The U.S. doesn’t run, from anything. At least that’s the story they tell you at jingoistic patriot rallies and Boy Scout camps. Yet it turns out that’s not the case, because U.S. baseball manager Davey Johnson is making noise that he’ll withdraw the team from the ongoing World Baseball Classic’s second round — or semifinals, should it advance that far — if further injuries strike the squad.
According to the ASSOCIATED PRESS, Johnson says he will forfeit if he runs out of players at any positions. And before you scoff that off as hyperbole, you should consider how close he already is to that point: The U.S. had to call in Brian Roberts, the reserve infielder, when he was out at dinner. Now he’s the only second baseman left on the roster.
How big a statement would the U.S. be making if the country that invented baseball pulled out of only the second World Baseball Classic? A big one, that’s for sure. Yet as more players criticize the practice methods and over-inflated early intensity of the WBC, the entire tournament is being thrown back into question, even as the Netherlands (recently and dearly departed), Japan, Korea, Venezuela and Puerto Rico author a pretty intriguing script.
It’s a strange emerging dichotomy that’s hard to bridge, both for the American public and, surely, the commissioner’s office as well.
If Davey Johnson doesn’t want the job of leading the U.S., we think we know a guy who does: One particular British cop, if he can learn anything about baseball. After all, right now he’s heading over to L.A. to be an assistant coach with the Galaxy, and that’s hardly at the level of a national team gig.
Think about what’s he’s already getting though! In one fell swoop, Community Support Officer Andy Bridgman is going from organizing a “Shopwatch” to coaching David Beckham and Landon Donovan.
That’s the MLS for you: They’ll spend $30 million+ on two players on a roster, but they’d rather bring over a cop from England on a psuedo loan than hire a half-decent trained coach.
A coaching scout for Major League Soccer called him late last year to offer him the job and he is taking a 12-month career break to accept it.”How many people get this kind of opportunity?” he said.
“Not only to play football full-time but also to work alongside the top teams in America? It’s fantastic. At first I thought, it’s not real.”
Well, we hardly thought it was real at first, either, but it checks out. Unfortunately, the MLS doesn’t check out itself.
If you’re like us, you waited all day yesterday for the real NCAA show: The Women’s Tournament Selection Show! What’s that? You didn’t watch it? Ahhh, well, we didn’t either. But we did read enough to learn that the four No. 1 seeds are U-Conn., Maryland, Duke and Oklahoma.
More interesting is the bracket breakdown, with Duke landing the top seed in the Western (Berkeley) Region. Who’s the No. 2 there? Why, Stanford, which happens to play less than an hour away from the site of the Sweet 16 and Elite 8. If that seems a bit unfair to you, it does to us, too. Not that it’s unprecedented, of course, but it sure does minimize the advantage of being the No. 1 seed. After all, if you can’t beat a 15, then you don’t deserve to go anywhere in the tournament. And if you can’t beat a 7, then you probably should have been a 1 or 2 seed anyway.
Once you get past that point, the site and fan presence at the event are as important as anything else, and that’s where Stanford will have a huge advantage. That’s not to say Duke won’t pull it off, it’s just a matter of the smart money being on Stanford.
- You just thought Binghamton was having a great month because of the NCAA Tournament. It really isn’t. Why? Because of this Serbian lunatic.
- Why can’t teams just keep wearing the uniforms, warm ups and shoes they’ve sported all year when they make the tournament? We’re so sick of this March marketing already. With that in mind, here’s Louisville’s new duds and kicks.
- Rasheed Wallace, aspiring economist. Who would have thought? Maybe Dean Smith, actually.
- THE BIG LEAD posted this yesterday, but it really is a must see if you’ve ever doubted the credibility of either Jay Bilas or Dicky-V. One of them is wrong in this scenario, no matter how you slice it.
- Are you a degenerate gambler? Just curious about how the Vegas lines are moving heading into the NCAA tourney? Well, this fascinating post is for you.
- How, exactly, did mediocre former Eagles and Bengals linebacker Dhani Jones land one of the greatest jobs on the planet?
- All the best finishes of the year so far in MMA, so you don’t have to sit at home at 2 a.m. on a Saturday night to watch them on pay-per-view.
- The latest sign that the city of Philadelphia may have forfeited the next five years of athletic success for last fall’s World Series title. Sorry Cole Hamels.
- Is Roy Jones. Jr’s heart really still in the fighting? Or are these bouts just huge publicity stunts? Read this interview and tell us, why don’t you.
- Did idiotic Chelsea defender Ashley Cole — husband of the almost perfect Cheryl Cole — get set up for an arrest by an employee of a tabloid? Someone thinks he did.
- Finally, are those shoes on Victoria Beckham’s feet, or did she step on a couple birds? We’re really not sure.