New Zealand faces an uphill climb in the World Baseball Classic qualifiers after a 10-0 mercy rule loss to Chinese Tapei on Thursday. If it were up to me, however, I'd give the Kiwis an automatic berth in next year's tournament solely on the strength of their pregame dance ritual here. Heck, I'm of the mind that we require all WBC teams perform some sort of routine before taking the field. Think World Series meets "Dancing With The Stars." It'd be a ratings bonanza and maybe we could replace Tim McCarver with Tom Bergeron without too many people noticing.
Anyway, this dance is called the "haka" and, according to NewZealand.com, it is ...
... a type of ancient Maori war dance traditionally used on the battlefield, as well as when groups came together in peace. Haka are a fierce display of a tribe's pride, strength and unity. Actions include violent foot-stamping, tongue protrusions and rhythmic body slapping to accompany a loud chant.
The dance is popular with the country's legendary All-Blacks rugby team and has recently been adopted by high school football teams in Texas. I might try it out myself before an intense day of blogging during the winter meetings. Video available upon request.
Big BLS H/N: Eye on Baseball