March 19, 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, the Havana Revolution is hurting a little, thanks to Japan ending Cuba's stay in the WBC. The United States limps along but is still playing into the semis. Yahoo! Sports' Gordon Edes also says good-bye, to longtime baseball man Whitey Lockman.
Game of the Day: Japan 5, Cuba 0
Blanked on the Bling: Yahoo! Sports' Tim Brown notes that, not since the Pan American Games in 1959 — just a few months into Fidel Castro's eternal administration — did the Cuban national team exit an international tournament without some kind of medal or trophy. Japan sends them back to Havana only with memories (mostly sour ones) and lots of explaining to do. "It meant a lot," Japan's manager, Tatsunori Hara, said. "It was a big deal for us. It will be left in history. I have great respect for Cuba."
Dropsies: After a long run into the foggy night, outfielder Yoennis Cespedes dropped a fly ball hit to center that allowed two unearned runs to score in the fourth inning. That's all Japan would need, with Hisashi Iwakuma and Toshiya Sugiuchi combining to five-hit Cuba's offense.
Ichiro: He went 2-for-5 with a triple in the ninth, raising his WBC average to .214.
Don't wait for the translation!: The Cubans have a habit of skipping the postgame news conferences when they lose, but they do make lovely statements. This is good-bye from manager Higinio Velez: "I would like to congratulate the Japanese team for their great victory tonight. They were much better than us, and that's why they deserved the victory. They do deserve to go on to the finals. So the only thing left for us to do is to continue to fight for our great game, baseball." Viva la revolucion!
Venezuela 10, United States 6: Adam Dunn, playing (kind of) out of position at first base, made a key error that led to four unearned runs. The good news for the U.S.: the game was played only for the seeding (seriously?) as both teams have advanced to the semifinals. The bad news: there's plenty of time for someone else to get hurt. Y! Sport' Jeff Passan wonders: Will the U.S. brass ask for help, like, ever? Or will Davey Johnson just keep on predicting injuries until he has to go play second base himself?
Whitey Lockman — 1926-2009: Y! Sports' own Gordon Edes pens (keys?) a touching obituary to Whitey Lockman. If you've heard the name and aren't sure, Mr. Lockman scored ahead of Bobby Thomson on the "Shot Heard 'Round the World." He also managed the Cubs (and did OK, too) and was an executive with the Expos.
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Feelin' Rundown (sausage links)
• The U.S.S. Mariner considers Griffey's role as he makes his first OF start today (and 'Duk will be there, too, to see if Buhner starts in right)
"We’ve got to stop getting hurt." — David Wright