First off, let me say that it can be really confusing not only for people who watch these games, but for the people who watch the people who watch these games. I, for example, was on an airplane on Wednesday watching the Netherlands (no, their baseball spikes aren't wooden) play the Dominican Republic. And at the same time that I'm rooting to see the upset, I'm also watching Pedro Martinez pitch and pumping my fist with every 91 mph tailing fastball he was throwing. This prompted my wife to ask me "who exactly are you rooting for?"
And that's the problem with this tournament. There are Mets and their enemies playing for every team (think how weird you felt when J.J. Putz chest bumped Brian McCann after the USA defeated Canada), and teammates facing off against each other. It's like an intense LSD trip where Davey Johnson is managing again, and Bert Blyleven is teaching A ball pitchers his big curveball while Sidney Ponson is offering me peyote.
(But what made me the most unhappy about that first Netherlands/D.R. game was Steve Phillips laughing and joking about how he traded Nelson Cruz away from the Mets and now he's a good hitter. Meanwhile, Metstradamus dies a little inside ... That, and the fact that we had to deplane during the bottom of the ninth, so I had to wait to check into the hotel to find out that the Dutch pulled off Upset Part One.)
First, you have David Wright playing with Jimmy Rollins. And I love how Derek Jeter sits between them in the lockerroom and he's being painted as Kissinger to Wright and Rollins. This is the same Derek Jeter who has had chance after chance after chance to make sure that Alex Rodriguez was accepted in that Yankee lockerroom, but instead let A-Rod twist in the wind because of an Esquire article. But he sits in between Wright and Rollins and he's Alfred Nobel. Okay. Jeter is the greatest captain in the world. Much better than Cats. I am a sheep. I will believe everything I read. Baaaah. Baaaah.
And not only did you have Jose Reyes playing with Hanley Ramirez, but you had Jose Reyes playing with Miguel Olivo, who you remember from their brawl in 2007, started in part because of excessive celebrations by the Mets. So it was funny when Olivo hit his second home run of the game against Panama, and he came to the dugout with a ... wait for it ... choreographed home run handshake!
But now Jose Reyes is back in Mets camp, thanks in part to an error by Hanley Ramirez during Upset: Part One. Way to go, Hanley.
Oh, and speaking of dying a little inside:
First, I gotta watch Victor Zambrano throw a pitch so bad that I'm convinced that Kevin Youkilis swung at it on purpose because he knew he'd reach first base on the strikeout (Youkilis acted like he was upset with himself but I'm convinced that was part of the rouse.) Then in his second appearance, he almost hits David Wright while instrumental in beating the States. (Can you imagine Wright being out for ten weeks with a broken bone off a pitch thrown by the hand of Victor Zambrano? I'd start chugging Drano Bombs on the spot.) And you know that this potentially could mean that Omar Minaya is taking a look at him as long as Tim Redding can't get out college players. Resist, Omar. Resist!!!
(At least Freddy Garcia improved against those same Michigan Wolverines. Out-freakin-standing!)
Then there's Frankie Rodriguez, who had this to say about the Venezuelan media after saving Venezuela's victory over the States last night:
"They're trying to stick it to us. You ask anybody in that clubhouse and they'll tell you the same thing."I didn't know Wallace Matthews was Venezuelan.