At the Letters: World Baseball Classic

For an event nobody claimed to care about, the World Baseball Classic generated plenty of emotional emails.

As always, my offhand responses follow.

WBC closes on a thrilling note

Being a baseball fan and having recently moved to Asia, I took vacation to catch all of the Pool A games in Tokyo. It was a phenomenal fan experience as every Japanese game had the same energy as the Finals. The 2009 WBC takeaway for Japan is more than the title, which make no mistake is treasured. It is confirmation among themselves that the Japanese brand of the game and style of play is superior to any other.

P.S. The ballpark experience in Tokyo is off-the-charts [better] in about two dozen ways compared to the U.S. In the new Yankee Stadium alcohol may be banned from the bleacher seat area. In the Tokyo Dome they have attractive whiskey vendors constantly hustling through the stands and there's no seventh-inning booze cutoff. You're even allowed to take a roadie or two out of the ballpark.

Tony Riha
Hong Kong/Shanghai

Japanese baseball: Come for the small ball, stay for the attractive whiskey vendors.

Why would Korea pitch to Ichiro in that spot with first base open? I thought it cost them the game. The pitcher was right-handed. Ichiro bats left. I thought it was over the second they left the righty in. The manager for Korea has some explaining to do or am I wrong?

Andrew Mulraney
Atco, N.J.

See that? We're talking ball in March.

Come on Tim! What was wrong with Team Mexico´s uniforms at the WBC?! They wore our national colors, that's all. What was wrong was their lousy pitching and not batting in crucial men-on-base opportunities.

Queretaro, Mexico

I don't know, Leo. The colors were fine, but the colors along with the loopy M got me thinking about McDonald's at Christmas, and what an eggnog milkshake must taste like, and it didn't go well from there.

Who cares? Really, who gives a rat's [butt] about this so-called tournament. I loved all the journalists trying to make this "into something it's not." It was truly a pathetic display. I guess it's a slow week. Pathetic.

William Mallett
Greenville, N.C.

I chose this email not because it was clever or particularly interesting, but because I got a kick out of being hammered by a guy named "Mallett."

I appreciate your perspective. I wish the WBC was more than it is; hopefully it will continue to grow. You forgot the fact that no one saw the final because of ESPN's 9:30 p.m. start time. At least in our paper, we got scant promotion. The U.S. audience would have been light with the U.S. in the final with that start time. Another example of Selig unable to get out of his own way.

Jeremy Donaldson

You can always tell when something means a lot to baseball – it gives it away to television, which completely wrecks it.

I think you should also add, great baseball that is devoid of any steroid controversy. It seems those who complain about the WBC would rather see a bunch of juiced-up monsters play for millions of dollars instead of just playing the sport at its purest, for the love of the game.


Remember, Zarik, McGwire and Sosa did not embarrass the game, they saved the game. It's a subtle difference, but one worth recognizing.

One has to remember that Korea and Japan are longtime rivals on and off the field. Baseball is popular in both countries. Add these two factors together and that is why the championship game was a huge success. If it was any other combination, the turnout probably would have been a lot less. Then again, maybe I am just jaded at the fact that I just spent hundreds of dollars to watch some of the most boring matchups in the history of baseball in a country that is generally apathetic towards the sport. Wait a minute, it's just like going to a Jays game!


Just to improve your baseball, Nate, I'm going to talk to some people and see if we can't get a nice invasion of Newfoundland going.

The Japanese and the Koreans just outwork the USA players. Maybe we should not call it the World Series anymore but the USA Championship, as undoubtedly a team from Japan or Korea would win our World Series. Lastly, seeing the work ethic in Japan and Korea, you would think Team USA might want to pick up a bat or ball in November and get their [rear ends] ready. But, no, that grueling season of 162 games is just too much. For crying out loud, pick up a bat and/or ball in November or December and stop making excuses Team USA! The player that does might be pleasantly surprised by having an even better season. There's a thought.

Jeff Yurtin
Folsom, Calif.

Work year round? That just seems excessive.

Nice try. Know you're just doing your job but when it matters we win. WBC in March just doesn't matter. Witness Olympics. Basketball. Post "sure thing," pre-Dream Team. So wake me up when it's time to care. That will be when we just win and come back home.

Los Angeles


What do you think about that USA will never get win from Japan in money, power or sports?

Steve Osteen

Dude, I'm just trying to figure out how Akinori Iwamura knew he was getting a fastball from Roy Oswalt.

Asian baseball reigns supreme

I am a combat vet and I love my country more than anything in this world. I need to say that I was pumped for the Classic this year and my heart was broken by the lack of American players who wanted to play. It makes me sick to my stomach. I can risk my life for my country for $30,000 a year, but some players and owners cant find enough love to play for their country. I know that some owners are to blame and that's even worse. How could they not want America to be represented by the best players that we have to offer? I applaud and send all of my love and respect to those who did play. They put out a great effort and I cheered them along the whole time. Maybe its time for American players and fans to wake up and realize that this might be our pastime, but we cant win without our best. Thanks for listening. I really needed to get that off my chest. When will our best step up and take AMERICA'S sport back?

Jason Schultz
New Orleans

C'mon, Jason. These guys are risking, like, sprained ankles and stuff.

Your column reeks of sour grapes and envy, that America's sport can't even be won by its creators because they've forgotten what it means to play as a team. The WBC is the real World Series because teams from all parts of the world come to play. That travesty in October is simply American arrogance. You've obviously been blinded by big names and big dollars to appreciate anymore what playing a team sport entails. You are a sore loser, Mr. Brown, and until you change your piss-poor attitude that's all you'll ever be.

Taiji Tamura

And fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life.

The world does not need USA in the baseball classic. If Americans do not care for the tournament, the rest of the world will be watching. This is just the attitude you Americans show all the time. For instance, Formula 1. There is not better racing in the world. But because you have not had a good Formula 1 driver in decades (and Mario does not count, he's actually Italian) then you just don't care and then say NASCAR is the best, when it is nothing but fat truckers going in circles. The thing is Japan and Korea are not better than the USA in baseball but they sure "feel" the jersey of their national team and obviously you guys don't.

Alex Q
Monterrey, Mexico

Can we get back to the fat truckers going in circles? Wasn't that the Venezuelan lineup?

You're a clown. The U.S. team is better then the Asia teams. They just play down when there is international competition because they don't play their best players, and they really don't care about competing against them. If you knew anything you would see we did not send our best players and still got to the semi-finals. Nice job trying to rouse dissension among the masses, but you have no real substance in your argument. Try being at least a little supportive towards your own country and learn about what real baseball is all about.

Christopher Armbruster

I'm just a sore loser. But, I'm working on that.

Yes, Davey Johnson is an honorable man. You nailed him, great.

Harry Salzberg
Milford, Del.

Harry, meet Tommy …

Who was in charge of hiring Davey Johnson, and has his job come into question? That was the most pitiful excuse for field personnel/management I have seen in my entire life.

Tommy Gallagher
Albuquerque, N.M.

Tommy, Harry.

Congrats, Tim. That was a superbly written piece. You sustained the lightly ironical tone and the logic the whole way through, and we all got it.

Jeffrey Swartz
Barcelona, Spain

Thanks, Jeffrey. Now, when you say "we all got it" …

Your article is idiotic. The games prove absolutely nothing, contrary to your assertion that the U.S. needs to "catch up" to our Asian counterparts. Ridiculous.

George Stowell
Wallingford, Conn.

See, George, there's this literary device called satire … never mind.

Sorry Tim, had to chuckle at your WBC article, "Asian Baseball Reigns Supreme." A fine bit of hyperbole, yes, but at the same time an abject denial of the facts. The United States was rolling along until they reached what I have deemed "the outlier round." Major league baseball uses five- and seven-game series for a reason, to weed out the fluke teams who are only capable of winning a single game as opposed to a series. A series is the only burden of proof when it comes to the superiority argument. By your deeply flawed logic, the 1996 Atlanta Braves and 2002 San Francisco Giants were better than their respective World Series opponents. After all, winning game one is everything in the nonsensical labyrinth that is the mind of a shoddy journalist.

Nicolas Tomboulides
Trumbull, Conn.

I'm pretty sure I'm going to use the last sentence on my tombstone. Either that or, "It's the eighth inning. Anybody seen the attractive whiskey vendor?"

The "Cinderella" USA squad? You're a big [idiot], buddy. Netherlands got ousted a lot earlier and was way more of a Cinderella than the U.S. How do you get paid to write this [stuff]?

London, Ontario

Well, Mike, direct deposit, generally. But, once, some paperwork got fouled up and the bank got all confused, so I had to drive over to the office and, well, it was a big mess, as you can imagine. So, on that day the HR lady just handed me the check. Was that your question?

Jeter is a beacon for USA

Being from Massachusetts I swallow hard when talking about anything/anyone from the Evil Empire. However, thank you for writing a nice piece about Derek Jeter. He is the epitome of what all professional athletes should aspire to. He is simply great. He could act like many do, as if they are bigger than the game (aka Manny, who can't hold Jeter's jock strap on a good day – stats don't make the player). Jeter doesn't and never has. His stats can be argued among the best ever, his field presence is one of the best ever in my humble opinion. Baseball needs a hero right now, I vote for Jeter.

Sudbury, Mass.

I hesitated using your name here, Mike.

Thank you, Tim McCarver. Can you please report on real baseball now? Season is about to start.

Daniel Hebert
Concord, N.H.

That was funny.

Bulletin: Derek Jeter does not walk on water. He's a pretty good player but that's it. He's not a leader, he's a company man. He says and does what will make the Yankees happy enough to forget that Jeter is way overpaid. In effect, Jeter is nothing more than a yes man. A yes man is nothing to revere. So could we stop glorifying Jeter for every little thing he does? He gets benched and doesn't cry so that means he's special? The guy is an overrated shortstop and always has been. He has no reason to cry. Of course if he did, the media would defend him. … The praise and heroism bestowed on Jeter may make him a candidate for sainthood. Then the New York media could forever worship St. Jeter, The Overrated Dumb-Arse; patron saint of yes men. Thank God (the other one, not Jeter) Derek will single-handedly save the WBC, which most everyone hates for obvious reasons. If it weren't for his incredible unselfishness and unbelievable team-player attitude, the world would have exploded. Name one other player who has been benched for a better player and not foamed at the mouth. The fact that Jeter accepted it, no doubt in large part because who-cares-it's-the-WBC, makes him a lock for the Hall of Fame on character alone. The Jeter Wing will be the highlight of Cooperstown.

Tony Brandt

Seriously, Tony, do we need to be sacrilegious?

RE: Derek Jeter. Amen, Mr. Brown. Amen.

Mike Burris
East Haven, Conn.

Better. Thanks, Mike.

Derek Jeter is a man's man. He is a guy that would fit in anywhere and is a true leader. America needs more men like Derek. He truly represents not the professional athlete, but a true blue-collar, guy's guy, American.

Lou Levy

God-like, would you say, Lou?