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Dominican-U.S. WBC Game A "Special Moment"; Atmosphere Rivals MLB Postseason
Published March 15, 2013
TIME TO EMBRACE IT: ESPN.com's David Schoenfield wrote, "If you don't think the World Baseball Classic is a fun event, you didn't watch Thursday night's game in Miami." Schoenfield: "You didn't see the Dominican fans waving flags and blowing horns and cheering every pitch for nine innings. You didn't see the Dominican players leaping over the dugout railing when Erick Aybar singled in Nelson Cruz with the go-ahead run in the ninth or Aybar being mobbed at home plate when he scored on Jose Reyes' RBI single" (ESPN.com, 3/14). NBCSPORTS.com's Joe Posnanski wrote baseball is "not just an American game." Other countries have "made baseball their own in fascinating ways." They cheer "differently, play differently, watch differently, enjoy the game differently." They take baseball to "a different place," and it is "a beautiful thing." This is "why the World Baseball Classic matters" (NBCSPORTS.com, 3/13).
HIGH TIDE: MLB Senior VP/Int'l Business Operations Paul Archey said that the "high point of the 2013 World Baseball Classic thus far is hardly the lone highlight of the tournament." He said that the WBC is "accomplishing the goal of what it first set out to do in 2006: the game is spreading internationally." Archey points to a new $13M stadium that is "under construction in the Netherlands -- a direct result of the Dutch's two upsets of the Dominicans during the 2009 tournament." In Miami, Manny Navarro writes attendance is "booming in the Korea Baseball Organization." MLB "now has television partners in China." More than $22M "has been generated for international federations." A total of 463,017 fans "came through the gates for first-round games in Japan, Taiwan, Puerto Rico and Phoenix." The "previous record entering the second round was 453,374" in '09 (MIAMI HERALD, 3/15). Also in Miami, Greg Cote wrote the WBC's "reason for being is to grow the sport where it isn't as big." So it is "far more important to MLB that a Japan vs. Chinese-Taipei game in this tournament drew a 43 rating on Japanese TV." It is "far more important that the games are embraced avidly in the Dominican and Puerto Rico, target spots for long-range expansion." And it is "far more important that WBC successes by countries like Netherlands and Italy have planted seeds of interest there" (MIAMIHERALD.com, 3/14).