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Saturday, March 16, 2013

Rosenthal: Ousted US took half-hearted approach

Well Below Competitive.

Torre, at one point in his postgame news conference, uncharacteristically bristled at a question about whether holding the tournament in the middle of spring training hurts Team USA. The question, he said, would not even have been relevant if the U.S. had gotten a hit with the bases loaded and one out in the eighth, instead of ending up with merely a bases-loaded walk.

In response to a follow-up about this being the third straight WBC disappointment for the U.S., Torre said, “I guess John Elway had to win a Super Bowl for everybody to consider him a great, great player. It doesn’t always happen. Ernie Banks never was at a World Series. It’s just what happens in short series. It’s not easy to do.”

No argument, but three straight disappointments amount to a pattern. Both Braun and Phillips said they would highly recommend the WBC experience to other players. Perhaps this latest knockout will inspire the next generation of hitters — Bryce Harper, Mike Trout, etc. — to go all-in. And perhaps the next time the best U.S. pitchers will say to themselves, “I’ve got to do this,” and prepare accordingly.

Heaven knows, there is no ideal time for the tournament, and a number of players have legitimate reasons for declining to participate. OK, fine. The players, as I’ve written previously, are mostly good enough.

It’s the mindset that needs to change, from the major league clubs to the Team USA manager and players. Maybe the urgency can never be what it is for Puerto Rico or the Dominican Republic. But Phillips put it best, saying, “You just see how everybody’s passion is totally different than our country’s.” Right now, the U.S. approach is too half-hearted.

Joe Torre spoke beautifully, and his words rang hollow.

Doesn’t that alone indicate a problem?

Repoz Posted: March 16, 2013 at 08:28 AM | 33 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: wbc

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   1. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: March 16, 2013 at 11:23 AM (#4389413)
So the US, which has the resources to be the best in the world, is generally too fat and happy to be bothered. Too much focus on self over country and therefore gets it's ass handed to them by countries that are far less capable.

Seems like I've heard that before...oh yeah, it's the story of everything.
   2. puck Posted: March 16, 2013 at 11:37 AM (#4389418)
I wonder what those who have been watching the tourney make of this. It seems like Rosenthal threw the kitchen sink of what could have gone wrong and it doesn't quite match up. It seems enough talent showed up. Dickey got roughed up in his 1st start, and there were poorly timed blow-ups for Pestano and Kimbrel, but the pitchers seemed to ok.

That only 2-3 guys hit seems to be the worst of it.
   3. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: March 16, 2013 at 11:48 AM (#4389423)
Yeah, the bats were the major problem. The US was somethign 1 for 847 with runners in scoring position (that may not be exactly right but it's close).

The other thing the US did was Torre ran the bullpen in too much of a Spring training fashion. I'm not looking for a six out save from Kimbrel or anything to unreasonable but the "pitch your inning no matter what the matchups or situation say" was pretty clearly a different approach than the Puerto Ricans using four pitchers to get through the 8th inning last night.

The combination of not hitting and some highly dubious decisions by Torre killed the US.
   4. JJ1986 Posted: March 16, 2013 at 11:55 AM (#4389426)
You should not be putting a guy in just to get him some work in an elimination game. You especially should not leave him in (and decline to even visit the mound) after he walks in a run.
   5. RollingWave Posted: March 16, 2013 at 12:19 PM (#4389435)
Yeah, if you look at say.. the Taiwan / Japan game, both team were literally about to be forced to pitch their position player (well except that all their bench is kinda used up too) in the 10 inning game, it lasted almost 5 hour because both team pulled pitchers as soon as there's any sign of trouble, Japan even did the ole stalling then change pitcher trick multiple time. (and even had a pitcher run into the locker room to supposedly get tapped up then run back out, when Taiwan was expecting a new pitcher.)

Quite frankly, the US teams generally tend to manage the game like a ST game while their opponents as G7 of the world series.

   6. puck Posted: March 16, 2013 at 12:30 PM (#4389438)
I hope the US team's response next time is to up the urgency* rather than try to make sure all-stars sign up at every position. (*urgency/heartedness/intensity/etc. as a shorthand for things like the managing approach, preparedness of the players, etc.) To me, there would be nothing worse than an even more talented team going through the motions and underachieving.
   7. Swedish Chef Posted: March 16, 2013 at 12:30 PM (#4389439)
It was all about slack management and bad decisions.
   8. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: March 16, 2013 at 12:33 PM (#4389442)
Too much focus on self over country


Too much focus on country kills people. I'll take it.
   9. Flynn Posted: March 16, 2013 at 01:21 PM (#4389451)
Too much focus on country kills people. I'll take it.


So the lazy American apathy towards the WBC and many other international sporting competitions is proof of America's...peacefulness?

Um, ok, given that America's the biggest murdering warmonger in the world in the past 50 years. But hey, you keep on believing that you self-satisfied liberal! I'll continue to sit here in the shade of ignorance.
   10. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: March 16, 2013 at 01:43 PM (#4389460)
Joe Torre is a shitheel. He cost the US that game by leaving Pestano in. Dumber than Grady ####### Little.
   11. Mike Emeigh Posted: March 16, 2013 at 02:01 PM (#4389477)
He cost the US that game by leaving Pestano in.


Again, in a spring training game that's exactly what you do; the pitchers need to get their work in, no matter how much they are being roughed up. Torre's #1 priority, pretty clearly, was to manage the team in such a way as *not* to disrupt the normal flow of spring training, and that's exactly what he did.

We can expect this as long as the powers that be insist on having the WBC during spring training.

-- MWE
   12. depletion Posted: March 16, 2013 at 02:03 PM (#4389480)
I'm kind of getting the point of the detractors of this tournament. It's definitely more exhibition than the real deal. I still like the idea of getting non-heavyweight baseball countries involved in something like this. Anybody have any better ideas?
   13. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: March 16, 2013 at 02:11 PM (#4389485)
We can expect this as long as the powers that be insist on having the WBC during spring training.


We can expect it from the US team. All the other teams are actually trying to win, and none of them would have left Pestano in. We need a manager who isn't a goddamned hack and stooge for the owners.
   14. RMc's desperate, often sordid world Posted: March 16, 2013 at 02:22 PM (#4389490)
Um, ok, given that America's the biggest murdering warmonger in the world in the past 50 years.

Somewhere, Muammar Gaddafi, Saddam Hussein, Idi Amin, Leonid Brezhnev, Pol Pot and Kim Il-Sung are laughing. (And so is Robert Mugabe, who's still alive and thus can actually laugh.)
   15. rb's team is hopeful for the new year! Posted: March 16, 2013 at 02:41 PM (#4389502)
The idea that because players don't get hits they must not care is, as always, laughable.
   16. yolacrary Posted: March 16, 2013 at 02:45 PM (#4389505)
"Somewhere, Muammar Gaddafi, Saddam Hussein, Idi Amin, Leonid Brezhnev, Pol Pot and Kim Il-Sung are laughing. (And so is Robert Mugabe, who's still alive and thus can actually laugh.)"

...who, added together, have not killed anywhere near as many people as the US over the period in question.
   17. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: March 16, 2013 at 03:11 PM (#4389517)
...who, added together, have not killed anywhere near as many people as the US over the period in question.


No, you're simply wrong on that. Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge regime murdered 2 million people. Kim Il-Sung and Kim Jong-Il let upwards 3.5 million people starve in the 1990s while hording international food aide for use by their military. Heck, Saddam Hussein alone killed 500k-1m Iranians and Kurds during the Iran/Iraq war and Al-Anfal campaign during the 1980s.

The total dead on the NVA/Vietcong side of the Vietnam war was as high as 1.1m, but the US isn't responsible for anywhere near that whole total, and the war was already 8 years in fifty years ago. Even giving the US that whole total, and taking the highest totals from the Gulf, Afghanistan, and Iraq wars only gets the US to about 1.5 million. And that's making the US responsible for every civilian death in those wars as well as enemy combatants. And outside of a few horrific instances like My Lai, the US does not intentionally target civilians for murder, much less round them up into death camps or target ethnic groups for extinction. I will not defend the use of force in US foreign policy, and I think Vietnam, Iraq, and now Afghanistan were all horrific mistakes that speak poorly of our leadership, but I will not allow us to be compared to the ####### scum of the earth like Pol Pot who literally would have people killed for wearing glasses or being able to read or Kim Il-Sung who created a cult where deviation from open devotion to their leader is tantamount to suicide while the inner circle feasts and ##### their way through life.

Jesus ####### Christ, Flynn and yolacrary, get some perspective.
   18. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 16, 2013 at 03:33 PM (#4389522)
Here's Joe Sheehan, writing in his newsletter today about this. And note that Sheehan, an initial skeptic to the WBC, has become a convert. So he's no WBC basher, but he's under no illusions about what the WBC is:

That the U.S. has not shown well in three WBCs is a perceived problem, not an actual one. The WBC isn't about showing what nation is the best at baseball. The design and timing of the event should make that abundantly clear. If you were serious about a global baseball tournament, you wouldn't hold the thing in March and you wouldn't play one-game round-robins and you really wouldn't invite China and Brazil and you wouldn't tell pitching-short teams they could only use their best pitchers for 65 pitches. The WBC's current design is like the MLB postseason, only much worse for gathering useful information about the relative quality of teams. Since the baseball media can't get their hands around the uselessness of a best-of-seven for determining relative quality, it's probably too much to expect them to not draw conclusions from a single game between the U.S. and D.R., or between the U.S. and Puerto Rico.
...
The WBC is a marketing event, not a championship event. Anyone taking more than nine seconds to look at the thing [] can see that.
   19. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: March 16, 2013 at 03:41 PM (#4389530)
Sorry, Flynn, you got caught up in my response to yolacrary. I would still argue that we're not the most warmongering over the last 50 years, but we have a strong argument for the last decade.
   20. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 16, 2013 at 03:44 PM (#4389531)
I hope the US team's response next time is to up the urgency* rather than try to make sure all-stars sign up at every position. (*urgency/heartedness/intensity/etc. as a shorthand for things like the managing approach, preparedness of the players, etc.) To me, there would be nothing worse than an even more talented team going through the motions and underachieving.


---

We can expect it from the US team. All the other teams are actually trying to win, and none of them would have left Pestano in. We need a manager who isn't a goddamned hack and stooge for the owners.


As I've said, the different intensity levels of the participants is inherent in the way this event is structured -- and is what dooms the tournament. If you are a player/team/manager who isn't good enough for the majors, you will try like hell to win the tournament. This is your World Series. But it's not the real World Series, and if you're a major leaguer it's not important relative to the actual World Series and the MLB season and your contract status.

Quite simply if you are a major league player with a contract you can't commit 100% to this because you have made a commitment to something other than this and the organization to which you have made that commitment knows it too.

As Sheehan wrote in January:

The U.S. may not win one, and I mean ever, because the U.S. will have a hard time fielding its best team, and will, so long as the tournament is in March, never send a pitcher to the mound whose priority is winning the World Baseball Classic.
   21. Greg K Posted: March 16, 2013 at 04:01 PM (#4389541)
As I've said, the different intensity levels of the participants is inherent in the way this event is structured -- and is what dooms the tournament. If you are a player/team/manager who isn't good enough for the majors, you will try like hell to win the tournament. This is your World Series. But it's not the real World Series, and if you're a major leaguer it's not important relative to the actual World Series and the MLB season and your contract status.

I'm not sure if this is accurate though. The Dominican team is full of major leaguers and they seem to take it seriously. I think it's less a major leaguer/minor leaguer divide than it is an American/Rest of the World divide.

Which doesn't take away from your point about different levels of intensity. But it just seems like you're kind of creating a narrative of what the WBC is without actually watching it.
   22. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: March 16, 2013 at 04:15 PM (#4389549)
But it just seems like you're kind of creating a narrative of what the WBC is without actually watching it.


Remember who you're talking to.
   23. RMc's desperate, often sordid world Posted: March 16, 2013 at 04:20 PM (#4389551)
Jesus ####### Christ, Flynn and yolacrary, get some perspective.

It's a function of living in a free, liberal democracy that you can afford to not have perspective. Publicly writing the words "(my country is) the biggest murdering warmonger in the world" in a dictatorship can get you killed; hell, Pol Pot would have you killed simply because you could write.

Attacking one's own country, church, town and/or parents is the surest way to make yourself one of the Cool Kids. Never mind if the claims are unprovable or wildly inaccurate; it's enough that You Stood Up To The Man, man. Actually trying to make the world a better place is hard; cynicism is cheap and easy, and there's no shortage of people who will lionize you for it.

So, go ahead and call America murdering warmongers, or your Dad a fascist, or anybody anything, because...hell, you don't even need a reason. You're cool. And that's enough.
   24. Swedish Chef Posted: March 16, 2013 at 04:25 PM (#4389554)
As I understand it from the hockey fans the biggest warmongers of the last 50 years was Canada's team for the summit series '72.
   25. JJ1986 Posted: March 16, 2013 at 04:38 PM (#4389556)
If you are a player/team/manager who isn't good enough for the majors, you will try like hell to win the tournament. This is your World Series. But it's not the real World Series, and if you're a major leaguer it's not important relative to the actual World Series and the MLB season and your contract status.


You should probably have looked over the Dominican roster before posting this.
   26. The District Attorney Posted: March 16, 2013 at 04:41 PM (#4389558)
For ####'s sake, that was a totally unsolicited political hijack and we have a politics thread now. Please stop it.

Why would it matter when during the year the games are held? Would MLB teams be more willing to risk their players getting hurt playing for a different team in July or November? Is the MLB All-Star Game played with the same intent to win as the World Series is? How about the NFL Pro Bowl, is that played like the Super Bowl?
   27. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 16, 2013 at 04:44 PM (#4389559)
Why would it matter when during the year the games are held? Would MLB teams be more willing to risk their players getting hurt playing for a different team in July or November?


No, but at least pitchers are in game shape by then, rather than still ramping up for Opening Day.
   28. JJ1986 Posted: March 16, 2013 at 04:45 PM (#4389560)
I think it's less a major leaguer/minor leaguer divide than it is an American/Rest of the World divide.


I think it's a mananger-who-works-for-MLB/managers who work for their country divide.
   29. Joe Kehoskie Posted: March 16, 2013 at 04:46 PM (#4389561)
I'm not sure if this is accurate though. The Dominican team is full of major leaguers and they seem to take it seriously. I think it's less a major leaguer/minor leaguer divide than it is an American/Rest of the World divide.

Which doesn't take away from your point about different levels of intensity. But it just seems like you're kind of creating a narrative of what the WBC is without actually watching it.

It's probably a combination of both. For at least 12 or 13 teams, the WBC is their World Series, so Ray is right about that. But there's also a disconnect between the way the U.S. and D.R. teams approached the WBC, despite both teams being chock full of ML players.

***
Again, in a spring training game that's exactly what you do; the pitchers need to get their work in, no matter how much they are being roughed up. Torre's #1 priority, pretty clearly, was to manage the team in such a way as *not* to disrupt the normal flow of spring training, and that's exactly what he did.

We can expect this as long as the powers that be insist on having the WBC during spring training.

There's no reason it has to be this way, though. Realistically, how much would some relief pitcher's spring training be set back if he only faced one hitter instead of three, or if he didn't appear at all and simply threw a four-batter simulated game after the game? It's not like Team USA was playing in Russia or something. There are two or three thousand professional baseball players in the state of Florida right now. How hard could it have been to have brought a couple 2A or 3A pitchers and/or hitters down to Miami to help Team USA's players to get their work in?
   30. Bourbon Samurai in Asia Posted: March 16, 2013 at 07:23 PM (#4389609)
And outside of a few horrific instances like My Lai, the US does not intentionally target civilians for murder, much less round them up into death camps or target ethnic groups for extinction.


I would recommend you read this book. Murdering civilians (directly and indirectly) happened all the time in the Vietnam War, both by the U.S. and allied troops, and the U.S. is certainly responsible for a massive portion of the civilian deaths in Vietnam, which far outweigh that suffered by the NVA.

Not that I necessarily think the "greatest warmonger" charge is fair, it is a little different when you are put in the position of guarantor of world order, but the "it only happened at My Lai" defense is a real national shame and one we should stop throwing up.
   31. staring out the window and waiting for fenderbelly Posted: March 16, 2013 at 10:38 PM (#4389676)

Crazy idea - what if the WBC was held DURING the post-season? Only players from non-playoff teams would be eligible but once your MLB team was eliminated from the playoffs then you could join your country's team if you wanted to. Everyone would be in game shape. We could fill those annoying non-game days of the MLB playoffs with WBC games and then have the WBC finals the week after the World Series.

October would be baseball month (even more than it already is).
   32. RMc's desperate, often sordid world Posted: March 17, 2013 at 07:50 PM (#4390124)
Crazy idea - what if the WBC was held DURING the post-season?

That's pretty much what they do in hockey. The world championships are held in May, during the Stanley Cup playoffs. (It's always interesting to see players suddenly joining their national teams in mid-tournament, as soon as their NHL team gets eliminated from the playoffs.)
   33. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 17, 2013 at 08:12 PM (#4390139)
Crazy idea - what if the WBC was held DURING the post-season? Only players from non-playoff teams would be eligible but once your MLB team was eliminated from the playoffs then you could join your country's team if you wanted to. Everyone would be in game shape. We could fill those annoying non-game days of the MLB playoffs with WBC games and then have the WBC finals the week after the World Series.


This isn't hockey.

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