A Surprising Turn of Events
Unlike some other sports, especially American-style NFL football, league baseball play typically involves so many games that even the lowest dog can sometimes beat up on the best teams. And I haven't really followed this attempt at world baseball all that much -- it doesn't seem to have been readily marketed very well in the U.S. So I missed that in recent history Japan has defeated Cuba.
Flashback to Atlanta
Mrs. Dr. Phil and I traveled to the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics. One of the tickets we pre-ordered was for the Gold Medal Baseball game. Sure, lots of people just assumed it would be the United States versus Cuba, but in a sense we didn't care. We wanted to see the Gold Medal Baseball game! At the Olympics! How cool is that?
Alas, the Americans made a surprising loss to Japan the day before and found themselves in the bronze medal game. The streets of Atlanta inside the Olympic security zone were awash with discounted gold medal game tickets. My sister, who'd been volunteering and driving dignitaries around, came along and was able to get a ticket to the gold medal game.
Actually we had a great time, because we sat next to a woman and her daughter -- her husband was one of the umpires and was so thrilled to be able to umpire the gold medal game, since the USA wasn't in it. She described how each day of the Olympics he'd learn his assignments early in the morning and call her and she'd try to get tickets so she could attend, take pictures and shoot video of any of his calls. It was so cool to talk to an "umpire junkie"!
Anyway, the gold medal game was between Japan and Cuba, and despite a very enthusiastic, flag-waving crowd of Japanese on hand -- one dignified older gentleman near us brought a HUGE flag which he solemnly waved whenever anything exciting happened -- the Cubans cleaned the Japanese clocks. The Cuban pitcher clearly got furious when one of the Japanese batters actually got a hit.
So it's nice to see some parity in international baseball championships. (grin)
Other Weekend Sports
The First Weekend of the Men's and Women's NCAA Division I Basketball Tournament was rousing good fun, with plenty of excellent upsets, big wins, great shots and tough losses.
Oh, and a hearty congratulations to the Hope College women from nearby Holland MI who won the NCAA Division III Women's Basketball National Championship. So there'll be at least one national championship in the state of Michigan this year. (double-pump-fake-grin) Just not the University of Michigan men... (three-point-shot-grin)