- Yesterday I accused team Cuba of slowing the game to an agonizing pace. Today I would like to offer my apologies, for it seems this disappointment sandwich features more than one ingredient. Last night's distinctly non-Cuban baseball game lasted three hours and forty-two minutes, something like 45 or 50 minutes longer than the Major League average. In all, this year's WBC has had 32 games end so far without a mercy rule, with an average length of 3:13. The six games played at Petco had an average length of 3:29. That's a lot of time. Thank goodness for the fun, lively crowds, because if I were forced to watch Petco's other residents play baseball for that long, I'd strongly consider trying to end the game myself by throwing so much shit on the field that the home team has to forfeit.
- Korea had a strong fan showing last night, coming out in greater numbers than the Cubans the day before. Like the Cubans, the Korean fans mostly gathered behind the Korean dugout, but there was one renegade group that collected in the upper deck and made a lot of noise before deciding to join the rest of the pack in the lower level a few innings in.
The powder blue Korean Thunderstix, by the way, were only available for purchase, while the orange Thunderstix adopted by the Japanese were given out for free at the gates.
- Obligatory videos:
Akinori Iwamura brings home Japan's fourth and fifth runs. (direct link)
Japan wins and fans inseminate the sky. (direct link)
- The amount of coordination on display with both the Japanese and Korean fan bases was pretty impressive. It wasn't like an Angels game, where people just bang their Thunderstix together all willy-nilly and forget that they also have lungs; both groups last night chanted and Thundersticked in sync as part of what felt like a near-constant routine. Sitting on the third base side, it was actually a little intimidating to stare across the infield and watch a sea of powder blue shout and gesture forward with their Thunderstix (I'm trying desperately to come up with a synonym for Thunderstix). Despite the countless delays and pitching changes, the atmosphere was wild from the first pitch to the last, and the only shame is that in the end the game didn't really mean anything.
- The way Thunderstix are engineered is ingenious. You just blow into them and they close automatically, with no leaking. Science! Of course the downside is that they develop holes rather easily and also oh yeah they make a really annoying noise. But I'll be honest with you, as soon as you get two of them in your hands, it's instinct to smack them together. There's no preceding thought process. You just look down every few minutes and you're like "why am I doing this?"
- This is a game I like to call Who Doesn't Belong? Alternate title: Spot The Sex Cauldron
- One thing that struck me as somewhat unusual: when making pitching changes (or at least when making this one), the Korean manager stood by the new reliever while he warmed up.
Gun to my head, I'd guess it's less about observing (what's he going to do, change pitchers again if he doesn't like what he sees?) and more about talking and giving advice. Suggestions on how to calm down and face the next few batters. Because if there's one way for a superior to make someone feel easy and comfortable, it's by standing directly behind him.
- Shin-soo Choo's one at bat last night was a hope-destroying double play. I didn't see Ben Broussard ground into any hope-destroying double plays. Based on a sample size of this evidence, Bill Bavasi was amazing.