“That’s the way the cookie crumbles.” This was Mikey Juice’s inexplicable closing line to his outgoing cell phone message informing all of his mortgage clients that he was going to be out for a few days due to the birth of his first child (a girl – Madison – congrats, bro). How did he fit that line in the context of that type of message? We’re still not really sure. The Sherry brothers and I heard it when we tried to turn a three-way call into a four-way call last Thursday. It was easily the highlight of our week. And it’s apropos of so many things.
How did Japan win the WBC? That is the way the cookie crumbled. That’s really the only way to explain it. I watched most of the Japan/Cuba game, and I was genuinely psyched for Japan. I was glad to see their enthusiasm, I was glad to see their whole nation get behind them, and I was glad that this WBC thing was such a success (although Mike Sherry didn’t even realize it was even going on, as his comment articulated. As soon as you start broadcasting games at 10pm, he is not going to be among your viewers). Japan celebrated as much as any World Series champ, and rightfully so. But I have to be realistic; their win had a lot to do with the quirky, force-condensed nature of the tournament. It was difficult to avoid, as I’ve said. MLB had to come up with a format that wouldn’t wreak havoc on spring training and the start of the MLB season. They ended up with tie-breakers deciding more than anyone would have liked. In the first round, the US moved on with the same 2-1 record that Canada had. And Canada had beaten them. But if Canada had moved on instead of the US, Mexico would have moved on at 2-1 having been beaten by the US. In the second round, Japan moved on with the same record as, despite having been beaten by, the US. Same reason. Tie-breakers. Korea somehow beats Japan twice, loses one game all tournament, and watches Japan walk away with the hardware. Same with the DR and Puerto Rico kicking Cuba around multiple times, only to watch them move on. The favorites going into this thing were the US, the DR, and Puerto Rico, with Japan as the dark horse. And yet somehow Japan managed to walk away with the trophy without beating any one of those teams in the course of the tournament. That’s a tough sell. But that’s the way the cookie crumbles.
So let’s do a quick recap of the winners and losers of the World Baseball Classic.
1) Japan. Cheers to Captain Obvious. But they won when it counted, despite being victimized by a terrible call that almost cost them the tournament.
2) MLB. Congratulations, Mr. Selig. You gambled and won. The tournament was more successful than anyone imagined, and the games were genuinely exciting. Stars were born.
3) Korean baseball. Who knew? Hun Tak’s boys can play.
4) The game of baseball. Anything that increases the popularity of the game is a winner in my book.
1) Team USA. What else can you say? These guys are rightfully embarrassed. Let’s hope more folks get patriotic in 2009.
2) Korea. Because they got hosed.
3) The IOC. That’s right, the International Olympic Committee. Those jack*sses, wallowing in silly, anti-American sentiment, first kicked out the lone member of the IOC from the US, and then followed that by eliminating baseball and softball from the Olympics, calling them irrelevant. Whoops. Let’s face it – the move had little to do with anything other than trying to **** off the US. Were you fools watching the emotion that these teams played with? These were the first events eliminated from the Olympics in like 70 years. You’re going to leave rhythmic gymnastics, curling, badminton and archery, but you’re going to toss baseball? Now they look foolish. I hope they realize that and re-think their childish decision.
4) The Boss. He looked like a whiner on the world stage. A whiner who can’t spell.
5) ESPN. They made us sit through women’s softball, obscure tennis matches, and countless NCAA match-up shows when they could have been broadcasting some great live baseball games. It always amazes me that with the technology available today, the viewing baseball public can’t watch a game because the suits can’t figure out an efficient way to make money off of it. Let this be a lesson to all of the short-sighted local sports executives so h*ll bent on blacking out so many of their broadcasts for so many different reasons. More broadcasts equals more viewers equals more fans equals more money for everybody. Look at the big picture boys.
That’s the book on the WBC. Sorry to make you sit through that, Mike. But I genuinely enjoyed the thing.
I will most likely be out in the Rock tomorrow watching the Villanova game with Sean and Brian Rumble. Sean is a Villanova grad, and he almost gave birth to his pregnant wife’s baby while suffering through the last few minutes of the BC-Nova game yesterday. But they pulled it off. Big Joe (father-in-law) is still alive in the Jodi’s pool. He was on the right end of all these OT games. He tends to be lucky, generally. We’ll find out how lucky.
Welcome back, happymediums. Slowly but surely we’re getting the whole crew back together. I’m ready for the season. Spring training bores me. It tells you nothing. The Yanks are 12-13 in these games right now, which is right where you want to be, I guess. The starters are going to be a concern. Pavano and Wright are punch lines from this point forward until proven otherwise. Punch lines. I would find it hard to believe if we stuck another no-namer out there in the fifth spot having kicked off camp with seven starters. But we’ll see. Bernie (still my favorite Yankee) is having a monster camp. I’m wondering if he’ll be more relaxed as a utility player, although I wouldn’t be surprised if he didn’t wind up in centerfield 35 or even 40% of the time this season. If he does, he does. Hopefully Damon won’t mind. Sometimes, that’s just the way the cookie crumbles.