Saturday, March 23, 2013

What The Dominican Republic Proved In The World Baseball Classic

File:José Reyes on April 2, 2013.jpg
Dominican player Jose Reyes led team Dominican 
to World Baseball Classic championship. 
Photo by james_in_to'
Another World Baseball Classic has come and gone, and once again, overall fan interest was hit and miss. In the United States, even the games including the home country were dismissed as nothing more than exhibitions. However, starting with the Dominican Republic’s win over the United States of America, those watching the event could tell how much this competition meant to the small island.

After beating Puerto Rico in the final 3-0, the Dominican Republic capped off the tournament with an 8-0 record. Head coach Tony Pena knew going in he had a strong team, but winning eight games in a row in baseball against the best players in the world is no easy task.

When the United States and the Dominican Republic got together in Miami, the crowd was pro-Dominican. The team played with passion, celebrating runs and strikeouts like Little Leaguers. While some old school baseball fans frowned at this, the team continued to play with passion for their country.

The team played the game, and the tournament for that matter, the way organizers wanted it to be played when it was first developed. Baseball is no longer in the Olympics, so this is the premier international event. The Dominican Republic did not send all of their stars, but fantasy baseball favorites Robinson Cano, Hanley Ramirez, Jose Reyes, and more definitely made sure the team had talent.

After dominating the tournament, the Dominican Republic can officially say that the best baseball is played on their island. People can obviously debate that claim in a number of ways, but they proved it at this moment on the field. If more countries can follow their methods, the World Baseball Classic could rival that of the World Cup in soccer or the Olympics in basketball. It just takes getting the best players to play with pride for their home country.

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