Pop Goes The World

Michael Cox

Well, the WBC (“Brought to you by the Larry the Cable Guy movie”) is over, and all I can think about is how ESPN couldn’t delay SportsCenter until after the trophy presentation. Now that’s no respect. ESPN, the worldwide leader in making sure you know how St. Joe’s did in the NIT tourney.

Then again, Cuba didn’t help matters, taking so long to play their games that I started looking for Joe Torre in their dugout. By the eighth inning of the final, the same crowd who had just been chanting “Cuu-ba! Cuu-ba!” started booing Higinio Velez’s pitching changes.

The one factor in this final to attract any American audience at all: Ichiro! And he didn’t disappoint, with a typical Ichiroian performance that, had starter Daisuke Matsuzaka not been brilliant, would have earned him the MVP and sent Howard Lincoln the rest of the way to Forehead Vein City.

Spring rust (that’s the US team’s excuse, and they’re sticking to it) and George Steinbrenner aside, the WBC sure beat watching spring training games. And all you Red Sox and Yankee fans are going to have to step it up a whole ‘nother notch after watching Japan and Korea.

Speaking of Korea, you can also thank Ichiro for The Quote, without which I doubt the Koreans would have done half as well. Problem is, he didn’t say what the media said he said. There’s an excellent dissection here from someone who knows a lot more Japanese than I do. And here’s a rather benign pre-WBC story with The Quote actually in context, from Japan’s largest newspaper. As usual, though, the facts didn’t faze the sports media, who made a lot of strangely ironic noise about “eating his words.”

Speaking of words, I leave you with some words about the only real controversy in the WBC — the game-changing sacrifice fly call by umpire Bob Davidson in the USA-Japan game, courtesy of former Hanshin Tigers manager Senichi Hoshino: “Any umpire who makes a mistake like that should just quit. It is bush league.”

Dude, if i had a dime for every time I thought that…

about the author

Michael Cox made a special point of personally thanking Taco Bell for their WBC sponsorship. Explain why the drive-thru people were angry using our contact page.

Published March 21, 2006

Google Custom Search