It was win or go home for the USA in the World Baseball Classic on Saturday night. And the U.S. decided to win. And considering the game was against the Dominican Republic, a team the U.S. hasn't had a lot of success against, last night's win was both important and symbolic. And you could tell! The DR players weren't the only ones showing emotion. The U.S. team was fired up, too, showing more passion and emotion than it's showed in any matchup thus far.
This game was legitimately thrilling; hard fought from start to finish. But there were two great moments. There’s the incredible, massive, extraordinary home run that was hit by — who else? — Giancarlo Stanton. It was glorious. It scored two runs, put the U.S. on top, and sent people in the third deck of the Western Metal Supply Co. building running for cover.
But that wasn’t the only heroic play from the U.S. In the seventh inning when Tyler Clippard was throwing meatballs over the plate, Adam Jones saved what was definitely going to be a Manny Machado home run. He leapt into the air, stuck out his glove, and plucked the thing right out of the air. Clippard raised his arms in celebration and shouted "OH MY GOD," but Machado’s response was legitimately priceless. After he watched Jones steal his home run, he took off his batting helmet and tipped it to Jones as he ran back to the dugout.
After that passion-filled 6-3 win that sent the Dominican Republic team members back to their respective homes, the stage is set for WBC semifinals. The Netherlands plays Puerto Rico on Monday, and Team USA plays Japan on Tuesday. The winners of those games will play each other in the final on Wednesday. It's sad to think of the WBC coming to an end so soon. The whole tournament has been better than pretty much everyone expected it would be. But *everyone* is hyped about baseball right now, and isn't that the whole point?
- Adam Jones’ leaping, Spider-Man catch was seriously phenomenal. I could say more, but you should just watch it for yourself.
- Did you think I’d leave you hanging without a link to that ENORMOUS home run hit by The Mighty Giancarlo Stanton? I wouldn’t do that to you.
- The Red Sox and Twins used to play for a spring training trophy called the Mayor's Cup, but they don't anymore. What is it? Where did it go? Twinkie Town has the story.
- Pitchers don’t usually get to pick their catchers, but Chris Archer’s comments about Jesus Sucre might be trying to push the Rays in one particular direction.
- More than a few Angels players have come to spring training as "brand new ball players," but Halos Heaven isn’t convinced.
- A team needs only so many shortstops, so the Diamondbacks may have to find a new home for Nick Ahmed.
- Bronson Arroyo got hit in the face with a throw to second base, and while he’s fine, it sets up some interesting spring training decisions for the Reds.
- There’s still a roster spot left unclaimed on the Giants, and while it probably belongs to Aaron Hill, Jae-gyun Hwang is trying to give him a run for his money.