Yesterday, I complained about Met pitchers getting overworked in the WBC and wished the whole thing would go away. Last night, with the WBC still on my mind, I tuned in to USA-Puerto Rico. I swear, I was just going to check the score to see which Met players would be coming home. I wasn't planning to inhale.
But when every other player seemed to be a Met, and the other players all seemed to be from the Phillies, Red Sox or Yankees, I found myself watching. And it turned out to be an exciting finish, featuring a walk-off hit by our own David Wright.
USA-Puerto Rico. The gateway drug to the WBC!
I'm still worried about pitch counts, but I did see the potential for the WBC, and also how to improve the All-Star game.
What made last night's game so exciting was that the top players were still on the field at the end. Except for one pinch-runner, everyone in the US lineup played the entire game, and we're talking players of the caliber of Wright, Derek Jeter, Jimmy Rollins (who was DH), Kevin Youkilis and Brian Roberts. Most of the Puerto Rican stars, such as Carlos Beltran, Carlos Delgado and Alex Rios, also played the full game.
MLB wants the All-Star games to "count," but they also want to get everyone in the game, even when some of those players are only on the team because their franchise is required to have a representative. But if you really want the All-Star game to count, you have to find a way to have the David Wrights on the field at the end of the game.
Speaking of Wright, Squawker Lisa has already referred to him as Mr. March. But, as ESPN research points out, Wright is more clutch than some think:
Wright has six career regular-season walk-off hits for the Mets, one shy of the club record. However, none of those came in a situation in which his team was trailing.
Of course, Wright wouldn't have been hitting against someone named Fernando Cabrera in an All-Star game. Cabrera came in with the bases loaded in the ninth and cemented his audition for the 2008 Met bullpen by walking in a run to cut the lead to 5-4 before giving up the winning hit to Wright.
Cabrera came on for Phillies reliever J.C. Romero. It was strange to see Romero on the mound, since he's been suspended 50 games for performance-enhancing drugs. But the announcer explained that the suspension does not apply to the WBC. A few minutes later, the announcer hastily explained that the WBC does not condone the use of PEDs and that it has its own drug testing.
But that's Bud Selig's world for you. He's solved the PED problem, except when he hasn't. Suspensions have teeth, except when they don't.
Tonight, the US plays Venezuela. It's just for seeding, since both teams are in the semis, so I'm not planning to watch any of it. Unless there's a chance to see J.J. Putz face off against K-Rod...
One other note: Best wishes to Aaron Boone. No middle initial today, since Boone is going to undergo open heart surgery. It's not an emergency and, while he will miss this season, he is supposed to be back for the 2010 season.
Did you watch any of the game last night? Are you planning to watch any of the remaining WBC games?