2017 World Baseball Classic Report (Day 11)
Pool F is officially underway with all four teams getting a game in as they prepare to meet Japan and the Netherlands in Los Angeles.
As the focus turns fully to California the games are getting tighter and the competition even better.
There is very little that separates the remaining teams and as Pool F finds their way through another round robin two more contenders will appear for the title.
The final games will be played at a legendary ballpark in Chavez Ravine where the Los Angeles Dodgers make their home throughout the season.
It is a stadium that is known throughout the world as one of the few left with plenty of history throughout the stands.
What many might not understand is that two teams just left another stadium with plenty of history.
The Tokyo Dome is among the most legendary stadiums in the world in a country that loves baseball more than any other sport.
It may often seem like the USA has a monopoly on the fandom of the sport especially with the MLB being so massive.
The American baseball culture is only one among so many that have been seen throughout the World Baseball Classic.
One only needs to look at the placement of the initial pools to see that differences in the culture of the different regions that take this game seriously.
In Japan and South Korea, the baseball country is similar and every different from the one in the USA.
The entire game there are coordinated chants going on and every fan is participating and knows all of the chants.
There was rarely a moment where the noise wasn’t going on and they hung on every swing and every pitch.
In the U.S. the noise can reach massive levels, or in a place like Toronto where chants for some players are heard every at bat, but for the most part it is silence broken by the occasional cheer for the big moments.
Rarely is there constant cheering going on in a game anywhere in the USA but that was far from the case in Tokyo and Seoul.
In Jalisco things had been slightly different as well as the Mexican fans brought a party atmosphere that the Dominicans brought to Miami.
There were no organised cheers or certain cheers for certain players but just fun the entire time.
The fans are only the tip of the culture change between pools though as the fans tend to be an expression of how the players play the game.
Although the USA is going through some changes in their culture with a battle between new school and old school consistently making headlines the fact remains that they have a certain outlook on the game.
The younger generation tends to be a little more excitable and is willing to have fun but most of the Americans are there to do their jobs and never show anyone up.
It is out of a “respect for the game” that they tend to try to do everything the way that it used to be done.
Many of the Japanese players had that same type of attitude while playing and like the Americans still had the odd outburst for big plays.
The teams from the Caribbean and South America have a different attitude altogether as they take the game seriously but love to have fun.
Bat flipping and seeing the entire team come out of the dugout for a big inning was a regular sighting for all of these teams.
It has been in the MLB too which has caused friction amongst some who believe that players should be a little less expressive in big moments.
Wherever you stand among the cultures of baseball the World Baseball Classic is a perfect expression of what the game means for so many different countries.
The cultures clash as the championship game looms large with the Tokyo teams making their way to the west coast and Pool F getting underway.
One fan base is sure to be cheering despite their culture while a number other go home without a title and a lot less to celebrate this year.
USA 4-2 Venezuela
– Venezuela came out to an early lead looking to get started well in the second round but the Americans found their way back and took the win with three runs in the 8th inning to get their first win in the second round
Venezuela vs. Dominican Republic (Thursday, March 16th; 10:00 pm ET)
– After a tough loss by both of these teams, there is a sense of pressure in this game as a loss for either team could hurt them in a big way heading into their final game while a win gives them a little more hope to make the semi-finals