Drew Fairservice: March 2009 Archives

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While it lacks the glitz, glamor, and nubile cheer squads of the NCAA basketball tournament (Go Noles?), the World Baseball Classic rolls into the semifinals tonight. The final four offers some interesting match ups and storylines with the tournament increasingly turning into a battle of attrition.

A study in contrasts tonight in the classico du monde. The Venezuelans play a style akin to good pornography: big bats, big tits, big hair, and big dicks. They've saved their biggest gun, Felix Hernandez, for the potential final so they're sending a slimmed-down, less-dickish Carlos Silva to the mound tonight. Venezuela's success is dependent on connecting the strong starting pitching directly with their closer, hopefully bypassing the scrubbish bullpen. Korea will send Suk Min Yoon, best known for not giving up a run during WBC play and for being a Korean guy.

The Korean team is rather hard to pin down for average fans* like us because they nearly all play only in the KBO. Their defense is airtight, their pitching staff is full of guys with funky deliveries and they've got a surprising amount of pop in their lineup. If they can keep the ball in the park, they'll have a great chance against the Latin rivals. If Carlos Silva's sinker barrage keeps the Korean's off the bases and the bats come around, Hugo will be a happy man tonight!

So drop any pithy comments or observations as the game progresses here, or lament the state of your bracket away from Rob's judging eyes. Enjoy!.

* - Not me, I've been to TWO Doosan Bears games. I ate Burger King and marveled at the bizarre seating arrangement. It was bliss.

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It's Saturday night, it's actually starting to look like spring, it's the second round of the World Baseball Classic! Thanks to somewhat bizarre format that doesn't measure all wins equally, Team America must take on the mighty Puerto Ricans.

Tonight's game is being played on somewhat neutral ground in Miami with the US of A sending Jake Peavy against the emotionally crippled Javy Vasquez. The United States will be without starting second baseman Dustin Pedroia (creampuffed), non-Putz closer Brian Fuentes (initially bereaved but eventually creampuffed) , and manager Davey Johnson (stepfather of the groom aka crabpuffed).

Barry Larkin will take the helm tonight, auditioning for a real managing job with a thankless role bereft of credit but ready-made for all the blame. Good luck Barry! Internet sensation Chipper Jones took batting practice and felt good, attributing most of his positivity to the "humongous manatee he bagged Friday morning." He'll be limited to DH duties tonight, leaving plenty of time to pack his own buckshots between at bats.

Team Puerto Rico comes in undefeated and more motivated than I can possible fathom. Clubhouse bragging rights are one thing, but colonial bragging rights live forever. Geovany Soto will be the designated hitter and motivational whistleblower for the PR. Your lineups:

THE USA
  1. S. Victorino CF
  2. D. Jeter SS
  3. L. Jones DH
  4. K. Youkillis 1B
  5. D. Wright 3B
  6. A. Dunn RF
  7. R. Braun LF
  8. B. McCann C
  9. M. DeRosa 2B
Puerto Rico
  1. J. Feliciano LF
  2. R. Vasquez 3B
  3. C. Beltran CF
  4. C. Delgado 1B
  5. A. Rios (!) RF
  6. I . Rodriquez C
  7. G. Soto DH
  8. F. Lopez 2B
  9. M. Avilies SS

In a word, this game should be incredible. These are two great teams that are assembled in very different ways. No questions asked Victorino has his work cut out for him, chasing balls around a massive field between one marginal outfielder and another grossly incompetent one. The PR team's defense is solid, but they certainly can't match up with the excellent bullpen and the top to bottom offense of the US. These are two favorites to win the whole tournament, sucks they have to play so soon.

The glogtential is pretty low tonight, but show your fierce national pride or your fierce xenophobic prejudice with some hearty comment banter. USA! USA!

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Those who may have been skeptical of the World Baseball Classic before needed only to take in the highly entertaining US/Canada game yesterday to realize these next few weeks are going to be a lot of fun.

USA 6, Canada 5: It doesn't take much to get 42 000 Canadians going. An early run, the chance to boo Derek Jeter, Dustin Pedroia & Kevin Youkillis on the same day, and a few well-timed Molsons (actually, Budweiser is the official beer of Rogers Centre) and you've got yourself a party. A party that Brian McCann crashed with his moonshot and Adam Dunn nearly shut down with his laser beam (no joke, Dunn's shot was still rising when it left the field.)

Team Canada came exactly as advertised, with great bats and zero pitching. Joey Votto and Russell Martin were the Canadian heros, giving me the opportunity to jump up and down like a little girl. 20 year old Phillipe Aumont provided a glimpse into the future by manufacturing then escaping quite a jam. JJ Putz is already in September Mets form, creating more drama in the ninth until Former Most Valuable Player Justin Morneau gifted him an at bat of little value. Putz coaxed Jason Bay into a lazy pop up to end the best game I think I've ever seen at Rogers Centre. It featured the best baseball crowd I can remember (only one wave, thank God) and nearly everyone was cheering for the same team! This experience figures to steel the US side going forward, scaring them into a maximum effort no matter who the opponent.

Netherlands 3, DR 2: The mighty Dominican Republic couldn't take advantage of the numerous opportunities provided by fat, unemployed Sidney Ponson. A bunch of faceless "Dutch" relievers shut the door on Papi and friends, I hope the decision to start offensive Juggernaut but defensive Clayface Hanley Ramirez at short and Wily Tavares in center, leaving Jose Reyes on the bench. Unearned runs undid the Dominicans, who now must get past Panama to force a potential rematch against this Dutch side. Pedro Martinez's performance was certainly a boon to Pedro's agent the Dominican team. Petey pitched three excellent innings, striking out 4 while handing out 29 resumes. The Dutch team, uhh, is full of Dutch guys that don't play in the big leagues? Congrats, fellas.

Elsewhere: Somehow the Korean team played two games yesterday, losing badly to the Japanese team before clubbing China like a human rights commision. Japan and Korea advance from the Asian bracket leaving China and TAIWAN to fight for the latter's independence ad infinitum. Puerto Rico got a tater tots from national hero Carlos Delgado and nationally recognized needer of pay checks Ivan Rodriquez. Pudge went off, hitting two tots en route to a 4-4 day. Venezuela beat Italy because Italy's participation is something of a sham and because Venezuela is stacked to the tits.

Today! Group D joins in on the fun, pitting the mighty Cubans against South Africa. A delightful fish out of water movie is dying to be made here. Mexico faces Australia in a group clearly drawn up by Felipe Calderón himself. Team America and Venezeula fight for the chance to move on at Rogers Centre today, a game neither side will be sweating as they know a date with Canada is the reward for losing. The Dominican side have a chance for redemption against Panama at 3:30pm, I'm sure many barns will be burned.