Congratulations to Sadaharu Oh and Team Japan, champions of the World Baseball Classic after a 10-6 victory over Cuba before a sold-out crowd of more than 42,000 last night in San Diego. That they did it without their greatest star, who preferred to remain in Yankee Camp, is even more impressive. (Ichiro, however, scored three runs last night, and his helmet goes to the Hall of Fame.) Kudos also to Cuba, for mounting a comeback in a game in which they were down 4-0 and 6-1, and for their overall achievement in making the final. Those players don’t get a chance for glory on the game’s greatest stage; it was nice to see them have that opportunity here, and to take advantage of it so well.
For all the criticism—and, yes, there is much to be learned for the next go-round in ’09—it’s hard not to see the WBC as a wonderful success. The players who played loved it. Attendance hit somewhere around 750K. Excitement was built around the world. International baseball federations now have a little more in their coffers for development. (Let’s hope MLB spends their money earned on programs in America’s inner cities.)
Okay, to celebrate we’re going to go read this
PS: The WBC All-Tournament Team after the jump. But we think you can guess who’s starting at short.
C: Tomoya Satozaki, Japan
1B: Seung Yeop Lee, Korea
2B: Yulieski Gourriel, Cuba
SS: Derek Jeter, United States
3B: Adrian Beltre, Dominican Republic
OF: Ken Griffey Jr., United States
OF: Jong Beom Lee, Korea
OF: Ichiro Suzuki, Japan
DH: Yoandry Garlobo, Cuba
P: Yadel Marti, Cuba
P: Daisuke Matsuzaka, Japan (Tournament MVP)
P: Chan Ho Park, Korea