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.
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.
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.
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.
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.