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3.17.2006

USA-WOL 

Pundits will no doubt try to wring cosmic significance from Team USA's elimination yesterday at the hands of Equipo Mexico in the World Baseball Classic. For those suffering pundit's block, here are some handy knee-jerk column templates, provided free of charge to all you desperate opiners scouring the blogs for ideas:

The Left-Wing Scold: Oh, I told you so. We fat Americans are so smug, so self-absorbed, but lo, the imperialists were taken down a notch in their own national pastime by our long-oppressed North American neighbors!

The Right-Wing Lament: This never would have happened under Ronald Reagan's watch. Such an embarrassment is obviously due to a loss of traditional values and not enough emphasis on sacrifice (bunts or otherwise). Pat Buchanan, this one's for you.

The Thomas Friedman 21st-Century Flat-World Citizen: While our kids are zoned out on PlayStations and drinking 128-ounce Big Gulps, globalization is happening in front of our noses, folks. It's time to wake up and smell the chapatis. Fund education, yes, but embrace competition, and let Indian and Pakistani cricketers have their fair crack at throwing the horsehide.

The New York/Boston Media Angle: A-Rod: Punk'd!

The Bloodless, Boring Baseball Prospectus Rejoinder: What part of "sample size" do you not understand? Gosh, you're so retarded!

It's All His Fault: Barry Bonds is the emblem of everything that's wrong with American baseball. And America. And the solar system. And the Milky Way. I don't need to ask Steven Hawking, I can just look at the guy's hat size then go ask Turk Wendell what he thinks. (This one is reserved for Murray Chass, Frank DeFord, or some other old white guy from the Northeast.)

Speaking of pundits, here's Team USA member Todd Jones's assessment of his squad, published in his Detroit Free Press column before last night's USA-Mexico game:

"So how about the United States? We've had a little bit of a problem getting going, as you might have seen. We have two complete teams of great players, and it has been tough to get playing time for all the guys. So the guys who sit can't get their rhythm, and the guys who play haven't played together.

The U.S. lineup is full of middle-of-the-order hitters. So when we've had guys on base and needed someone to shoot the ball through the hole, that's not something any of these guys are usually asked to do.

The U.S. guys also have a tendency to sit back and wait for a three-run homer. It's fine if you get that three-run homer, but it's not too good if you don't. So we've been in a wait-and-see mode."


He fails to mention that most WBC action to date has been extremely low-scoring, making me think the pitchers are way ahead of the hitters right now. (Exception: Dontrelle Willis.) No matter how many flags are waved and horns blared and salsas danced in the stands, it's still spring training.

Have you found a good knee-jerk reaction to the USA loss? Do you have your own? Comments, please.

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