Go to contents

The Name of the Game: Unpredictability

Posted March. 10, 2006 02:59,   


The mighty U.S. baseball team has come back to Earth. The U.S. team was the strongest candidate to compete in World Baseball Classic (WBC) with 30 major league all stars, and whose manager, Buck Martinez, declared that it was heading for victory.

Far from winning the championship, now the U.S. team is dangerously close to dropping out of the race.

In a preliminary WBC Group B held at Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona, Team U.S.A. lost to Canada, 6-8. Before the start of the match, many projected the U.S. dominance over the minor league roster of Canada. The American team featured Dontrelle Willis (Florida), who notched 22 wins last year in the National League, as its starter.

But Canada was not the same team it was one day earlier, the team that was losing to South Africa—considered the weakest team in the group—until ninth inning. Two Adams were at the center of this freak event. The ninth batter, Adam Stern (Boston), led Canada’s offensive with four RBIs in four at bats, including one homerun and four base hits. Triple-A League starter Adam Loewen held off the formidable U.S. lineup with no runs during his three and two-third innings on the mound.

A series of upsets in the Group B has thrown it into chaos; and the confusion is not welcome news for Korea. If Canada beats Mexico on March 10, Canada becomes the top winner of Group A and the U.S., number two. That would make Canada Korea’s first main round opponent on March 13. But if Canada loses to Mexico, things will get complicated. In that case, the U.S., Canada, and Mexico will end up in a three-way tie with two wins and one loss each.

When there is a tie, the tiebreaker considers: the number of runs allowed, the number of errors made, batting average, and finally a decision by lot. If Canada loses to Mexico by less than two runs behind, Canada and Mexico will advance to the main round and the U.S. has high probability of dropping out of the WBC altogether.

On this, Kim In-sik expressed his worries, saying, “If it’s Canada and the U.S. in the main round, it will be tougher for us.” Kim had said a day earlier that Mexico is an easier opponent than Canada whose lineup is mostly left-handed. In fact, Canada started eight left-hand batters in their lineup against the U.S.

In other news, the Korea national baseball team lost to Kansas City Royals, 4-7, in a practice game held at Surprise, Arizona on March 9. Korea tested out its pitchers by playing Park Chan-ho (San Diego), Seo Jae-ung (L.A.), and Kim Byung-hyun (Colorado). Each team had nine base hits. On the same day, the Asian region runner-up Japan scored a 6-5 win over Seattle in a practice game.