It Ain’t Over ’til It’s Over …………


It Ain’t Over ‘til  It’sOver  ……….





Well the  round  robin  phase  of  the  World Baseball  Classic   is reaching  its  culmination.  And  already  we’ve  had   one   or  two  surprises.  But  none  more  so  than the  elimination   of  the  presumptive  favorites from  the  Dominican Republic. Personally   I  feel   that  it’s   down  to  the  curse of the  A-Rod.   His  asinine   too-ing  and  fro-ing   has all   but  led  to  his   teammates  allegedly   despising  him and he   no  doubt   using  them as a  crutch.  Much  like he’s   used those   around   him  including the Yankees’  organization  to  hide   his much   darker  side.  



The Netherlands'  players  are   triumphant   having  just  eliminated the Dominican  Republic  from the  World  Baseball  Classic  in  the  round  robin  elimination  play  of  a game played at the Hiram Bithorn Stadium in  San Juan Puerto Rico.  picture appears  courtesy of  getty  images/Al  Bello  .............
The Netherlands' players are triumphant having just eliminated the Dominican Republic from the World Baseball Classic in the round robin format play. The game was played at the Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, Pueto Rico. picture appears courtesy of getty images/Al Bello ..........




Well   for  now   it’s  all  over  for  the  Dominican  Republic  as  far as the  Classic  is  concerned.  They  now  can  head back  home  and  lick  their   wounds   and  whatever other  body   parts that    are  in  need  of  a  cure.  As   for  their  conquerors   the  Netherlands.  They  can  now   look   forward  to  the   scrutiny  that   they’ll  now   be  placed  under.  So  much  so  that  this  might   be   the  biggest  sporting   story  to  hit  the  country  and  its  territories   in  quite   a  while.  The  fashionable   thinking   is  that the  event   deserves   something  of  a  Cinderella story   to it all.  In  order  that  it  can   further  capture  the  public’s   imagination.    As  to  the  supporters  of  the  Dominican  team   I’d  dare   say  that   they’re   drowning  their  sorrows   in  several  glasses  of   some   sort  of  alcoholic    beverage.   But that’s  for  another   time  and  place  as  we  certainly  wouldn’t want  to  delve  into  that particular  area .  Given  the  puritanical   nature of  this   domain.



David  Ortiz  of  the  DR slides  safely  into  second  base in  the  game  played against the  Netherlands.
David Ortiz of the D.R slides safely into second base in round robin elimination game played against the Netherlands. picture appears courtesy of getty images/Al Bello ..............



Whilst  on the  face  of   it  this  event   has  caught  the  attention  of the  public .  Has  it  actually   given  us all   that  we’d hoped  for ?     And  better yet  one ought to  be  asking  is  this  is  meant  to  the  prestigious  event    that  we’re  being  told that   it  is?  Then  why  is  it that  it’s   not   being   given   more  of an   exposure   to  a  greater   viewing   audience  than  merely   being  placed   on  the  omnipresent    channels  of  ESPN ? Is  the  house  that   Mickey  built  intent   on  world   domination when   it comes to  sport’s  programming ?   It’s  one thing  to  be  told  that  this  is  the  biggest   international   baseball  tournament  in the  world.  But  it’s  another  thing  when   it  barely  registers   a  blip  as  to  the  viewing   audience   in  terms  of  a   television  presence. Internationally   we’re told that the  event  will  be  televised  in   some  200  plus   territories  and   that  the  attendance  for  the  games  internationally  will  be  large.  This  has  been  borne  out   in  Puerto  Rico , Japan and  in  Canada.   But in  reality  when  the   greater part  of  the  viewing   public   that’s  shown   a   keen   interest  in  the  sport is   primarily  here  in  North  America .  The   case   for  the  perceived  argument   that  the  game  has  indeed  caught  on.  The   foundations   for  it   can  be  made   but   where are   the  fruits  of that  labor ?



Tom  Stuifenbergen   pitches for  the  Netherlands on their  way   to  an  improbable  win  over the  Dominican  Republic .
Tom Stuifenbergen of the Netherlands seen here pitching his team to an improbable win over the D.R that'd eliminate the presumptive favorities from the tournament outright. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Al Bello ......................





The  Classic  as  it  now  stands   will   live  and  die   by  what   now  takes   place  over the  ensuing   weeks   until the finals  are   played.  And as  the  teams  are  whittled   down. It’s   hoped  that  the  US  team  can  acquit    itself well.    At the  inaugural  event    the  US  team   could   do   no  better than   make   it  to  the  quarter   finals.  And  an   eighth    place   finish   was  deemed   less  than a  successful   endeavor.   It were   as  if   the  country  were reliving   the  ineptitude   shown   by  the  US Olympic    basketball  team of  2004  all  over.   Perceived  as  the    tournament   favorites.  They   went  in with  all   of  the   bravado  and  narcissism   one   would   come  to  expect   from a  bunch  of  overpaid   superstars  expecting   just   to  flaunt  their   athletic  prowess,  feeling  that their opponents  would   succumb  to  them   in  one  fail   swoop.   That  wasn’t  the  case then   ,  nor  was  it  in  2006.  This  time  around  they’re  hoping  to  fare  better and  no  doubt   prove  that   they’re   far  more  superior  than  the  other  contestants   competing  in the  competition  itself.




Ottiz of  the  D.R   pops  up  against the  Netherlands during   the  round  robin  elimination  game.
Ortiz of the D.R. pops up in the game played against the Netherlands in the round robin phase of the tournament. picture appears courtesy of getty images/Al Bello ...............




As  to  their   likely   opponents  will  be   should   they  make  it all  the  way to  the    finals.  Well   it  could   come   down  to   which  of  the  teams  in  question  will  want  to  win  it all  more.   The  list  is   a  varied one  stemming   from   Japan,  Cuba , Mexico , Korea , Venezuela  and  the  darlings   of   the  event   so  far   the  Netherlands.   Does  that mean   that  there’ll  be   someone rooting   for  the  underdogs  ? But  there’s  more  to  come as the  round  robin is  not  yet   completed.  Suffice  to   say   it  could  make  all  make   for  a  very  interesting    sporting  spectacle  when  it’s all   said  and  done.  The   one   thing  one   has  to  admire  however  is    the  zeal  with   which   many  of  the  teams  have   played.  Even  those   who  aren’t  perceived  as   contenders   for   the  event   itself.  They’ve  come  to   play  and    enjoy   themselves  no   doubt.  All   in  the spirit  of   competition  and  to   facilitate    camaraderie   of  a  sport  that’s   growing    in acceptance   in  some   parts  of  the  world.  While   here  at   home   it’s  still   steeped   in  a  cloud  of   controversy ,  impropriety  and  a   complete  lack  of   leadership  from  its   hierarchy.    Which  at  the  end  of  the  day   it’s   a  shame   because  if  it   weren’t  for  that   I’d  say  that   the   game    has  a   real  chance   of  being   accepted   worldwide  as  a  pastime and  recreational   sport   that’d   be  on  the  rise.   



Yosbany Perza  hits the  winning  two  run  home run  that'd  lead  Cuba   to  a 5-4 victory  over Australia  .
Yosbany Peraza hits the winning two run home run that'd go on to lead Cuba to victory over the Australian team. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Luis Sanchez .....................




But  for the  incompetency   shown  by MLB and   the   fact that   it  doesn’t  feel  that   it  ought to  be  dictated  to  once  the   game  goes  beyond  its  borders.  I  think   that  this   game   would   be   one  where   it’d   be   welcomed  more   internationally.   If  it  can’t  get its  own   house  in  order   how do   they   think  they  can  aspire  to   teach  and  help  the   game    foment  and   cement  itself  abroad   at the  international  level  ?












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