Tuesday, March 10, 2009


What a game tonight! The Netherlands beating the Dominican Republic 2-1 in the World Baseball Classic didn't have the political implications of the 1980 USA v Soviet Union "Miracle On Ice" Olympic hockey game, but the magnitude of the upset is just as amazing. This game was one of the biggest upsets I can think of. A vaunted Dominican team, loaded with Major League all-stars and future Hall of Famers, falling to a team made up of players from Holland, the Netherlands Antilles, and Aruba can only be described as unbelievable.

The report on ESPN SportsCenter highlighted the make up of the two teams.

Dominican Rep.
Current MLB Players
$83 million
MLB Salaries
$.4 million
2008 All Stars
Career MLB Wins
Career MLB HR
Note: Sidney Ponson has 90 of the 94 wins and Randell Simon has 49 of the 82 homeruns for the Netherlands.

The two teams squared off last Friday with the Netherlands winning 3-2. This was a shocker but most believed it was a one time event and there was no way the Netherlands would be able to advance. "That was a team we should have trounced 9-0," Dominican Republic manager Felipe Alou was quoted as saying after the game. To be honest, I agreed with Alou. Even though the Netherlands beat the Dominican Republic and put up a great fight before losing to Puerto Rico on Monday, I didn't see a way they could beat the Dominican again.

Because I am a baseball fan and enjoy having competitive games to watch in mid-March, I tuned in last night. Tension rose each scoreless inning as the Netherlands matched the Dominican pitch for pitch. Finally the Dominican pushed a run across in the bottom of the 11th and I don't think I was alone in believing the game was over. But the Dutch battled back and scored twice in the bottom of the 11th to win. Jose Reyes, Miguel Tejada, Jose Guillen, Miguel Olivo and the rest of the Dominican Republic looked on in stunned silence at a group of players, described by KMOX radio host Kevin Wheeler as "a team of has-beens and never-weres - whose best hitter is remembered more for his hit on a racing sausage than for his big league career" widely celebrated.

I've watched a lot of the World Baseball Classic games so far this year. Unlike a lot of baseball fans, I believe the Classic is a good idea and I enjoy it. I know there are flaws but, thanks in part to the 2009 team from the Netherlands, the WBC is on its way to fulfilling Bud Selig's vision when he began the WBC in 2006.

No comments: