And no, this isn’t a retake of the “Baseball Spoken Here” slogan of the WBC – I honestly thought I came up with an original title for this post on my own! If you’ve seen one of my favorite 80s movies, Better Off Dead (I *heart* 80s John Cusack), you’ll get where I’m coming from. Lane (Cusack) is a recently dumped suicidal high school student who has neighbors that take in a French girl as a foreign exchange student in the mother’s ploy to get her son a girlfriend. When Lane’s family has them over for dinner and asks about communication problems since the girl doesn’t speak English, the mother says they “Speak the same language. You know, the international language of love!” (ok, or something to that effect – I haven’t seen the movie in eons!) So that’s kinda where I took that from. The WBC is demonstrating the international language of baseball, which has been probably the coolest thing I’ve noticed about the series.
I TiVo’d most of the games, most of which were broadcast on ESPN2 during the sleepy hours. I’ve tried catching up as the whole tivoing thing has caused my DVR to quickly use up all its space, but one can honestly only catch one game a night – if that, since Desperate Housewives, 24, and Lost pre-empt the WBC in my household. As an aside, has anyone noticed the word “TiVo” is akin to “Kleenex” now? I even heard one of the game broadcasters saying something about TiVoing something. Technically that tissue sitting by your television is a DVR – mine is the RCN version (with or without lotion), but I still call it TiVoing just like everyone else.
Ok, back to baseball – I caught most of the games, but have to confess to fast forwarding through several of the most recent ones as I’m getting a bit baseballed out by the onslaught and need to free up space for regular shows scheduled for recording. Some of the games ran over their allotted time, so were cut off on the recorder before the end (luckily, it was pretty easy to guess how they ended by the score at cutoff). The Mexico-Korea game only recorded the bottom of the 9th inning only to be followed by three hours of a tennis open match, which was rather disappointing! To date, I’ve only caught one US game that was recorded successfully. I guess I’ll catch last night’s kicker tonight. That was the other hard part – you couldn’t avoid news of game outcomes prior to viewing them yourselves. Lucky for my husband and thanks to my shoddy memory, I nearly always forgot the exact outcome short of who won it.
Watching Mexico has been fun because our former 3B Vinny Castilla has been honored the role of team captain and received a lot of love from the announcers. Watching the Dominican Republic has allowed me (and others) a preview of the main Nationals soap opera character, Soriano (who has not had a hit, did have an error, and has since been benched). Schneider was my main focus on the US team and did catch the game I watched (but I don’t believe he had a hit). It’s been interesting to watch him play with all these other guys who are normally people you root against! Also interesting has been studying how they all play together as a team after such short practice time together.
The brain confusion comes from seeing MLB stars playing on teams for other countries – and so many other countries at that! Kinda cool, but definitely puts you the spectator in a different frame of mind than what you’re used to cheering for your home team. There were guys I wanted to cheer for on several teams.
The most intriguing team to watch for me has been Cuba. So little is known to the average US citizen about what goes on in that little country, the mindset of the residents, the structure of daily life, etc. Watching them play baseball has been fascinating. The rules and strategies are the same as they are here. If the uniforms didn’t say “Cuba” on them (ok, and you didn’t notice the police in their dugout), you’d never know they were from an island that has essentially been cut off from the mainland. The guys high five and hug after scoring runs, they have a star pitcher, and dang – they play pretty darn well to boot! There is not one MLB player on their roster – yet they are still mesmerizing to watch despite the lack of recognizable names. And thus, the international language of baseball has proven itself.
Of course, there will be more to watch as Cuba has advanced to the semis and the US is now out of the running. Even though I kinda like the Dominican Republic team, I’m somewhat hoping they get knocked out so the Soriano drama can (hopefully) be resolved sooner rather than later (and I don’t want him to have bragging rights about being on the winning team – evil, I know!).