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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Dominicans Dominate WBC

Wild on Sports
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Dominicans Dominate WBC
By Wild on Sports Analyst Kyle Kargel
The MLB has said that the World Baseball Classic was a success despite the all-out brawl that occurred between Mexico and Canada in pool play. The Dominican Republic proved to be the best team outright after going undefeated throughout the duration of the tournament finishing 8-0 and winning the championship game against Puerto Rico 3-0.

The Dominicans weren’t the only team to shine during the tournament though as a couple countries surprised the rest. The remaining Latin American teams in the WBC did what they could to impress baseball fans from around the world. After finishing fifth in the WBC in its first two years of existence in ‘06 and ’09, Puerto Rico gave all they could to the Dominicans in the championship game. Two of their three loses were to the Dominican Republic which will leave a sour taste in the mouth of the Puerto Ricans. Sour tastes might be left in some of the LA Dodgers organization as well when shortstop Hanley Ramirez was injured during the championship game and opening day for him is in jeopardy.

Cuba’s roster had few players with MLB experience, but considered to have one of the best shots at winning the title according to the International Baseball Federation, which has the Cubans ranked first overall. The Cubans fell short though after not making it out of pool play and losing to the Neatherlands twice in their last three games.

A few MLB players stood out during the duration of the WBC. Some might give a boost of confidence when the beginning of the MLB season rolls around. Netherlands’ shortstop Andrelton Simmons looks to claim the Braves starting job this season, and in eight games Simmons batted .333 with two homers and six RBIs. This has got to put a smile on the face of Braves skipper Fredi Gonzalez.

Also, let’s not forget about American David Wright who led all WBC players with ten RBIs in just four games before bowing out with an injury to his back. Maybe with Wright in the lineup the U.S. could have beaten Puerto Rico and maybe advance to the championship game. Robinson Cano of the Dominican looked to be in midseason form after leading all players in total hits and averaging .469 during the tournament, which the Yankees are going to need if they want to make any sort of noise in the AL East with all the injuries and player departures that have happened this offseason.

In what some call the heavy favorite going in, Japan was on a quest to become the first back to back to back champion of the WBC as the tournaments only champion thus far, but their journey fell short to Puerto Rico in the semifinals after accumulating a 5-1 record before that game. Unlike in years past though when Japan had the likes of Ichiro, Hideki Matsui, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Yu Darvish, they were left with minimal or no MLB talent on their squad this year so some might say they out performed some teams that they shouldn’t of like the U.S., Mexico or Canada.

Disappointment came when the Mexicans were unable to advance out of pool play. They failed to win a game all tournament with popular MLB players like Sergio Romo, Alfredo Aceves, Yovani Gallardo and Adrian Gonzalez. Also, they managed to get themselves in a bench clearing brawl against Canada as I mentioned earlier which seemed to be the headliner of the whole tournament. Many haymakers were thrown as well as a water bottle and baseball that were thrown from Mexican fans at Canadian coaches. This happened late in the game when Canada was up big and attempted a bunt single which they were successful at. The Mexican players took offense to this situation and repeatedly threw pitches at Canadian players until the fight begun.

The WBC should be even bigger in four years as countries around the globe continue to display their talents in the MLB and other pro leagues in the world. On a lighter note, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico decided to show respect toward each other after the last game. As the Dominicans were celebrating on the field, Puerto Rican catcher Yadier Molina decided to lead his team out of the dugout and onto the field in a sign of sportsmanship with the Dominicans. The opposing sides shook hands and hugged it out in a well-played championship game and tournament.  

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