Close your eyes and just imagine mid-October. The smell of the Autumn season in the air with those brown and yellow leaves hanging off the trees, and it’s starting to get a little chilly with a brisk but subtle breeze outside. Now imagine it’s playoff baseball and the best teams in the majors are competing to be crowned World Series Champions. Can you still feel that October air? Now come back to reality only to see it’s still March and every MLB team is still in spring training. Slightly disappointing isn’t it?
Enter the World Baseball Classic, where many major league players compete with their native countries to see who has the beast team in the world. Held every four years the WBC is like the olympics of baseball and this year the excitement as been nothing short of what fans have hoped for. We see players from the Colorado Rockies and San Fransisco Giants come together to represent the United States, and we see Fransisco Lindor of the Cleveland Indians, being an up the middle duo with Javier Baez of the Chicago Cubs for team Puerto Rico, but remember Lindor and Baez faced each other in last years Fall Classic. Japan and Netherlands have already advanced to the championship round, as well as Puerto Rico with their victory over the U.S on Friday night.
The USA went 2-1 in the first round and won their first game against Venezuela, coming back with home-runs by Adam Jones and Eric Hosmer late in the game. The contest against Puerto Rico didn’t fall in their favor however. Marcus Stroman was rocked with six straight singles to open the game and Puerto Ricoo jumped out to a 4-0 lead. The U.S battled back to make it 4-3 but a costly error by Nolan Arenado, on a crazy hop and a low throw, pushed the lead to 6-3 in favor of Puerto Rico. In the top of the 9th the tying run was 90 feet away but a strikeout ended the game.
Last night, however, that October feeling felt like a game seven of the World Series. The Dominican Republic took on the United States in an elimination game and the excitement lived up to the hype. From Giancarlo Stanton huge home run to left, to the amazing homer robbery by Adam Jones late in the game. The U.S propelled themselves into the final four in Los Angeles. The final two games expect to be as crazy as the last few with adrenaline pumping and a title on the line. The U.S takes on Japan on Tuesday with the winner moving onto to face the Netherlands/Puerto Rico winner.
Remember how it is only March, and the first day of spring is Monday? Yes, the warmer weather is upon us and in a short two weeks the regular season will start. The most exciting baseball right now is the World Baseball Classic and with all-star players on the remaining four teams, that October feeling should return to you while tuning into Americas pastime.