2013 WBC: Championship Review

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The 2013 World Baseball Classic would see a revival of Caribbean baseball as two Caribbean teams would face off in the finals. It was a change from previous years where Japan would win the WBC and Asian countries would play a major role in the top teams of the tournament. This year it was different as the Caribbean teams would make their impact in the tournament and show that the Caribbean is a true baseball hot bed. The finals would see two teams on different ends of the baseball spectrum in the world view. For Puerto Rico they were a country on the decline after being a great baseball nation. The Puerto Ricans used to have plenty of stars enter the MLB and they still have a good amount. The only difference now is that the Puerto Ricans in the league are no longer the best players on their teams. They are instead role players who are good players but are not key pieces to their team for the most part. Then there is the Dominican Republic who put together an All-Star roster and could be considered a baseball factory at this point in time. They produce some of the biggest superstars in the game today including players like Jose Reyes, Jose Bautista, Robinson Cano, and many more. Although not all of their superstars made an appearance in the World Baseball Classic they still had one of the most feared rosters in the tournament. Although both teams were on the opposite ends of the baseball spectrum they would both make it through the wild tournament to make an all Caribbean finals. It would be the Dominicans who would come out early thanks to a pair of Blue Jays and the fear of a Yankee. The inning would open up with a big double by new Jay Jose Reyes and would be followed up by a walk of Robinson Cano to put two on base. Edwin Encarnacion would cap off the inning with a big double that would score the first two runs of the game. From that point on the Dominican pitching staff would take over the game as they would not let the Puerto Ricans back in. Puerto Rico had depended, in large part, to mistakes throughout the tournament that they would take advantage of to begin runs. The Dominicans would not make that key mistake to give the Puerto Ricans an opening and would only give them three hits all game. The Dominicans played a solid game and would not dominate the Puerto Ricans but would win in a fashion that they cannot be challenged as the best team in the world. Adding another run later in the game the Dominican Republic would take the 3-0 win and become only the second country to win a gold medal at the World Baseball Classic, Japan won the first two.

As the Dominicans raised the trophy, the 2013 Tournament officially ended with a new team sitting at the top of the baseball world. The Dominicans were clearly the best team in the tournament but with a tournament like this the best team does not necessarily win. Now they will go down as the best team ever in the WBC, for the three tournaments that have run, becoming the first undefeated team in tournament history. As the Dominicans celebrated the Puerto Ricans would go home with the silver in what truly was a great tournament for them. It was made only better when Yadier Molina led his team out to the field to congratulate their rivals on the win. It was a classy move that ended a great tournament which took a massive step this year. The World Baseball Classic is getting bigger and is becoming a staple in the international baseball schedule. The respect is coming and more players are taking it seriously as they begin to take more pride in representing their country. The tournament has a ways to go to still with MLB management still on the fringe of acceptance but this is something that they cannot ignore forever. The 2013 Classic is over and a new champion has been crowned and now we wait another four years until the world comes together again in what another tournament that is sure to take the Classic another step forward in the baseball world.

Final Score:
Dominican Republic 3 – 0 Puerto Rico

2013 WBC MVP:

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Robinson Cano, 2B (Dominican Republic)
.469 avg
2 HR
6 RBI
1.296 OPS

Final Standings:
1. Dominican Republic [Gold]
2. Puerto Rico [Silver]
3. Japan [Bronze]
4. Netherlands
5. Cuba
6. USA
7. Italy
8. Chinese Taipei
9. South Korea
10. Venezuela
11. Mexico
12. Canada
13. China
14. Brazil
15. Spain
16. Australia

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