Quotes of the day
- "I was kind of out of sync. I just didn't feel like mechanically it was great. If it was the regular season there are some things I might do differently. It wouldn't be an acceptable outing in the regular season."
-- Brandon McCarthy
- "Offensively, it was good. Pitching-wise, we just got too deep in counts. We want to clean that up. We scored three, they score four, we scored six, they score four -- those have to be shutdown innings."
-- Kirk Gibson
- "It was just simply, I think, a misunderstanding. In a normal professional setting, I should say, a 9‑3 bunt in that particular situation would be kind of out of the ordinary. But based on the rules that have been established in this tournament, the run differentials and things of that nature, it was talked about before, that those things may occur... I think in just the heat of the moment you lose sight of it and maybe that's how it occurred."
-- Rick Renteria, Mexico manager
We already covered the unsightly brawl that discolored the end of the Canada-Mexico game at Chase Field yesterday afternoon, but that was just one. Over in second-round action in Tokyo, the Cubans put a whupping on Chinese Taipei, scoring eight in the sixth to mercy-rule Taipei, and eliminate them from the contest. Going on right now is an intriguing match-up between the Japanese and the Dutch: the Netherlands needs to win just one game, either that contest against Japan, or beating Cuba again, and they would become the first European team ever to reach the semi-finals, which take place in San Francisco next Sunday and Monday.
We'll be getting half our contingent back quicker than expected, as the Venezuelan team suffered its second straight defeat in Puerto Rico, this time losing to the home squad by a 6-3 margin. Venezuela took the lead with two runs in the third, but couldn't hold it. The Arizona trio of Miguel Montero, Gerardo Parra and Martin Prado went 2-for-7, Prado getting both hits and an RBI. They'll play Spain tomorrow with nothing but pride at stake: the Spanish team lost to the Dominican Republic, who also qualified for round two. Spain did get on the board this times, and the final score of 6-3 was respectable enough. Puerto Rico and the DR also play tomorrow, to decide the winner and runner-up.
At Chase Field tonight, the Italians looked to pull off the shock of all shocks, jumping out to an early 2-0 lead over the United States.But a five-run fifth inning, highlighted by a grand-slam from David Wright, put America back on top, and they largely cruised from there to a 6-2 victory. It means that this afternoon's game against Canada becomes a winner-takes-all contest, and whoever prevails, will go through to the second round with a 2-1 record, the same as the other qualifiers, Italy. If the US wins, they'll do so as group winners, if Canada does, they'll be runners-up, because the tiebreaker is the head-to-head result against the Italians.
The Spirit Of Arizona
Yesterday was just a routine morning at Salt River Fields. Except, as was documented elsewhere on the site, the routine in question was performed by the Diamondbacks' rookies, who got to show off their newly-found cheerleading skills in front of their team-mates and other onlookers (including 'charmer, I believe!). It all seemed to go fairly well, despite a few tenths being knocked off by the Bulgarian judge for Chris Owings falling over at the end. Said Chase Anderson: "At first it was like, 'I can't do this.' But after we all kind of loosened up a little bit, it was actually kind of fun." Sure: hanging out with high-school hotties is not exactly what I'd call a chore!
Seeing ourselves as other see us
Over on Purple Row, JJeff Aberle talks to Geoff Young about the Diamondbacks [you need to scroll past all the tedious stuff about the Padres!] and their moves over the winter. If I had to choose a single word to sum up the reaction, it would be "confused." To quote Geoff, "I don't know everything that Towers and his staff knows, but from an outside perspective I think it's really strange. I don't know what they were trying to accomplish - and even if I did know, I wouldn't be able to judge if they succeeded or not. I just don't know."
- Mariano Rivera is retiring. While I've no doubt we're all going to be heartily sick of the farewell tour by the end of the year [not least when we go to New York next month, there's no doubt it's the end of an era. Not least because with Rivera goes #42, which he was allowed to continue wearing after MLB retired it sport-wide. Random factoid: while we didn't see him all that much, the only runs Rivera ever allowed over his entire career against the Diamondbacks, came in the ninth inning of Game 7 in 2001.
- In 2006, right-handed pitcher Juan Sandoval was accidentally blinded in his right eye when he was shot as an innocent bystander. Now Sandoval is back pitching, trying out for the Tampa Bay Rays. NPR talked to him.
"In 23 seasons, Pedro Valdes has played for 18 teams. In 13 leagues. In five countries. Or as he put it, "Everywhere." His first two teams, the Huntington Cubs and the Geneva Cubs, no longer exist. He later joined the Oklahoma RedHawks of the Pacific Coast League and the Fukuoka Daiei Hawks of the Japan Pacific League. There were three seasons in Iowa, four in Japan and five in Mexico, where he stayed true to form by playing for different clubs each summer, from Tabasco to Oaxaca. And he still cannot figure out how to pack a suitcase." Read more about the "journeyman's journeyman".