A Strikeout In (and For) US, Classic Is World of Thrills

Tournament shows the promise of international baseball
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 24, 2009 2:11 PM CDT
Ichiro Suzuki, who drove in the winning runs, celebrates with teammates Seiichi Uchikawa, right, and Norichika Aoki after Japan's 5-3 victory in the championship game of the WBC March 23, 2009.   (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
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(Newser) – After watching Japan best Korea in extra innings to defend its World Baseball Classic championship, Tom Verducci is excited about the tournament’s future, he writes for Sports Illustrated. In its second go-round, the tournament is a phenomenon worldwide. Most exciting though, is the way Japan won: with pragmatic fundamentals, and without “that staple of American baseball”—the home run.

That’s what the WBC has to offer, Verducci writes: the transformation of baseball into a truly international sport. It would be nice to see America take the tournament more seriously, as Team USA failed to reach the finals again this year. But it will continue to grow with or without us. “It belongs to the world,” Verducci concludes. “Game on.”