World Baseball Classic Final
Cuba and Japan face off starting at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN. Can Ichiro lead Japan to the first WBC title? Or will the Cubans flex their baseball muscle?
Join us starting at 9 p.m. and find out!
Buzzmaster (6:06 PM)
Helloooooooo! So, this World Baseball Classic thing wasn't such a bad idea, huh? Team USA might be out, but you have to be intrigued by Cuba vs. Japan. Prior to the WBC starting, just 1.8 percent picked Japan to win. An almost equal percentage picked Cuba. Who wouldathunkit? Anyway, ESPN.com MLB editor David Kull is on-site at the championship game and will be giving you the inside scoop during the game! Submit your questions and comments now and log on at 9 p.m. ET!
MLB editor David Kull (9:01 PM)
Welcome to the in-game chat for the championship game of the World Baseball Classic. The sky is a bit cloudy, and there's a slight breeze in the stadium, but it's still a beautiful night in San Diego. I'm looking forward to a great ballgame. So as we wait for them to clear the inflatable globe from the pitcher's mound, let's get to the questions!
If it wasnt the middle of the year for cuba's season would they have made it here.
MLB editor David Kull (9:03 PM)
Eric, that's a great question. They've already played around 70 games in Cuba. Meanwhile, they're having spring training in Japan and America right now. But I still think the Cubans have proven they can perform at a major-league level, regardless of the time of year.
David, Do you think the wbc was a success will they have it agian?
MLB editor David Kull (9:04 PM)
Brad, I think it was a success. The games have been compelling, the atmosphere has been tremendous, and the quality of play has been excellent. The next one is planned for 2009 and then every four years after that.
do you think it will ever be possible for cuban players to play over here
MLB editor David Kull (9:06 PM)
Geoff, who knows? It's obviously not ever likely under the current regime. It would be great, though, wouldn't it? I wouldn't mind seeing Cuba field a team and have it be a part of Major League Baseball. But that's probably just a fantasy, and nothing more.
Joe (South Jersey)
My pick for tonite's wbc final is Cuba because i think there is a lot of undiscovered talent and because of restrictions of the country the only way for the talent to be discovered is to run away from the country like Jose Contreas, El Duque, and Livan Hernandez
MLB editor David Kull (9:08 PM)
Jon, Cuba is still largely a mystery to everyone because it's never been in a setting like this, where it's playing against professional players, at least those who currently play Major League Baseball. Either way, I think it's going to be a close game -- probably 3-2 or 4-3.
Dave (Cottonwood, AZ)
Is there any sign already of managers in MLB taking 'AsianStyle' small-ball or Cubano and incoporating that into their strategies for 2006? Will the "hit the ball real hard" be phased out?
MLB editor David Kull (9:10 PM)
Dave, remember Ozzie-ball from last year? You saw signs there of incorporating small ball, trying to scratch out a run here and there. I'm sure people in MLB are taking notice of how the Cubans and the Japanese -- and don't forget the Koreans -- have played in this tournament.
So (San Francisco, California)
What are some new names that came up on Major League scouts' radars because of the WBC?
MLB editor David Kull (9:12 PM)
So, we had a scouting piece on ESPN.com the other day about that very topic. The top six names, in order, were the following in terms of major-league potential: Gourriel, Matsuzaka (who is Japan's starter tonight), Lazo, Seung Yeop Lee, Iwamura (3B for Japan who's not in the lineup tonight, due to injury), and Uehara, who beat the Koreans on Saturday.
Johnn (Peterborough Canada)
How come this game is delayed by espn?
MLB editor David Kull (9:13 PM)
Johnn, they had to remove everything from the field. Basically, the same thing happened the other night as well.
If you had to guess the out come of this game who would win and what would the score be?
MLB editor David Kull (9:14 PM)
R.J., I'm picking Japan in a low-scoring game, 3-2 or 4-3. Matsuzaka beat the Cubans in the first round of the 2004 Olympics, 6-3. It won't be a surprise if either team wins, at this point.
Small Papi (Orlando)
Would Japan have made it this far with Matsui?
MLB editor David Kull (9:15 PM)
Be specific, Small Papi. Kaz or Hideki? I'm assuming you mean Hideki. Certainly, they would have made it this far. I've spoken to a few Japanese reporters, and they say Matsui would have definitely been one of the starting outfielders for Japan.
Sean Mc (Laconia, NH)
Was Korea the biggest surprise of this WBC? If not, which team was the biggest surprise? And disappointment?
MLB editor David Kull (9:19 PM)
Sean, yeah, I think Korea was the biggest surprise. But if you watched at least the first six inning of the last game, you had to be amazed with the Koreans' defense. Unbelievable. They made take 10,000 grounders a day. They all looked like Gold Glovers! Flawless footwork, perfect throws. Biggest disappointment? It's gotta be the home team: the USA. This was set up for the U.S. to make the final. Didn't make it, did they?
Phillip (Puerto Rico)
Good Night everybody!!! Does anybody know how is the score of the game so far????
MLB editor David Kull (9:20 PM)
Phillip, the game just got under way. Japan is batting in the top of the first. There's one out with Niskioka up. And sorry to everyone about the NIT game. I can't tell from here what you are seeing at home.
Shaun (Elgin, IL)
Why did the Americans underachieve?
MLB editor David Kull (9:22 PM)
Shaun, where do you start? No timely hitting at all. Willis got lit up. And hey, these other teams, as we're all discovering, are pretty darn good. They deserve a heckuva lot of credit as well.
Lyesnell (Varadero, Cuba)
Good Luck to our team and to my cousin Yulieski Gourriel... Lets Go cuba... Lets GO PL LAZO LETS GO CUBA!!!!!!
MLB editor David Kull (9:23 PM)
Lyesnell, your cousin is a great player. But I think you already knew that! It's about time we all figured out how good Cuban baseball is.
What is the score and is it on the radio?
MLB editor David Kull (9:24 PM)
Chet, the game is on ESPN Radio. Here's the game situation: top of the first, one out, Nishioka on second, Ichiro is batting.
With the incredible success of the world baseball classic and the dissapointing early exit of the American team, do you foresee even more of the bigger U.S. stars being willing to participate in the '09 classic to try to avenge this year?
MLB editor David Kull (9:26 PM)
Erio, I hope so. This tournament should have only the best players. If you are one of the best players from the U.S., and you just saw your country's team get humbled on a worldwide scale, what would you do about it? Hopefully, you'd play the next time. By the way, Ichiro walked. Runners on first and second, one out, and Japan's best hitter, Matsunaka is up. 2-0 count.
Danny (Scottsdale Az)
What are the odds 1 or 2 Cuban players defect after game???
MLB editor David Kull (9:29 PM)
Danny, I've gotten a lot of questions about defections. I don't think we can automatically assume someone will defect just because they're playing in the U.S. Don't underestimate their love of the game and love of their country, even if they'd be promised millions in the States. Matsunaka just hit an infield single. Bases loaded with one out and Tamura is up.
Shouldn't MLB change the name of the World Series to the American Series? It's obvious from this tournament that many of the best players (and perhaps best teams) aren't playing in MLB. Just like basketball, the rest of the world is getting better and it is unfair to call our professional championship the World Championship when these other teams aren't given a chance to compete.
MLB editor David Kull (9:32 PM)
Well, the World Series is so engrained in American baseball; it would be hard to change it now. But this tournament is really what a true World Series should be. Update: Cuba, believe it or not, just changed pitchers. The starter, Ormani Romero, just got pulled after one-third of an inning with the bases loaded in a 0-0 game. How unconventional is that? The new pitcher is Odelin.
Pete (Oakland, CA)
Hey David, what do you think of the tournament formation? I mean Korea had to beat Japan 3 TIMES to reach the final. Even mighty Yankees can't beat the Devil Rays 3 times in a row.
MLB editor David Kull (9:34 PM)
Pete, I don't like the format. The semifinal should have been one pool winner vs. the other pool's runner-up and vice versa. It should have been Cuba vs. Korea, and D.R. vs. Japan. It doesn't make any sense to, as you said, play the same team three times.
James (San Francisco, CA)
Should Hall of Fame voters consider WBC performance in voting for/against a particular player?
MLB editor David Kull (9:37 PM)
Unfortunately, it's called the National Baseball Hall of Fame, not the International Baseball HOF. If they change the name, I'm in favor of it. And then I'd be in favor of including players like Sadaharu Oh as well.
What would you think of making the final WBC round a best-of-3 series? That might add a little spice.
MLB editor David Kull (9:38 PM)
Great idea, Matthew. As you know, anything can happen in one game. The superiority of one team over another normally comes out in the course of a series, as opposed to one game.
Justin (Auckland, New Zealand)
In an effort to internationalise the game, will MLB consider rotating the WBC to different countries?
MLB editor David Kull (9:39 PM)
Justin, if it were up to me (and obviously, it's not), I'd either let the champion host the next WBC or, as you suggested, rotate it between the participating countries.
what do you think about the network (espn) dragging its feet to change the feed?
MLB editor David Kull (9:41 PM)
Phil, there's thousands of angry people out there. But all I see at the stadium is the internal feed. I have no idea what's going on with the NIT game. Update: The new Cuban pitcher just walked in a run. 2-0 Japan, with two outs in the top of the first.
another Matthew (NYC)
What's the story with Matsui and Jojima, 2 of the best Japanese players? Why did they not join the Japanese national team? If they had those guys, they'd be even stronger.
MLB editor David Kull (9:44 PM)
Johjima didn't play in order to get acclimated to playing MLB with the Mariners. Totally understandable. He has a lot to overcome (namely the language barrier, knowledge of the pitchers and of opposing hitters) to succeed here. As for Matsui, he apparently wanted to concentrate on playing for George ... oops, I mean the Yankees. Both players would be starting for Japan right now. But it looks like they don't need them. Imae just singled with the bases loaded to score two more. It's 4-0, and there's yet ANOTHER pitching change for Cuba.
The NIT game mercifully ended on a buzzer beater 3-pointer by Michigan. We're all in SD with you now, thankfully.
MLB editor David Kull (9:47 PM)
Welcome to San Diego, finally! You didn't miss much -- just the first four runs of the game!
Do you really think MLB will hold this tournament outside the US? Do you think Cuba/DR and Korea/Japan would both draw over 40K fans in any other country?
MLB editor David Kull (9:48 PM)
Definitely, Silas. This game is everything to fans in those countries right now.
Alex (The Dominican Republic)
At the rate the Cubans are going Laso will be on the mound by the 4th inning.
MLB editor David Kull (9:49 PM)
Unfortunately, Lazo can't pitch tonight. He went too long on Saturday. WBC rules.
Mark (Kitchener, Ontario)
Is it true that the Cuban pitching coach is now scowering the crowd for possible relief help? Geez, this is strange!
MLB editor David Kull (9:49 PM)
Mark, at this rate, he may have to pull someone out of the stands wearing a Cuba jersey. Wonder if El Duque is here!
Bernardo, Marietta, Ga.
Hey Mr. Kull---people watched the whole tourney, and nobody saw any of the action which lead to the first run. What's your opinion on that?
MLB editor David Kull (9:51 PM)
Bernardo, four words: I don't like it.
Elizabeth (Chino Hills, CA)
My sweetie and I were at both games on Saturday. The crowd energy was amazing - especially the Korean fans. It's unfortunate for Cuba to get off to this start. Both Saturday games were so compelling.
MLB editor David Kull (9:52 PM)
Well, Paret just hit a bomb off Matsuzaka. Don't count Cuba out yet.
why did arod play with usa team and not the domincan team?
MLB editor David Kull (9:56 PM)
He ended up going with his home country over his parents' country, apparently. The big question is, who will he play for in 2009?
Rocio (Cleburne, TX)
Cuba wasn't even supposed to be in the tournament. So are they the underdogs?
MLB editor David Kull (9:58 PM)
Rocio, not supposed to be in? According to whom? They were part of the tournament from the start, just not officially. And they are only underdogs because they've only played against amateur competition. People figured they'd be overmatched against professionals. That's not the case, though, is it?
BScott (Olympia, WA)
Think more Major League teams will be trying to sign Japanese players if they win this game? Esspecially with the success of Ichiro already and others putting up quality contributions?
MLB editor David Kull (10:01 PM)
BScott, you have to put in 10 years of service in the Nippon Professional League before you can become a free agent and sign with an American team. A U.S. team can't just go over there and sign any Japanese player it pleases. But Matsuzaka is eligible to become a free agent and come to America after the 2007 season, I believe. So keep an eye on him.
Dan Shaughnessy (Boston)
Hey David, long time no talk. Personally, I'm rooting for Cuba to win this game. Am I anti-American because of it?
MLB editor David Kull (10:04 PM)
What's up, Dan? Love your work. I find it hilarious that someone would be deemed anti-American if they root for Cuba to win. This is baseball, not politics. Just because you want Cuba to win doesn't mean you've sworn off democracy in favor of Communism. That's right, isn't it, Dan?
Is it me, or are these players really, really fast compared to US players? They seem to have more fire than our pros do.
MLB editor David Kull (10:06 PM)
Chris, tonight's Japanese lineup is really built with speed in mind. The top three hitters in the lineup tonight -- Kawasaki, Nishioka and Ichiro -- are all leadoff hitters where they play. And Aoki and Imae at the bottom of the lineup can run as well. And the Cuban players run well too. Gourriel is extremely fast, for one.
Will MLB players start having tougher workout regimens to get in top shape like Japan?
MLB editor David Kull (10:09 PM)
Highly unlikely, Kevin. MLB players do things one way, Japanese players do it another way, and so on. One tournament isn't going to change years of habits.
although Japan lost twice to Korea..... I cannot beleive that Japan beat Korea..... because I'm Korean i feel really discouraged after that game... GO CUBA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
MLB editor David Kull (10:11 PM)
Don't feel badly, James. Korea played great baseball. Heck, it was 0-0 until Mr. Kim imploded in the seventh. I'd be very proud.
Tom Lozano (Singapore)
I have no live feed in Singapore, just wondering if anyone had an update on the game!
MLB editor David Kull (10:12 PM)
Tom, always willing to accommodate someone from Singapore. It's 4-1 Japan in the bottom of the second inning, with two outs and a runner on second.
Why has there been so little coverage of this tournament by the US Media?
MLB editor David Kull (10:14 PM)
Enrique, do you read this website everyday? We've been all over this tournament. It's dominated our MLB page. You must have been reading something besides ESPN.com!
MLB editor David Kull (10:16 PM)
I'm jumping off now to allow Jim Caple to join the chat. Keep the questions coming!
do you think any of the cubans will stay in america?
Jim Caple (10:21 PM)
Thanks Kevin . . . er, Dave. As far as defectors, I don't know if we'll see any, but if I were doing it, I'd make sure I keep running and get across the Mexico border. That way you're a free agent and you can probably get $10 million more. If you're Gourirel, that is. Not sure how many others would command that kind of money.
Joe (Key Largo, FL)
Hi Jim - Do you think more or fewer Japanese players will make the jump to the United States as a result of the WBC?
Jim Caple (10:24 PM)
It might lead to a few more -- Matsuzaka, who is pitching right now might be posted after the season -- but I thnk the appeal of the majors was already there. And while it's been our gain, it's been Japan's loss. There's some irony there -- as Japan enjoys the success of Iichiro, Matsui,etc, the game there is suffering with their departures. BTW: Ratings in Japan for the semi-final with Korea were in the 50s. Super Bowl numbers.
Jim Caple (10:25 PM)
There's some talk of the top eight teams here getting automatic bids and then 16 teams playing qualifiers, with half of those getting in.
isnt there a law that says any cuban that makes it to the US is allowed to stay? so can the cuban players stay? a lot of them have great talent and i hear on a talk show that they could make about 10 million a year or some such number, much more than the $25 a month they are payed now.
Jim Caple (10:27 PM)
I'm not sure what the immigration laws are but as the Cuban manager said, it's very easy to defect. just jump out of the dugout and into the stands, really. But remember, when a player defects from a country, he defects from his family and his old life as well -- and that's very hard. Plus, these guys also love their country and may not necessarily want to leave. Some probably do, some probably don't.
Tom Lozano (Singapore)
Hey Jim! What's your take on Team USA? Why such a poor performance? Not enough preparation or just got outplayed?
Jim Caple (10:32 PM)
A couple things hurt them. One, not all the best players agreed to play (though that's true for other countries as well). Two, i don't think they cared as much as the other teams. The underdog always tries harder, doesn't he? Three, it's baseball. Have you ever gone to a game thinking that one team couldn't win? Even a Yankees-Devil Rays game, you figure Tampa will win at least once in a three-game series. I also think the U.S. players will see that this was a pretty good tournament and will take it more seriously next time.
James (clearwater Fl)
Why can't they play this tourny durning the allstar break when the players are in baseball playing at full strenght
Jim Caple (10:35 PM)
It's an interesting suggestion. jayson Stark wrote a story about it. He suggested they play the first two rounds in spring training, then the semi-final and finals the all-star week. I like the idea but there are some problems there as well -- like, if you were A-Rod or jeter or someone like that, you wouldn't get any break at all. So you would have to take a longer break, say four or five days, and maybe sub the WBC for the actual All-Star game in WBC years.
Tom (Las Vegas)
Baseball will be done in the U.S. in about 20 years. I can't remember going past a baseball field and seeing any kids playing. However, everyday, I see kids playing soccer. This tournament is a last ditch effort to save the game I am afraid.
Jim Caple (10:39 PM)
Well, I know what you're saying but I disagree. I played ball all the time when i was a kid but it was usually in the backyard with my friends and there is no way anyone would have seen us besides our parents. I think that's still true. One thing i do I think could hurt is the rise of traveling teams that weed too many kids out at a young age. Just because other countries are playing ball doesn't mean we'll stop. Other countries make movies but Hollywood hasn't shut its doors.
Hector (Weston, Florida)
It has been great to have meaningful baseball in March. The drama, the emotion, the passion, all of this in March. How can you not love this. Great Call to do this.
Jim Caple (10:42 PM)
Agreed. That's what i always come back to. Is this WBC format perfect? Of course not. But for the most part, it's worked. And it"s much better than watching another meaningless spring training game.
What was the deal with Bob Davidson? He completely blew both of those calls in the U.S. games. There was a yellow mark on the ball that Valenzuela hit off the foul pole, and still called it a foul ball. If the U.S. had advanced and eventually won, would there be any major controversy?
Jim Caple (10:46 PM)
Davidson had a rough week, no doubt. I feel for him. He lost his job in a terrible negotitating strategy with the umpires union in 1999, then went back to the low minors -- he even umped softball games for $20 a pop -- and worked his way back up to the majors as a vacation fill-in. But he didn't help himself out here. That home run/double call was awful. i don't think there was any conspiracy, just two very bad calls. And it's a good thing Japan advanced or there would be some major complaining.
Ben (St. Albert, Alberta)
What are some of the other countries who have been discussed being given the opportunity to play into the tournament in 2009? South Africa and Australia aren't the best but what other countries are there in the world beter than them?
Jim Caple (10:48 PM)
Nicaragua, for sure. probably the czech republic. Russia. You'd be scraping for 24 teams total but i think there are for sure 20 deserving clubs.
Dirk Nowitzki (Dallas, TX)
I have to keep up with Yao! We've seen how exciting the WBC can be. But what can they do to make the WBC better?
Jim Caple (10:52 PM)
Glad you found time in your hoops schedule to write in about a real sport, Dirk. Anyway, what can be done to improve the WBC? The main thing is improving the timing and other than moving the final round to All-Star week, i don't know how you do that. Baseball isn't willing to shut down for two weeks for this and i don't think fans would want them to. They could improve the pools. No way Korea should have had to beat Japan three times to reach the finals -- that should have been a cross-over matchup in the Asia and Americas pools. Have the players work out earlier so they'll be closer to top form and the pitchers can go longer. Those are a few things but really, i think it will grow and improve on its own.
Do you think that several generations from now, the WBC will eventually become bigger than our own North American "World Series"? Is this what George Steinbrenner is really afraid of? The Yankees may become less relevant once the international teams become the premiere competitors in the world.
Jim Caple (10:55 PM)
No, I don't. Jason from Austin notes that you could play this thing five times and get five different winners and he's not far off. That's why i don't think it will grow to that large an extent. it's fun, it's exciting, it will get bigger and better, but at the end of the day, i don't think anyone will ever think it really proves which country is best at the game. The World Series will always be the big deal, and there's no rule that it won't eventually include teams from other countries.
Ben (St. Albert, Alberta)
Do you think the WBC would be more exciting if they ditched the second round and just went with 8 teams per pool, had each team play everyone else in their pool and make the final four the top two teams from each pool?
Jim Caple (10:56 PM)
I don't know if it would be more exciting but it would be fairer.
Kobe Bryant (Los Angeles, CA)
How come an unknown team like Cuba can make it to the finals of the World Baseball Classic, while a favorite like the USA can't even make it to the semifinals?
Jim Caple (10:58 PM)
One, Cuba isn't unknown. Two, even the White Sox lost 60-some games last year.
My said threw out the idea of 'Why not have a international league instead of just our 32 teams?' What do you think of that idea? I personally don't like it nor think it would work. I think during course of a 162 games that the US would reign surpreme. And it would cost too much to travel for the lesser countries. Do you have any input on it? Thanks
Jim Caple (11:00 PM)
I think that if baseball could ever figure out a way to deal with the travel problems, it would love to get a Japanese team in the majors. And wouldn't it be great if we had normalized relations with Cuba and one day had a team in Havana? Of course, i don't know how Fidel would feel about that. On the one hand, he loves baseball. on the other hand, he probably hates agents even more than we do.
hawaiian style (kailua, hi)
why wasnt there more notice, i mean it seemed like nothing was heard of from the media until like december or so, you would think the marketing would go on longer than a few months
Jim Caple (11:03 PM)
They rushed this, no doubt. Actually they wanted to do it last year but there just wasn't enough time. But I also think they would have faced media challenges even with a lot of lead time. No one knew whether it would work out or not, or quite what to make of it. The Tour of California went through the same thing. But as the years go by, the media interest will improve.
do you think Japan will be a country that produces talented ball players like the Dominican Republic?
Jim Caple (11:04 PM)
Japan already does but there isn't the economic incentive for them to come here since they can make a damn fine living in their own country playing baseball.
sam (new jersey)
Jim, tell me if you agree with this idea-have the WBC start in december and end in the 1st week of January. this way, spring training is uninterupted, and baseball wouldn't lose attention because of march madness or football playoffs. it also sparks interest in baseball during the middle of the offseason, and bad injurys can still heal before the season. Tell me what you think.
Jim Caple (11:06 PM)
it would work for fans, but the players would resist because they would get little offseason. And as much as they are paid, i can agree with them. Millions of dollars or not, the season is a grind. And we want players who are into this, not dragged in kicking and screaming. Also, it would cut into the inwter league season in central america
Larry Hamish (Indio, CA)
Do you believe that Oswald acted alone? What about the WBC umpires? There have been some pretty egregious calls.
Jim Caple (11:07 PM)
There is no truth to the rumor that Bob Davidson was seen on the grassy knoll.
is this tournament more popular in countries like cuba and japan or do they have there own beefs about it?
Jim Caple (11:08 PM)
i don't know what the reaction has been in Cuba but it's getting HUGE ratings in japan. Like i said earlier, Super Bowl type number
Jongseong (Seoul, Korea)
Even as we watch the final now, we in Korea can't help being disappointed we never got to see our team play against the Caribbean powerhouses like Cuba, the Dominican, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela. How would you compare the overall strengths of the two groups that were kept apart until the final?
Jim Caple (11:09 PM)
I think the Caribbean pool was stronger, but like you said, the shame is we won't know for sure. They need to switch it up so that teams from Asia and the Caribbean meet earlier.
I love watching the Japanese play. Their unique style gives me hope that us skinny dudes not only can play, but should be given a legitimate look.
Jim Caple (11:11 PM)
You know whay's really fun? Watching japan take infield. They not only have their starters do it, they have their backups, three deep at some positions, take infield. And they're shouting and cheering each other on. It would be a great thing for major leaguers to add to their routine.
seems to me like a loss to mexico to be eliminated from the WBC is a bad way for the best pitcher ever (clemens) to leave the game..i can't help but hope that he comes back for one more season
Jim Caple (11:12 PM)
I would bet a lot of money that Clemens will be pitching for Houston this summer. then again, I would have bet the Giants would have wona World Series in my lifetime, too, so what do I know?
Hey Jim! Jsut wondering if you could give an update on the score! Don't get it in Singapore!!
Jim Caple (11:12 PM)
6-1 Japan, top of the fifth
A.J. (Milwaukee, WI)
As much as I am intrigued by the WBC, I am even more intrigued by the skepticism and pessimism that existed from the American fans and media before this tournament started. What is it about our culture that makes us so negative and closed-minded? Every other country was much more excited about the WBC. Why are we the ones who are so afraid? This WBC has taught me a lot more than just baseball. It has taught me a lot about our own people.
Jim Caple (11:14 PM)
Don't get me started . . . I think the biggest reason for this is just that the other countries felt they had a chance to show something, where for us, there really wasn't that incentive. I mean, the Koreans got out of military sevrice by playing so well. How can we compete with that?
mike stapp (kaneohe, hi)
is it just me or are we still not the best damn country in this thing? do other countries honestly believe they are better than us?
Jim Caple (11:15 PM)
Just looking at the rosters, i think the Dominican Republic was the best. And if Pedro had been healthy . . .
Ben (Philly, PA)
I gotta say, Matsuzaka looks absolutely nasty and he's great to watch. When he eventually does get a chance to play in the majors, which team would be the front-runner to get him? Is he doomed to get swallowed up in NY?
Jim Caple (11:17 PM)
He'll probably be posted, which means his team will accept blind bids from all teams. That's how Seattle got Ichiro. So it would come down to which team felt it was the best use of money to pay $15 million just for the right to negotiated with him. The Yankees obviously have the money but the west coast appeals to most Japanese players.
Was da WBC created because they took out baseball from the olympics?
Jim Caple (11:18 PM)
No, it was in the workls before that happened. But i think it's provided a pretty good argument for why baseball should be in the Olympics.
would this game have been played in petco park have the americans reashed the finals? how unfair would that have been? i think there should be a rule about that...this is the WBC not the USBC
Jim Caple (11:21 PM)
That's one of the problems. Because of the timing, you pretty much have to have it in the U.S. simply because most of the players from the best teams would be inconvenienced -- spring training, wise -- if it were played in Asia. And the fact of the matter is, U.S. money is financing this and this is where it's going to be for awhile. Maybe in time, it will grow large enough that they could move it around and still have the same sort of finanicing possible
Joseph Douglas Li (Alameda, CA)
How do you see Cubaa??s Yuliesky Gourriel fitting in an MLB team? Does he have the potential to be an All-Star here in America? What are the chances of him playing in America within the next 5 years?
Jim Caple (11:23 PM)
He'd be a godo player, for sure. I would like to think that our Cuba policy would change in the next five years -- one way or the other -- so that he could play here without having to risk his life or leave hsi family.
About the location of the WBC, shouldn't the final game be in the country with the best record? It only seems fair.
Jim Caple (11:24 PM)
That would be a scheduling nightmare. But it has been suggested that the winner have the option of hosting the finals at the next WBC. That's not the case this year, but it is intriguing.
Rocio (Cleburne, Texas)
If is going to be in the US for a while. How did they choose in which stadiums to play, will they be rotating around the US? I want to see some international baseball back in Arlington, Texas.
Jim Caple (11:27 PM)
I'm sure there was some backroom dealing and arm-twisting, though a lot had to do with climate and audience. California is ideal because there are so many Asian immigrants here -- the Korean fans were unbelievable . Florida probably has a heavier Latino influence, but since U.S. fans are so familiar with Dominican and Puerto Rican and venezuela players already, there wasn't a real need to worry about a fan base for them. That was more of a concern for korea and japan.
Kevin (San Diego)
Back to the idea of international teams in the Major League. Do you think a traveling team, like the Samurai Bears in the Golden Baseball league, could work? Maybe a couple of times a year our teams could head to Japan, or wherever, and play some games.
Jim Caple (11:30 PM)
That could work, possibly. Teams could go to Japan for a week each, play five games or so, then come back and the Japan team could come on long road swings here, of maybe a month or so. it's not that different from the turn of the century when teams would go on three- and four-week road trips and knock off the chicago and st, louis teams -- and vice-versa. Still, we're a ways off from that.
Ryuta (Nagano, Japan)
In Japan, Baseball is like hockey to Canadians. what sport do you think most defines the United States of America? Football, Baseball, Basketball or Nascar?
Jim Caple (11:33 PM)
baseball. I think it reflects our culture. every issue we deal with in the country usually shows up first in baseball. It's one reason why people get so upset about steroids in baseball and don't care how prevalent they are in other sports. People say football is the new national pastime but i don"t buy that. The NFL is complete socialism, which is hardly what the U.S. is all about. OK. With that, I think I need to start paying more attention to the game and get to work. Thanks for joining. Enjoy the rest of the game.
MLB editor David Kull (11:34 PM)
Thanks, Jim. Cuba's trying to make a small run here. That Kawasaki error didn't help. Anyway, let's get to more questions.
How does the Japanese pitching style differ from that in America? Are the pitch speeds similar? Do they use brushbacks?
MLB editor David Kull (11:37 PM)
The Japanese pitchers seem to have a much more deliberate style. Just look at the two pitchers tonight (Matsuzaka and Watanabe) and how they go about their windups. And they throw just as hard. Brushbacks? Certainly -- when necessary.
Rocio (Cleburne, Texas)
will they name an MVP?
MLB editor David Kull (11:38 PM)
Rocio, yes, an MVP trophy will be awarded after the game tonight. There will also be an all-tournament team announced.
Ben (St. Albert, Alberta)
Am I out of my mind to be dreaming of one day seeing Iraq and Afghanistan in the 2049 World Baseball Classic? Expat Americans introducted the sport to Japan and Venezuela, perhaps the same thing is happening with U.S. troops where they are currently stationed. Baseball is one of America's greatest gifts to the world and I see no reason why these two fledging democracies couldn't embrace the game just as Japan and Cuba and many other countries have.
MLB editor David Kull (11:40 PM)
Ben, if there are 30 legit players from those countries (and I mean guys who could play at a professional level), then why not?
Michael (Satellite beach FL
i went to the DR vs. Aus. game in orlando for my 15 bday and i was wondering if they will host games in florida again in 09
MLB editor David Kull (11:41 PM)
Yet to be determined, Michael. I hope you had a good B-day -- and that you'll still be interested in baseball when you're 18.
is it raining in SD? how is the game going?
MLB editor David Kull (11:42 PM)
June, no rain tonight. It's supposed to rain tomorrow, though, so there shouldn't be a rain delay, like there was Saturday. By the way, that was the first rain delay in San Diego since this ballpark opened in April 2004.
Wes (Tokyo, Japan)
Talking about MVPs, do you have any picks if Japan wins? Uehara, Matsuzaka, Fukudome?
MLB editor David Kull (11:46 PM)
Right now I would pick Matsuzaka. Unless Cuba comes back and scores three more runs, Matsuzaka will have started and won all three of his WBC starts, and his ERA for the tournament is under 1.00. His numbers are a little bit better than Uehara's. As for Fukudome, aside from the two-run, pinch-hit homer he hit against Korea on Saturday, he's had a terrible tournament. It's not looking good for the SS Kawasaki right now. That's two errors in two innings.
Fidel Castro (Havana)
What's the score? I don't have a tv!
MLB editor David Kull (11:48 PM)
Mr. Castro (can I call you Fidel), your team is losing 6-3 in the bottom of the seventh. But if Japan keeps making errors -- three in the last two innings now -- I think you've still got a shot.
Joseph Douglas Li (Alameda, CA)
Do you think major league owners are cringing about the fact that the WBC will be in 2009 and every subsequent 4 years? I know that it gives the players a chance to play for their countries, but is it worth taking time away from spring training and the chance for players to mesh together and develop a chemistry with their MLB team?
MLB editor David Kull (11:51 PM)
Joseph, you seem pretty eager to have your question answered. You've only sent it, what, 50 times? I don't think owners are cringing about team chemistry one bit. I think they're cringing about their investment. They pay these players millions of dollars to play for THEIR team, not for another team -- even if that team represents a country.
Ichiro is good player, but he is not a good person.
MLB editor David Kull (11:52 PM)
And you know this personally? Hmmm.
Keith (Fordyce, Arkansas)
Personally, I am glad the WBC is almost OVER ! Spring Training and the near start of the MLB season has been completely tossed out. Thanks goodness it is only every four years.
MLB editor David Kull (11:53 PM)
Not digging it, are you Keith? I'm sure a lot of people feel the same way.
Joe (Key Largo, FL)
What's the official rule about air horns in the stadium? Is it just one of those things that can't be prevented? I remember there was a dropped fly ball (don't remember which game) that was immediately preceded by an air horn blast, and that's twice in the last at-bat that one went off during the delivery to the plate.
MLB editor David Kull (11:57 PM)
Joe -- This isn't golf. In baseball, you can make whatever sound you'd like. I think you'd have a hard time convincing 40,000-plus fans to quiet down for a minute so these players can concentrate. You think this is bad? It's worse in the Latin American countries. These players have to be conditioned to drown out the noise or they shouldn't play.
Sherman Hemsley (Detroit)
Hey, Dave. Who does Cuba play when it's not in the WBC?
MLB editor David Kull (11:58 PM)
Sherm -- Loved you as Mr. Jefferson! They play each other in their own league called the National Series. They have 16 teams and play a 90-game season. Where's Weezzzieeee???
i also am not digging it. the world series is best of 7 and the WBC championship is one game? let's just admit it's a meaningless joke and get on with the real season.
MLB editor David Kull (12:00 AM)
Casey -- For someone not into the WBC, you're at least into chatting about it! I agree -- one game isn't a great indicator of the best team. A best-of-7, or even a best-of-3 would be much, much better.
Wes (Tokyo, Japan)
DAVID KULL - agree about the sound. Here in Japan, they have a half a dozen trumpets playing and chanting on their fav player at bat. A few years ago, a players on the asked the fans not to make noise when at bat, and they complied. However he didn't play any better nor worse.
MLB editor David Kull (12:01 AM)
Thanks, Wes. Wear earplugs if you don't like the noise. Otherwise, go grab your clubs and find silence and solitude on the golf course.
Casey (Whitewater, WI)
Bob Davidson almost thumbed that Cuban runner out when he was clearly safe to the naked eye.....wow, just, wow.....
MLB editor David Kull (12:03 AM)
He was tempted, wasn't he? Boy, has there been a more scorned umpire in recent memory? Oh, yeah, I forgot about Doug Eddings.
Does anyone else wish that the WBC was every year? Or Bi-Yearly? I think it is a great competition that brings the world's competition closer together. Sure ther is a risk of injury but it is no more than the injuries players get playing in Winterball every winter.
MLB editor David Kull (12:06 AM)
I think you'd lose the novelty of it if the WBC were played that often. That's the biggest reason I'd have it every four years.
Roozbeh (Edmonds, WA)
Hey, are MLB teams going to look strongly at the stars of WBC that arent in the league as of right now? And have you heard any news of any Mexican players getting looks at from and Major League teams? On the WBC, i think it was a great move and no one really plays attention to Spring Training so already Baseball has some intrest coming in to April.
MLB editor David Kull (12:09 AM)
Roozbeh -- Yeah, I'm sure they're looking. But whether or not they get MLB jobs remains to be seen. And folks, we have ourselves a ballgame after that bomb by Cepeda. Did you see how the entire Cuban team lined up outside the dugout to greet him? Love that stuff. And now Otsuka, the former Padre, is on the hill and they're playing the song normally reserved for Trevor Hoffman, "Hell's Bells."
SeungYeop Lee - MVP
MLB editor David Kull (12:11 AM)
He had a great tournament. Unfortunately, though, the winner will most likely come from the winning team. If I were voting, I'd at least make Lee the starting 1B on the all-tournament team.
I don't think I can get over seeing Ichiro hit in the 3rd spot in the batting order.
MLB editor David Kull (12:13 AM)
From what I understand from the Japanese media, that's where he hit in Japan. He only became a leadoff hitter in the U.S.
Who do you think is the most underrated player in the tourney? i would vote for the knuckleballer phil brassington or justin huber from team australia
MLB editor David Kull (12:14 AM)
What about Adam Stern of Team Canada? The Red Sox outfielder went 6-for-9 in the tournament.
Dave, if you had to take one player from either squad playing tonight to put onto your major league roster, who would it be?
MLB editor David Kull (12:16 AM)
From Cuba, I would take Gourriel because he's only 21 and will only get better. And for Japan, besides Ichiro? I'm assuming you mean a player who's not on a MLB team. If so, then I'd take Matsuzaka because he could be a No. 1 or No. 2 starter right now for a major-league team.
Is it just me or is it mandatory for EVERYONE employed by ESPN to mention something about the Red Sox once a day? I have never seen a company so infatuated with a team like this one....
MLB editor David Kull (12:19 AM)
Tom, it certainly wasn't intentional. I'll try not to mention the Red Sox again. And if there's a Red Sox question, I'll ignore it, OK? No more about the Red Sox. Oh, sorry I keep mentioning the Red Sox. Man, I did it again! Can't help myself, Tom.
Mike (Yokosuka Japan)
Now that was nice bunt, and here comes the slap hitter
MLB editor David Kull (12:20 AM)
Mike, I think the only guy on that team who can't bunt is Tamura. And for a slap hitter, Ichiro's pretty good. Did you see that double he hit down the left-field line in the fifth. Perfectly placed ball.
MLB editor David Kull (12:22 AM)
So what do you think? Did Kawasaki touch the plate?
Bengi (Dyersville, IA)
All right, who in here can spell all of these players' names?
MLB editor David Kull (12:23 AM)
I can, Bengi. But I'm cheating; I have the roster right here next to me.
Brad (Detroit, MI)
No, he was blocked off nicely.
MLB editor David Kull (12:24 AM)
Pestano, the Cuban catcher, did a great job blocking the plate. But I think he got his right hand in there. I have two other journalists next to me who don't think so. That last angle they showed was a pretty good one.
yeah, ICHIRO is a pretty good slap hitter, that was a good one when he hit it off the left field line, he could've gotten a triple too, and should've scored during the single right afterwards
MLB editor David Kull (12:25 AM)
He hesitated a bit too long, which was why he didn't score on Matsunaka's hit. He scored later anyway, so it didn't matter.
lets fire Bob Davidson before he gives the next biggest favorite after TEAM U.S.A. a free pass: the New York Yankees
MLB editor David Kull (12:27 AM)
Cris -- Davidson is the first-base ump tonight. Tom Hallion is the home-plate ump, if you were referring to the last play.
What's the score now?
MLB editor David Kull (12:29 AM)
It's now 9-5 Japan, top of the ninth, one out. Fukudome just came through again as a pinch-hitter, He stroked a single to right that scored two, including Ichiro, who bearly eluded the catcher's tag after a strong throw from the left fielder.
Fukutome is the man!
MLB editor David Kull (12:31 AM)
I was wondering why Oh decided to keep him out of the lineup tonight after his big homer against Korea. But now I see why!
Mark (Manila, Philippines)
Isn't it more exciting to watch players that are motivated by pride rather than $$$
MLB editor David Kull (12:35 AM)
Mark -- I couldn't agree more. These players love baseball! That's not to say a well-paid player doesn't love baseball. They do too. But with these players, the passion is more palpable. The Cubans are making yet another pitching change. I think they're going to start pulling people from the stands here soon. If you can pitch, please report to the Cuba bullpen behond the center-field fence immediately!
Brian Raymond Lowe (Alameda, CA)
I think the WBC is boring and useless. I wanted to see the USA play Dominican. They need to change the rules so that all teams could play each other. Tell me what you think
MLB editor David Kull (12:39 AM)
Brian -- The U.S. could have played the Dominicans if they had advanced to the finals. But that didn't happen, did it? This tournament was tailor-made for the Americans. Maybe the U.S. team would have played the Dominicans if they'd played every game against South Africa leading up to it. I mean, really, the only game in which the U.S. was clearly dominant team was against South Africa. And the one inning in that game in which they didn't score, South Africa was pitching a 17-year-old.
Dan (St Louis)
Put me in Coach I'M Ready to play
MLB editor David Kull (12:41 AM)
Dan -- You're up, buddy! There's another pitching change. Can you throw strikes? Can you bring it?
Are you kidding me? Another pitching change? Dave, are you warming up?
MLB editor David Kull (12:42 AM)
Manny -- I throw to my 13-year-old son all the time, so yeah, why not? As long as I get to keep the uniform, I'm ready to go!
Heck, when's Fidel going to get up in the pen?
MLB editor David Kull (12:44 AM)
From my left-field perch, I think I see the bearded one in the pen now.
Brian Raymond Lowe (Alameda, CA)
Do you think Ichiro will have the numbers to be in the Hall of Fame? Or will his years as a pro in Japan prevent him from putting up the monster numbers that Americans are able to put up?
MLB editor David Kull (12:46 AM)
Brian -- Ichiro will make it to the Hall of Fame if he continues to do what he's been doing, which is churn out 200-hit seasons. He's going for his sixth straight year with 200 hits. I believe the last one to have such a run of 200-hit seasons was another Hall of Famer, Wade Boggs.
Kevin (San Diego)
Dave, are you at the game? If so, how do you like our new park? You think San Diego did an OK job of hosting the games? Sorry about the weather.
MLB editor David Kull (12:49 AM)
Yep, I'm in the second deck down the left-field line. I like the new park, although I have to admit that I like Pac Bell Park (or whatever it's called now) better in terms of aesthetics. And yeah, San Diego has done a fine job. No need to apologize about the weather. It's still better than where I live in Connecticut. In my humble opinion, San Diego has the best climate in America, year-round.
Dave. is it luck or is Japan really that good?
MLB editor David Kull (12:51 AM)
Jeremy -- You don't win this tournament on luck. Japan has a great team, and they've shown it especially the last two games.
Fans over here getting very rowdy now, only 3pm but looks like the celebration will kick off and go all night..
MLB editor David Kull (12:52 AM)
Let the party begin! Well, there's still two outs, but I'd say the five-run lead is looking pretty safe.
What's the score?
MLB editor David Kull (12:53 AM)
Well, now it's 10-6 Japan. Cuba just scored. One out one on in the bottom of the ninth.
kyle hoegh (minneapolis)
If you had to pick a country who would win an 8 team 7 game series single elim tourney, who would you pick as the favorite?
MLB editor David Kull (12:55 AM)
Kyle -- Judging from what we've seen in this tournament, that's almost impossible to predict. Can I draw straws?
Should i watch the rest of the game and hopefully see Japan celebrate or do I switch to 24? I'm very torn between the 2.
MLB editor David Kull (12:56 AM)
That's right -- "24" is on tonight. I hope my wife is taping it. I love that show. Sorry to get sidetracked. Watch the celebration, tape "24."
Bob Davidson ((First Base))
David -- How would you rate the overall umpiring of this entire WBC?
MLB editor David Kull (12:57 AM)
You really want me to go there?
MLB editor David Kull (12:57 AM)
Game over! Japan wins, 10-6! Otsuka struck out Gourriel to end the game.
Nathaniel Wayne Lok (China)
How come Jose Contreras and the Hernandez brothers did not play for team Cuba?
MLB editor David Kull (12:59 AM)
are the cuban players diving into the stands in desperate attempts to defect?
MLB editor David Kull (1:00 AM)
Nope, so far they're congratulating the Japanese fans. Great gesture.
Matuszaka is the MVP. All hail the gyroball!
MLB editor David Kull (1:04 AM)
Watch for Matsuzaka in the majors in the next two years!
Jordan Dove (Las Vegas, NV)
This is very bad for baseball. Please everywhere are going to say USA is no good in baseball, and now all of these foreign country's are going to be like "Yeah we beat USA, we should be playing in the pro's," when in fact, USA had Roger Clemens pitch 5 innings and shut down Mexico? If USA plays their best players on the started lineup each game, it is USA vs. Domincan Republic in the championship game. Same goes with Domnican. STACKED. What do you think?
MLB editor David Kull (1:07 AM)
Jordan -- It's a good and healthy thing to eat some humble pie once in a while. the U.S. should take a hard look at what happened here and feel terribly disappointed that we had another country come in here and win this title on our turf. The U.S. just had sand kicked in its face. It's reality-check time. If the U.S. is unhappy about the result and thinks it plays better baseball, then prove it!
why are you making fun of cubans ?
MLB editor David Kull (1:10 AM)
Jonathan -- Who's making fun of Cubans? I'm not. I have great respect for what Cuba did in this tournament.
Hey David Kull, what team impressed you the most this tournament?
MLB editor David Kull (1:12 AM)
Well, other than the two finalists, I'd say Korea. This was a real coming-out party for Korean baseball. Their defensive play absolutely blew me away.
Rich Navarro (Daly City, CA)
You're right David. It is a good reality check. With hardly any injuries to U.S. players in this tournament, I think more of the top MLB players will join the next Classic... hopefully.
MLB editor David Kull (1:12 AM)
Rich, I hope you're right.
David -- Are you going to any post-game celebrations?
MLB editor David Kull (1:18 AM)
No, I'll be working all night.
Do you feel the best team won this tournament? I was pretty set on the Dominicans but their pitching was subpar!
MLB editor David Kull (1:20 AM)
It's hard to say if the best team won. I can't honestly say Japan was the best team because they only played one game against Cuba. I'd rather see a best-of-three, or something like that. Maybe next time, right? Anyway, it was great chatting with you. We'll do this again sometime, but hopefully it'll be before the next WBC in 2009. Congratulations to Japan for winning the WBC, and to Cuba for being a great finalist!
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