March 9, 2006

MUSH, YOU HUSKIES!:

U.S. Falls in Shocker: Americans Are In Dire Straits : Canada 8, United States 6 (Steve Fainaru, 3/09/06, Washington Post)

The World Baseball Classic emerged from the shadow of Barry Bonds's steroid allegations Wednesday by taking its own shocking turn. Team USA, led by superstars such as Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter and Ken Griffey Jr., was thumped, 8-6, by a Canadian club led by a Baltimore Orioles lefty who had never pitched above Class A and journeymen such as Stubby Clapp and Pierre-Luc LaForest.

The stunning defeat, before 16,993 at Chase Field, threw the WBC into chaos. With one game to play in the opening round, Team USA's fate now hinges largely on Thursday's matchup between Canada and Mexico. If Canada wins, the Americans would still advance to the second round with a win Friday over lowly South Africa.

However, under a bewildering tiebreaker system based on runs allowed, the Americans will be bounced from a tournament of their own creation if Mexico beats Canada but scores two or fewer runs. If Mexico wins and scores at least three runs, the Americans, who plan to start Roger Clemens on Friday against South Africa, would advance with a win.

"So we're cheering for Canada, right?" said Rodriguez as players and sportswriters tried doggedly to sort it out afterward.


It was 8-0 by the time I turned it on, but with that American line-up there was no sense it was over. Utley's drive to center seemed like it had a chance--he certainly thought it was gone--but Stern hauled it in. Great drama.

MORE:

Miracle on grass: Canada beats U.S.
(JEFF BLAIR, 3/08/06, Globe and Mail

When he left for the World Baseball Classic, Adam Stern's Boston Red Sox teammates said they'd be waiting for him to return soon.

They thought Canada didn't have much of a chance of advancing to the second round and that the centre fielder from London, Ont., wouldn't be absent very long from the team's spring training in Fort Myers, Fla.

"I guess I have a few phone calls to make tonight now," said Mr. Stern, who turned in a once-in-a-lifetime performance yesterday in a once-in-a-lifetime win for Canadian baseball: a shocking 8-6 defeat of the heavily favoured United States.


On the bright side, the Sox just traded Mr. Stern to the Blue Jays for Vernon Wells....

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 9, 2006 8:15 AM
Comments

So Canada won because they had (the) Clapp?

Posted by: Rick T. at March 9, 2006 9:01 AM

Not just any old Clapp, but the Stubby Clapp.

I mentioned this over on David Pinto's Baseball Musings board, and I really shouldn't mention it at all. But what's to stop Canada and Mexico from arranging a 1-0 win for Mexico tonight that would put both teams into the second round?

This is a result of the incredibly complicated tie-breaker system. But the blunt fact is that both teams have a very strong interest in making sure Mexico wins 1-0.

I don't think they would try any shennanigans, but you wouldn't really have to make an explicit deal. After all, both teams know the facts. If they just avoid scoring for the first eight innings, then allow Mexico to get a run in the ninth...

Oh, I'm getting way too conspiracy-happy.

Posted by: Casey Abell at March 9, 2006 9:59 AM

oj - Where'd you hear Stern for Wells?

Posted by: pj at March 9, 2006 4:55 PM

Can't we hold out for Miguel Cabrera?

Posted by: pj at March 9, 2006 4:56 PM

joke

Posted by: oj at March 9, 2006 4:59 PM
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