Yup, it just happened. Baseball finally has its single game of incredible significance. In a stunning upset — and yes, we realize the World Baseball Classic has no ramifications whatsoever – the Netherlands beat the high-powered Dominican Republic, 3-2, on Saturday in Puerto Rico. Yes, the Dutch beat the Dominicans. In baseball. We’re not making this up. Make no mistake, this isn’t Giants beating Patriots, this is Appalachian State knocking off Michigan.
(They’re going for the gooooold.)
Wondering which high powered names are on that Netherlands roster? Sidney Ponson, Randall Simon and … well, that’s about it. Really. It should be noted that neither of those guys has a current team, either. Need a bigger indication of just how slanted the talent was between these two teams? In the eighth inning, the Domincan Republic pinch ran with Jose Reyes, a perennial All-Star shortstop. In the ninth, the Netherlands brought up its clean-up hitter … who spent 2008 in A and AA.
I don’t have spectacular Spanish skills, and the Google translator always leaves me with more questions than answers, but it appears as if some wild stuff is going on in the Dominican Baseball League’s championship series. Wild enough that Gigantes del Cibao were forced to forfeit their game with Licey of Santo Domingo, putting them behind 3 games to none in the best-of-9 title series (nine games?). The league features many current and former major leaguers, and the winner of this series moves on to the Caribbean Series.
During Wednesday’s Game 2, Gigantes second baseman Felix Martinez hit into a routine groundout, then inexplicably lost his mind and nearly attacked the home plate umpire. Again, since I couldn’t understand the commentary over the video footage I wasn’t quite sure what was going on, but it looked like the Gigantes were a little miffed about the guy’s strike zone. Martinez actually charged the ump and appeared as if he was going to tackle him, but seems to have thought better of it and changed his course at the last second. He was ejected from the game, and suspended for the rest of the series. I have manged to put together a Zapruder-esque still from the horrible streaming video feed of the game:
(Martinez is on the right, being restrained by a teammate. This is after he nearly lit up the umpire on the dead run from first base)
This brings us to last night. Gigantes thought that the umpiring crew might forget that they had tossed Martinez from the series, so they decided to pencil Martinez into the lineup as if nothing happened. The umps were not amused, and said he couldn’t play. Gigantes decided that if Martinez couldn’t play, that the rest of them wouldn’t play either. So they left. The umpires forfeited the game to Licey, who stuck around to entertain the crowd by playing a game of something called “flip.” Can you imagine if this happened here? If, like, Evan Longoria got suspended for some reason during the World Series and Joe Maddon tried to play him anyway? And then they forfeit the game and the Phillies stick around and play Guitar Hero on the jumbotron with the Phanatic?
Back to America, where the NBA All-Star starters were announced yesterday. And the league narrowly averted an awkward situation. Injured age fraudYi Jianlian, who’s averaging 10 points a game with the Nets, finished third in the Eastern Conference fan voting for forwards. Had he somehow overtaken Kevin Garnett, David Stern might’ve informed Yi that he would be injured until at least the end of February whether he liked it or not. Either that, or Stern would’ve had to name the chair that guarded Yi during his pre-draft workouts to the West team to even things out.
It should also be noted that Bruce Bowen came rather close (only about 68,000 votes) to overtaking Amare Stoudemire for a starting spot on the West squad. That actually would’ve been great to see. He may have become the first All-Star to ever get flagrantly fouled by a teammate.
The only fan choice who could be considered objectionable is Allen Iverson, who seems to be hurting the Pistons more than he’s helping. The rest of the selections are completely justified. Dwight Howard was the only player to get more than 3 million votes.
• You may have noticed that last night’s Purdue-Minnesota game was called by the now completely unintelligible Brent Musburger and one Mr. Robert Montgomery Knight. RUMORS AND RANTS sure noticed, and reminds us that even though the Boilers won the game, their fans probably had the TV on mute for most of it, given Knight’s long-standing disdain for West Lafayette.
• For no reason whatsoever, here’s footage of American Gladiators host Mike Adamle belly-flopping off a 10-meter diving board after Ahmad Rashad wussed out and wouldn’t jump. Thanks to NESW SPORTS for this one.
• ONLINE SPORTS GUYS says a high school football coach in Kentucky has been charged with reckless homicide over the death of a 15-year-old player who collapsed during a practice. The lesson in all of this? Don’t ever coach youth sports, because if one of the kids collapses you’ll probably end up being held responsible for it (though I admit I don’t know the facts here, so maybe the guy was horribly negligent).