I was there live and in living color; the collection of players on the United States team in the World Baseball Classic was just pathetic.
I’m sure you’re read and saw what happened to the United States on Saturday versus Puerto Rico. I don’t know how to articulate what I witnessed, but this is a squad that had no business being a victim to a mercy rule. They played this like this was some run-of-the-mill Spring Training exhibition game – not a competition, and they got their arses wiped by a team ready to play.
They looked lethargic, and really didn’t seem to give as much as an effort than their Puerto Rican counterparts with an offense to dismantle their opponents and as well an incredible performance by Javier Vasquez who in his career has been seen as nothing less than *soft*.
Let’s just chalk this as a bad loss; however, it’s one I don’t think I’d forget for a good long while.
Finally, the crowd at Dolphin Stadium was something else. Although the place was probably 60% full from what I saw on television after I got back to my hotel; the fans there – I’d venture to say it was 70% Hispanic and in favor of Puerto Rico – were into it and I don’t think I have ever been to a baseball game that rivaled what I saw with exception of the 2000 World Series.
The Puerto Rican fans were full of passion, friendly, and no doubt proud of their ballplayers. They celebrated, before, during, and after the game – literally. If you were at the scene once the contest had ended, you would have thought they were in the World Series, or had won soccer’s World Cup.
From what I saw, everyone was peaceful – I didn’t see much trash talking between the American and Puerto Ricans (fyi – Puerto Rico is a commonwealth of the U.S.), and the victorious fans waved the flag of the island, celebrated to music in and out of the stadium, and seemed to think of Saturday as more than a victory.
It was overwhelming to take in; however, it was nothing short of amazing to witness at the same time.