Thursday, March 09, 2006

The day in sports...

... was pretty unbelievable.

To start, we had Canada versus the United States at the World Baseball Classic, a game which not a lot of us had marked on their calendars today. No one had given the underdog Canadian squad a chance — not even the team's manager, Ernie Whitt, who decided to start minor league pitcher Adam Loewen and rest his more established starters.

Everyone was looking towards the team's date with Mexico on Friday as 'the game to watch' (if they were watching at all, that is).

Truth be told, The Globe's sports desk didn't even have today's game on, at least not until word came in that it was 5-0 for the Canadians in the third inning. And that, in itself, was astounding.

Without hyperbole, Canada's eventual 8-6 win is the country's biggest baseball triumph since the Blue Jays won the World Series in 1993. A few headlines to give you an idea of what's being said:

Canada pulls off Miracle on Grass - Toronto Star
Canada Beats the US at Its Own Game
- New York Times
Team USA clubbed by Canada in World Baseball Classic
- San Jose Mercury News
Canada pulls off a Classic upset
- The Globe and Mail
Whoa, Canada!
Stern leads Canada past US in WBC shocker

To be fair, it's not as if the Canadian team is a bunch of scrubs — they actually have more major-league players than most of the other teams in the WBC. There is some great baseball being played in Canada, and, especially in B.C., some very solid, young talent is starting to make it in the majors.

That said, those they do have aren't anywhere near the calibre of talent on the American 'Dream Team'.

Even with the historic win, however, the Canucks are far from home free. MSNBC gives us a good breakdown of the possible tie-breaking scenarios resulting from a Canadian loss:
... if Mexico wins and scores three runs or more, Canada will be eliminated (assuming the U.S. beats South Africa) since Canada's run total will be at least nine — or one more than the U.S. allowed.

But on the other hand, a Canada victory over Mexico would end the suspense, as it would be advance, and all the U.S. would have to do is beat South Africa on Friday to be the second team moving to the second round next week in Anaheim against Korea and Japan.

It's some silly business that the Canadians could beat the best team in the tournament and be heading home after a loss to Mexico, but so be it. I think baseball fans up here will take the result even if it does mean going home early.
  • Elsewhere yesterday, today's pending trade deadline in the NHL brought the silly season one day early, as a few clubs starting making big-time moves. Given that this is a hockey blog, those will get their very own post.

  • And, finally, the NFL ended their own silliness and resolved their turgid labour dispute last night.
I think there was some sort of basketball game going on as well.


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