Team USA defeated Puerto Rico 8-0 on Wednesday night to win the World Baseball Classic, a tournament with which you’re vaguely aware but now think is incredible since America went USA all over the event’s asses. Marcus Stroman carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning and, as is tradition, reliever Pat Neshek brought an eagle statue onto the field during the celebration.
Here’s what American second baseman Ian Kinsler said earlier in the New York Times on Wednesday about playing the game the right way.
“I hope kids watching the W.B.C. can watch the way we play the game and appreciate the way we play the game as opposed to the way Puerto Rico plays or the Dominican plays,” Kinsler said. “That’s not taking anything away from them. That just wasn’t the way we were raised. They were raised differently and to show emotion and passion when you play. We do show emotion; we do show passion. But we just do it in a different way.”
And that way is by dancing around an eagle statue on the field where you vanquished your opponent.
Flipping your bat after a home run? Bad. Eagle statue? Good. Kinsler and his American teammates were just raised differently.
And it’s not as though the eagle was brought onto the field after handshakes and solemn nods of respect toward the other team; manager Jim Leyland didn’t even have time for a smoke and a hug when Neshek came charging out of the clubhouse with the eagle.
This is all well and good. Celebrate with a real eagle for all I care. Shame Puerto Rico into petting it and calling it pretty. But enough with telling people how to play the game. Sports are fun so you should have fun. It’s unfair that Kinsler was forced to sit in the clubhouse during the celebration, because there’s no way he could be apart of this display.
Although, Kinsler did point into his dugout while running the bases after a first-inning home run, which is OK in the unwritten rules.
Give the WBC credit — it gets you ready for baseball’s unwritten rules before Opening Day.