Right when Nolan Arenado’s face went bouncing off first base during a hustle play after the slider he swung at for strike three skated between the catcher’s legs; I knew Team ‘Merica was for real. I knew this team wanted to win. And I knew this team cared about this tournament even if the fans don’t. “The energy of the game got to me. My instincts took over. I’m trying to win, man.” said Arenado.
You gotta respect the hell out of this guy for playing like it’s October, even though it’s March, all for the name of ol’ Glory!
There’s this perception that the WBC, in its fourth incarnation, means less to the United States than it does to other countries – and when it comes to the fan bases around the world that go crazy for it compared to the Americans who see it as a melancholy exhibition; well, yeah, that’s fair. Nolan Arenado, Nolan Arenado’s face and Nolan Arenado’s teammates, however, want to make one thing clear: They care. They cared enough Friday night not to fold when a scrappy team from Colombia backed them into a corner. They cared enough to yell, scream, and fist-pump big strikeouts They cared enough that when Adam Jones laced a two-out single in the bottom of the 10th inning for a 3-2 victory, the team rushed out of the dugout, celebrated and emptied a Gatorade jug on Jones, checking off all the required walk-off traditions.
Let’s hope the momentum and excitement of a walk-off win goes into today’s game against the star-powered Dominican Republic who looked even stronger than their 2013 WBC Championship team. This is a heavyweight matchup that figures to further put this event on the map in America. Marcus Stroman on the bump for the US in front of a sold-out crowd, and I’ll be on the couch with a cold six-pack cheering on MY COUNTRIES team as I hope many of you are. Show these players the fans care and grow this tournament to the recognition it deserves. We have pride on the line tonight. It’s time to remind the World Baseball Classic who invented this sport.
USA! USA! USA!