Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Talk About Clogging The Basepaths

And their fans rejoice!

I have no idea how they did it, but the Netherlands has defeated the Dominican Republic for a second time, and will advance to the second round of the WBC. The game was scoreless going into the 11th inning, when the DR put up a run in the top half to take a 1-0 lead. It was up to a bunch of guys I’ve never heard of (and some I’ve heard of, but who suck) in the bottom of the 11th against Cubs closer Carlos Marmol.

A lead-off double and a groundout puts a runner on third with one out for Sir Kingsale, who singled to right-center to tie the game 1-1. An errant pick-off throw allows him to get to third – the winning run just 90 feet away with only one out. Sharlon Shoop (seriously? Sharlon Shoop?) goes down swinging to bring semi-legit major leaguer Randall Simon to the plate. Marmol walks him intentionally (Randall Simon, feared hitter) to bring up Yurendell de Caster. 3-2 count. Man, isn’t that exciting? 3-2, runners on the corners, two outs, tied 1-1 in the bottom of the 11th against a team that should have crushed you (twice), and there are about 30 people not on your team or related to you that have any idea who you are. Here’s the pitch… de Caster swings, and hits a hard grounder to first-base… Willy Aybar, in defensively for David Ortiz (more on that in a moment), has the ball go off his glove… Kingsale coming home… everybody’s safe!... the Netherlands wins, 2-1!

A team headlined by Sidney Ponson beat one lead by David Ortiz, Hanley Ramirez, Jose Reyes, Adrian Beltre, Robinson Cano, Miguel Tejada, Pedro Martinez, Ubaldo Jimenez, Johnny Cueto, Edison Volquez, and several other guys who are all better than Sidney Ponson.

Apparently, Bert Blyleven was the pitching coach for team Netherlands, who gave up a total of 6 runs in their three games. With the "Punching Aruban" as the ace of their staff. Can Blyleven get into the Hall of Fame now?

Back to why Aybar was even playing first-base in the 11th (from Shysterball):
“Manager Felipe Alou started David Ortiz at first base -- a position he hasn't played in the Majors since 2007, and hasn't played well since God knows when -- because he wanted extra offense. The result: Ortiz goes 1-4 and the D.R. goes scoreless through 10 innings. Hey, that happens. Since it's a taut 0-0 game, however, Alou pulls Ortiz for Willie Aybar. I mean really, let no man say that David Ortiz's glove cost the team a chance to advance, right?”
That is amazingly tragic – not because there are any huge consequences of the loss (it is only a game, afterall) – but because of how seriously the Dominican team was taking this game and the entire country’s vast amount of pride in the team. When the US was eliminated in 2006 due to their loss the Mexico that was pretty embarrassing, but at least that team had Jorge Cantu and Adrian Gonzalez in their line-up and Oliver Perez, Esteban Loaiza, and Rodrigo Lopez in their rotation. This Dominican team is almost as stacked as that US team was, so this is a much bigger upset. And it happened twice!

[Edit: Unfortunately, the Netherlands team is losing to Puerto Rico. I didn't really expcet them to win the whole thing, but I was kind of hoping that wacky bunch could advance another round. Lucky this game doesn't matter.]

No comments: