Thursday, March 09, 2006

Whoa, Baseball Canada!

A brief book club update: I confirmed with Elliott Bay Book Company that they'd be okay with us using the cafe space for baseball book club meetings. They also said that they can order books for us with appropriate lead time. May 6th will definitely be a book club day and the book will be Baseball Between the Numbers. April 8th will probably be a book club day. I'll confirm that ASAP.

Anyway, the WBC definitely does make for some interesting games, I think.

For example, who would expect team Canada to beat team USA? But that's what happened. I had a friend IM me when the score was 8-0 Canada, and we were surmising about how amusing it'd be if the Canadian team tacked on two more runs and invoked the mercy rule. Shortly after that, Canada had to change pitchers and the US team scored 6 runs, including a grand slam by Jason Varitek. Canada held on for the 8-6 win, though, and is almost guaranteed to advance to the next round.

The Mariners played against the Japan WBC team and lost 6-5, as Uehara completely kicked their butts. Various details are around in writeups (like here and here, pictures here including a pretty funny one of Nishioka) but no box score that I can find. Still, despite that it's not exactly the biggest achievement to score a bunch of runs off a still-rehabbing Travis Blackley, it sounds like the Japanese team did pretty well. I'm still sort of amused by the implications of the fact that Ichiro hit better against the Mariners pitching than he did against the Chinese, Taiwanese, or Korean pitching last weekend.

Kiyoshi posted to Westbay-san's forums with attendance figures for Pool A. The evening games averaged 30,000 people, and the afternoon games averaged 4500 people. Unsurprisingly, the Japan team games were the best attended, but they were also conveniently all in the evening, so the figures are a bit misleading if you think about it that way -- how many people could realistically go to a game on Friday afternoon, or even Saturday afternoon (which is also a work day) there?

While I have to admit I wasn't as interested in following the other games as much as I am in cheering on team Japan, I do have to admit that Adrian Beltre socking two home runs the other day against Venezuela and another one today against Italy, is pretty cool. Perhaps being surrounded in the lineup by Pujols, Ortiz, etc is helping, but it's still really promising.

Panama, South Africa, and Italy have all been eliminated so far, and I doubt that any of those surprised anyone.

(A post-note on the USA-Canada game: after reading elsewhere that Chase Utley did a triumphant Booney Bat Flip only to have his long ball caught by Adam Stern at the wall, I decided that the anagram of the day is not "Chase Cameron Utley == An Ace Homers Cutely", but actually "Chase Cameron Utley == Clean Arm, Cheesy Out".)

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