hear people complain a lot about LA and NYC - and I've often been that person - but it's true - there are good and lousy people everywhere. I think it just takes people a while to realize that.

    Anyway, wanted to let you know I thought your post was cool and figured it would be better to post on your blog directly than be the 80th person to post on John's.

    And good luck on the horror film.