I’m going to admit to something here: I downloaded the World Baseball Classic app on my iPhone. I think I have a little bit of a sickness, because I really like the World Baseball Classic, if for no other reason than I love waking up in the middle of the night and knowing there’s probably live baseball on TV.
I’m guessing that I’m one of 50 people worldwide (including fans in the stands a the stadium in Taichung) who were actually following yesterday’s game between Chinese Tapei, who won both of their first games, and Korea, who had split their first two games. Our Dutch friends (#neditude!) had already advanced out of Pool B after putting the Australian team out of its misery earlier in the day (or wee hours of the morning, depending on your time zone), so Korea and Chinese Tapei were playing for one spot in the next round.
I had to leave my house for work with Chinese Tapei holding a 2-0 lead in the sixth inning, and was surprised when I got to work and checked the WBC app (again, I have a sickness) to learn that Korea had rallied to take a one-run lead with three runs in the 8th inning. I was more surprised to learn that this dramatic win for the Koreans clinched a spot for Chinese Tapei in the next round.
Without going into too much detail, Korea, one of the tournament’s early favorites, needed to beat Chinese Tapei by six runs in order to advance out of the opening round. Because Korea was the home team (for reasons that are not at all clear to me) in their game against Chinese Tapei, and because they were leading after eight and a half innings, the game ended with Korea winning and Chinese Tapei celebrating. I imagine that the game between Korea and Chinese Tapei would have been a lot less dramatic to watch if I had realized that one team had basically started with a six-run head start.
Even with all of the World Baseball Classic’s quirks and problems (not least of which is that it’s Bud Selig’s baby, and Bud Selig is a frigging rat), I really do enjoy it. I like watching different styles of games, I love watching countries like Australia and Denmark field teams, and most of all, I love watching baseball that actually means something to someone in the wee hours of the morning.