March 18, 2009
Konichiwa, annyong, bienvenidos and 'sup? This and many weekday mornings throughout the rest of March, let's rise and shine together with the latest news from spring training and the World Baseball Classic, where negotiations and mediation go out the window and countries play out their disagreements on the diamond.
This morning, Americans all may feel the warm glow of David Wright, whose two-run single in the bottom of the ninth inning beat Puerto Rico and advanced the U.S. into the WBC semifinals. It's a good thing Team USA didn't quit the tournament, eh?
Game of the Day: United States 6, Puerto Rico 5
Soldier's Boys: If Wright's tournament-saving hit doesn't bring a smile to your face, then the column by Yahoo! Sports' own Jeff Passan will. Passan stuck close to Sgt. Felix Perez, an Iraq and Afghanistan veteran who grew up rooting for the Mets but does so now in a motorized wheelchair. Passan was rewarded, as are we, with a great story about Perez's experience inside the celebratory U.S. clubhouse.
And so began the coolest 30 minutes of Felix Perez’s life. On an evening when he felt especially proud to be an American — when a group of his sporting heroes wearing his country’s name across their chests banded together to win a game they had no business winning — Perez found himself surrounded by them, doused with celebratory Miller Lites, with the American flag that was with him during the worst moment of his life passed around the room and signed by every player on the team.
And then: Puerto Rico put up a good effort but heads back to San Juan (or whichever spring training camp) empty handed. The U.S., meanwhile, plays Venezuela today to determine the seeding for the next round. Both teams already are headed to the semis so, jeez, just use aggregate goals, or a coin flip or have a pie-eating contest. It's an otherwise meaningless and superfluous game that's only going to get somebody hurt. Dumbuhhh.
And then: Korea beat Japan to advance, punt returner and Y! Sports' own Tim Brown reports, but it doesn't knock out Japan, which gets Cuba for a final chance at the semis. Rematch of 2006 WBC final!
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Feelin Rundown (linkage)
• Lasorda obviously is trying to talk the Dodgers into signing Pedro.
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Words of Mouth
"I never thought that we’d be dog piling in March." — Wright