Category: World Baseball Classic

A weekend to forget…then remember…then forget again…

I’ve watched 3 pitches of WBC ball in my life. And the third one resulted in a brawl. A brawl that is the new ‘thing that Canada baseball will be remembered for’. What a weekend!

Let’s start on Friday. That Italy game. Mama Mia! I was listening to updates on the radio, I didn’t even know that there was a mercy rule. What is this? My grade seven 3-pitch tournament? That’s a tough one to take.

On to Saturday. The brawl. If I had taken from the Italians like that, I’d be looking for someone to punch too.
I really couldn’t believe what I was seeing when it started. I didn’t see the bunt. The sound wasn’t on, so I didn’t have a recap of recent events. Just the melee. And it was awesome.
The only thing that would have made it better would have been to see Joey Votto and Adrian Gonzales stand toe to toe and throw $100 million bombs at each other. Can’t have it all, I guess.

***Footnote to the game – Joey Bats thinks the Canadian team are scum. Gotta respect the code, man: http://www.thestar.com/sports/baseball/2013/03/10/jose_bautista_canada_broke_baseballs_code.html

Then Sunday, blew it against the USA. Ernie Whitt showed us nicely why he is not a major league manager.

Ah well. Now if the Dominican can get eliminated so Edwin and Reyes can get back to camp.

So, to summarize this weekend in Canada Ball;
Our nation’s greatest embarrassment (Italy mercy rule debacle)
Our nation’s proudest moment (standing up for ourselves in the face of those pesky, code abiding Mexicans)
Our nation’s most recent reality check (USA bouncing us)
Bautista not cool with the bunt. He’s still a Canadian Hero though: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zjzqkS5VMRE
Yowza.

PS – Yankees are interested in Chipper Jones. That is fabulous. http://deadspin.com/brian-cashman-wants-to-sign-chipper-jones-but-he-needs-452412016

3 weeks until opening day.
3 WEEKS UNTIL OPENING DAY!!!!

#okbluejaysletsplayball
Powder Blue

Twitter: @powderblue77

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Bautista Not Onside with Team Canada

Jose Bautista is not convinced Canada did the right thing when Chris Robertson bunted for a hit with a six run lead against Mexico during the second game of the World Baseball Classic.

“I believe in the unwritten rules of the game,” Bautista told reporters Sunday morning. “They should be respected. It’s a code amongst players and everybody who plays baseball at a level higher than Little League knows what it is and there’s no excuse.”

Here’s another unwritten rule for you, Jose: Don’t comment on a tournament that you’re not participating in and don’t appoint yourself the spokesperson for the right or wrong doings of Canadian baseball.

Does Bautista not realize that if Canada, Mexico, and the USA all finished the first round with the same record, run differential was the next metric on which the rankings would be produced?  Canadian fans remember this all to clearly.  In 2006, Canada became (and still is) the only team to finish 2-1 in the first round and not move on because they lost the run differential tie break.

I think Bautista is a great player and someone other players look up to – but for a bright guy, he sometimes should know when to keep his mouth shut.  Whether arguing balls and strikes with homeplate umpires when he’s slumping (you rarely see him say anything when he’s hot) or defending Yunel Escobar after he was suspended for having homophobic slur written on his eye black, Bautista needs to just learn to shut up and play.

He was a much easier personality when he was a utility guy.  Now that he’s the recent home run king, his attitude has definitely changed.

Does anyone else miss the guy from 2010 when he was just happy to be a starter in professional baseball?  I wonder how many new ball caps he’s needed the last two years – his head seems to get bigger all the time.

IHRTBJs

Canada @ WBC – Embarrassed vs. Italy but Redemption vs. Mexico

The Canadian squad faced the worst embarrassed possible during game one of the World Baseball Classic.  The game didn’t even go nine innings….because Canada got mercied by Italy 14 – 4 through 8 innings.

However, the Canadians came out swinging – literally and figuratively – vs. Mexico in game two action today.  Mexico, who had a surprise lost to Italy in their first game, came roaring back last night to defeat the mighty American team 5-2.

It was a must win game for both teams – the loser would be out.

With Canada up 9-3 in the top of the ninth and little hope for Mexico to come back with John Axford warming in the Canadian bullpen, Mexico plunked one of our hitters and the benches and bullpens cleared.  This wasn’t your usually baseball shoving match – there were haymakers thrown and landed.

After the dust up, the Canadian pitching coach was hit in the face with a water bottle from the stands and first base coach, Larry Walker, was almost nailed with a baseball from the crowd.

But in at the end of it all, the Canadians lived to play a meaningful game tomorrow vs. USA at 4 pm on Sportsnet.  It’s pretty simple – the winner goes on to round two in Miami, the loser goes home.  Should be an exciting game.

If you missed the international fireworks today, here’s a shady clip from youtube: Canada vs. Mexico brawl

My only criticism of manager Ernie Whitt in this one is when he didn’t call the bunt with one out and runners on first and third in the 7th with Cale Iorg at the plate.  Iorg, a light hitting shortstop (to be kind), was 0 for 4 with three strikeouts at the time and ended up popping out.  When run differential matters in tournament play, take the easy run.  Besides, at that time it was only a 4 run lead.

It was actually Canadian catcher, Chris Robertson’s bunt for a hit with a 6 run lead that caused the Mexican pitcher to throw at the next Canadian batter until he finally hit him (it took him three pitches and the dugouts were warned after the second).

But in tournament play, baseball ethics go out the window.  Run differential can make the difference between round two and going home, as the Canadians painfully learned in 2006 at the WBC – still the only team to go 2-1 in the first round and be eliminated.

When the dugouts cleared, I just hoped Brett Lawrie didn’t break his hand.  He’s a nut bar and the Jays need him healthy.

Best of luck to you tomorrow boys.  Today was a good way to make up for the horrible showing vs. Italy.

IHRTBJs

 

Lawrie Injured, Forced to Miss WBC

Well…damn it.

Arguably the most energetic player for team Canada has had to pull out of the World Baseball Classic due to an injury.  Toronto Blue Jays third baseman, Brett Lawrie, strained the left side of his rib cage in an exhibition game between team Canada and the Reds.

Lawrie, whose passion for the game of baseball is well documented, was one of the most vocal players on a WBC roster to speak about the honour of wearing his country’s jersey.  So vocal, in fact, that Russell Martin is glad that he doesn’t have to play at Rogers Centre this season.

But the news isn’t all bad.

Alex Anthopoulos says that Lawrie’s injury is considered minor and that he’ll only miss two to three weeks, stressing that three weeks was a very conservative case. There is a lot of optimism within the organization that Lawrie will be ready for opening day on April 2nd vs. the Indians.

I’d be lying if I said this news hasn’t gotten me down.  I’m so pumped to watch Canada play this weekend (first game is tomorrow at 2:08 pm vs. Italy on Sportsnet) and a lot of that excitement was settled around watching Lawrie wear the Canadian red.  I had a feeling he might even steal a game or two with his play this WBC – now we’ll never know.

There will be no replacement joining team Canada to take Lawrie’s place on the roster since the deadline to juggle rosters has passed.

But get well, Brett.  We need you this year.  And good luck to the rest of the Canadian squad.

IHRTBJs

You can also follow me on twitter @IHRTBJs

 

Blue Jays Squeak Past Rays

Although I didn’t catch the game, there are some highlights I can share from Blue Jays 5-4 victory over the Rays thanks to the box score and what I’ve read online.

  • Brett Lawrie smacked his first homerun of the spring – although if the wind wasn’t blowing straight out, it probably would have been a routine, deep fly ball.
  • Anthony Gose went 2 for 4 at the plate and had a stolen base – his second.  Then, he was promptly caught stealing third – his first caught stealing.
  • In a position battle for the second base job, Emilio Bonifacio and Maicer Izturis aren’t helping themselves.  Bonifacio committed two throwing errors (3 total this spring) and Izturis one (his second of the spring).  Let’s hope it’s nothing more than rust.
  • Mark Buehrle struggle with control for his second straight start – still absolutely nothing to worry about this early.
  • Darren Oliver did his thing, pitching a 1-2-3 inning.
  • Dave Bush picked up the win in another impressive outing – great depth pick up.

If you’re sitting around and relaxing tomorrow afternoon, check out the Jays vs. Phillies @ 1pm on Sportsnet.  Also the World Baseball Classic official started today, although Canada won’t be until March 8th vs. Italy.

IHRTBJs

You can also follow me on twitter @IHRTBJs

World Baseball Classic?

My good friend IHRTBJs is a big World Baseball Classic fan. Loves it. He might even tell you that watching a WBC game at Skydome was his favourite baseball moment ever. Love the passion.

Me…I’m pretty indifferent to it. In fact, I’ve never even paid attention to it. However, now that the Jays are a legit contender, it makes me nervous. If Jose Reyes goes down in San Juan, that’s not going to be a good scene. When he was with the Mets in 2010, he was kept out of games on the same field he’ll be playing WBC games on (because it is fieldturf). The turf in the dome is going to be rough enough on him. Why get him going on it early? The Jays aren’t even letting Jose Bautista play. Not to mention Edwin, R.A., JP, Lawrie that are all participating.

On to Team Canada and their issues;
Russell Martin – bad Canadian… well, I don’t know if I’d say that. He is kind of a dick though: http://deadspin.com/5987364/russell-martin-leaves-canadas-wbc-team-because-they-wont-let-him-play-shortstop

What about Joey Votto? My guess is he won’t play due to his surgically repaired left knee, but with Team Canada in the same park as Reds camp, the questions aren’t going to stop coming: http://www.foxsportsohio.com/03/01/13/Joey-Votto-still-undecided-on-WBC/landing_reds.html?blockID=872053&feedID=3725

I’m a proud Canadian. I love poutine and The Tragically Hip and John Candy. I can’t say I’m broken up about their lack of participation though. Don’t get me wrong, I love seeing Canadians doing well in the Majors and I love that this country is developing some damn good Major League talent. I would just be more interested in seeing Justin Morneau lead the Twins to the World Series, then lead Canada to WBC glory.

But if you do love the WBC, enjoy it. I hope it’s great and everyone stays healthy and I hope your country of birth and/or residence and/or heritage makes you proud. I’ll be happy enough just watching split squad spring games.

http://web.worldbaseballclassic.com/index.jsp

BUT…If Canada puts on a grand showing in this thing, I’ll jump on the band wagon in a heartbeat. Hopefully IHRTBJs doesn’t kick me off.

Ok! Blue Jays! (and Team Canada, I guess) Let’s! Play! Ball!
Powder Blue
Twitter: @powderblue77

Martin Turns His Back on Team Canada

Shame on you Russell Martin.  Shame on you for thinking you could weasel your way into a shortstop role at the upcoming World Baseball Classic for team Canada.  You are a catcher.  Period.

For those who missed it, Russell Martin has taken his ball and is going home.  Martin, a catcher who signed a $17 million dollar deal with the Pirates this offseason, has walked away from team Canada a week before the WBC’s training camp begins because he doesn’t want to catch.  For him, it was “I’m playing SS or I’m nothing!”

Both the Pirates and team Canada were not keen on Martin moving out of position and would have preferred him to catch.  However, he claims catching will be too exhausting.  So he has walked away one week before the team gets together, his country’s team – the one with the red maple leaf on the jersey, to sulk in the corner.

I feel bad for the fans of team Canada today.  I feel bad for the other players on the roster who are excited to suit up for their country.  And I feel bad for Pittsburgh for being on the hook for $17 million for a player of Russell Martin’s character.

So go ahead and “think about number one” Russell, as you so eloquently put it.  The rest of Canada will be thinking of the players of this nation who are proud to represent their country in baseball’s biggest international tournament.  Nobody will be thinking of you but yourself.

IHRTBJs

You can follow me on twitter @IHRTBJs