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Team USA loss really no big deal

So the United States fell way short in its bid to win the World Baseball Classic. Oh well, it's no big deal, writes Rob Neyer.

Originally Published: March 17, 2006
By Rob Neyer | ESPN Insider
I suppose it's a strange crowd I run with. I don't know anybody who's especially unhappy that the U.S. team got knocked out of the World Baseball Classic on Thursday night, and the truth is that some of my friends were glad the U.S. got knocked out.

This says more about us than it says about the U.S. team, I think. There are some who will argue that the middle North Americans were too arrogant to win, or that they simply didn't care enough to win. Sorry, but I'm not buying either explanation. The U.S. lost, I think, for two reasons. One, they didn't consistently put their best talent on the field (more on that in a minute). And two, sometimes in baseball the best team doesn't win. I might be wrong about this -- and I'm happy to consider any real evidence you'd like to present -- but I suspect that if the U.S. played Korea in a best-of-seven series, the U.S. would win four straight. Ditto for Mexico. If their players really were that good, we'd already know more of them.

But you know, that's baseball. Some of the best players from the United States of America lost two games against most of the best players from Korea and Mexico. Big deal. Yes, it's strange to see these Americans score only eight runs in three games (including their tainted win against Japan). But the Red Sox led the major leagues in scoring last season, and on seven separate occasions they scored eight runs or fewer in three consecutive games. It didn't happen often. But it happened. That's baseball.

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