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Friday, March 03, 2006  

It's the first day of the World Baseball Classic! The first game was at 4 on Thursday, or 1:30 am on Friday if you're like me and don't have ESPN Deportes. Because I'm not sane, I decided to stay up and watch the very first game of the series, which is Korea vs. Chinese Tapei (hereafter CTp; aka Taiwan). I don't know who's on the rosters, I don't know the specific rules of the tournament, nothing. I'm rooting for Korea for the simple reason that I like watching games much more if I have some vague rooting interest in them, and in this case I'm picking Korea because I have a bunch of friends from Korea, and I don't know anyone from Taiwan. As good a reason as any, I reckon. Enjoy.

Top 1

The WBC logo reminds me of all those pinwheels that inexplicably adorn US Cellular. This is going to keep pissing me off all tournament probably.

Korea in the powder blue, CTp in the white. CTp’s starter is En-Yu Lin, who was the ROY of the Taiwan baseball league. He looks awfully young… he’s so skinny in the arms that he reminds me of Bronson. Only shorter, I think. And much less blonde.

The field is base islands like the Metrodome, with grass (turf) on the basepaths instead of dirt. BLECH.

Behind the plate is an ad that has a bunch of Chinese characters with the words 'Super “DRY”' under it. I’m officially freaked out.

Oh wait, this is being played in Tokyo, isn’t it? Japanese characters. Maybe.

Someone in the photographer's well has a medical facemask on. Er?

Drums (?) and whistles in the crowd, but the mikes they have on this field are really pretty awful. OH MY GOD NO THEY’RE THUNDERSTICKS. OH MY GOD. THERE’S A WHOLE SECTION OF THUNDERSTICKS. I think they belong to Korea. DAMN YOU, KOREA.

Korea’s unis are weird. So far everyone’s wearing their pants really loose, like Manny-loose. And they’re white with thick blue stripes down the sides, but the stripes seem to end midcalf. Fake socks to mimic the look?

E. Y. Lin totally has acne. Oh my god. The kid is like 12. (announcers say he’s 24. no fucking way)

CTp looks like its colors are Braves colors. White, navy, dark red. Their catcher is wearing gear that I think Johnny Estrada’s worn in the past. His mask is weird, it’s kind of like a cross between old school style and hockey masks.

Ha, foul tip and the batter (DJ Kim, 3B, I think), falls on his ass, all Dmitri Young style. The catcher hangs onto it and we’re out of the first half.

Bottom 1

Jae-Weong Seo (Dodger) pitching for Korea. The first CTp batter (13) is Yung Chi Chen, he’s 22, Christ he looks it too. Weird delivery for Seo. He pauses in his windup when he’s got his leg up, and his arms go way way out like a crane pose before he releases.

All healthy Korean males are required to serve 2 years military service. You’re exempt if you win an Olympic medal, or the Asian Games (?), and there’s been petitioning to have the players on the WBC Korean baseball team exempted if if they make the semifinals or something. Wow. Think they’re a little more into this than the US team will be?

Dong Ju Kim (Korea, 3B, 18), the big guy who fell over in his last at-bat and whom the announcers are lovingly referring to as 'stocky', hurls himself onto the ground to make a diving stop, sends it to first in time for the out. Dude’s been all over the turf already and we’re not even out of the first inning.

I just remembered, this is the Tokyo Dome, this is where David Ortiz hit that monster shot that had everyone buzzing a while back. So far it would’ve kept going if there wasn’t the roof, remember that? Maybe that’s why the sound’s dodgy. I don’t like indoor baseball.

Top 2

WORST CIALIS AD EVER. “Just when you think the time is right.. it may not be.” Old people are nuzzling, suddenly the doorbell rings and WHOOPS IT’S THE GRANDKIDS, PUT THAT ERECTION AWAY POPS. My soul has been broken. I hate you, 36-hour-Cialis.

There are 4 Lees and 2 Kims in the Korean lineup. I am going to never get this straight.

Hey, it’s Hee Seop Choi! Swings at the first ball he sees, slams it to the centerfield wall, doubles (he’s running slow, and it bounced a bit off the wall). He’s the first guy I’ve seen on the entire field so far with his socks up.

Super “DRY” is in the dugouts too.

(unavoidable Barry Zito “I like the moist sensation” reference)

In the Asian leagues they’re used to horsehide balls. The WBC is using Rawlings (cowhide) balls. It’s ‘livelier’ off the bat than they’re used to (allegedly), and the pitchers were complaining that it’s slipperier than what they've grown accustomed to using.

Woah! KILLER double play! 6-4, SS runs in, SNAGS it outta the air on the run, waits a bit, flips it to the 2B who was running back to the base, DP. WOW. That was pretty.

The Tokyo Dome is almost completely empty in the outfield seats. Which makes sense. Presumably it’ll be more full when Japan plays.

Bottom 2

Due to time constraints they move ahead in the action… which means one out in the bottom of the 2nd, I think, 2-2 on the batter. Right then.

Oh dear god. Korea has normal looking Thundersticks. CTp appears to have… well, I think they’re Thundersticks? They’re yellowish, short, and shaped like upside down cones. I don’t know what to make of this.

Stolen base. The catcher shot the ball way to the 1B side of 2B, pulled the second baseman off the bag, the guy’s into second easy.

Seo’s getting them to swing at a lot of low, offspeed stuff.

Top 3

It’s produced back to back to back AAU National Championship teams! Teach me the mechanics of the major league swing, Mr. Emanski!

Hey, Korean groupies! With Thundersticks. They were invented in Korea. So how the fuck did the RM Angels get them? DAMN YOU AGAIN, KOREA.

Wait, sorry, it’sTop 4. They must’ve skipped something there. It’s still 0-0, so, oh well.

The most bizarre sound effect ever was just broadcast over the Tokyo Dome sound system. It was, like, echoey and burbling.

Dong Ju Kim, the ‘stocky thirdbaseman’, the guy who fell over and then dove to make that great catch... He’s also wearing his socks up. Man does he chop hard.


Korea’s pants look much less stupid with the socks up. CTp’s pants have sidestripes that go all the way down to the shoes, so at least they look OK without the socks up. Even though I think everyone should have the socks up.

Nice satin jackets for the CTp coaches! Very shiny, very snazzy.

65 pitch limit for all starters, for the record. If a guy hits 65 in the middle of an at-bat, he's allowed to finish the at-bat, but that's the only way he's allowed to go over 65.

Wait, one of the CTp players in the infield has his socks up. Didn’t catch who it was, the shot was too quick.

Damn, Sung Heon Hong (Korea, catcher, 22), he’s pretty damn cute.

EY Lin’s using a TON of rosin. I’ve never seen anyone go to the bag that often and fluff it that much in the MLB. I wonder if that’s something to do with the slippery ball thing they mentioned earlier. But his catcher just went out to talk to him, so maybe it’s a sign of nerves. Maybe it’s a combo.

And Hong drives in the first run of the WBC! A double, screamer pulled down the 3B line. Catcher. Cute. Yes.

Ying-Chieh Lin the new CTp pitcher. Oh god. Lin followed by Lin. I’m gonna cry.

Bottom 4

Must… buy… amazing… omelette… pan… from… compelling… chef… with… thick…. Aussie… accent….

Seo’s hovering in the windup is starting to freak me out. I bet the photogs love him though.

Huh, they’re playing with a DH. I wonder if that’s consistent across the board for the WBC? Probably it is. Do they play with a DH in Japan? Korea? Hm. I’ll have to look that up at some point.

Headfirst dive into first base. The guy made it, too… they got out the guy at second, but he got in under the toss. Very dirty jersey now. You usually don’t see guys fighting that hard for first base.

Seo’s done at 61 pitches. I guess they don’t think he can get through the next AB with 4 or less pitches and they don’t see any reason to leave him in there anyways, which makes sense. He looked a little tired anyhow; he got that last out on a ball that ended up in the dirt that the batter barely went around on (check swing attempt).







Oh my god, I’ve missed his fucking psychotic delivery. He looks so tiny on the mound after Seo. I’d recognize that strange little possibly narcoleptic face anywhere. Oh BHK. How’ve you been?

God this catcher is cute. He goes to the mound at BHK’s request and says something and laughs. Dude. I do NOT need a crush on a Korean league catcher. This is the only picture I can find of him, and it unfortunately doesn't show you how cute he is very well.

Popped him up with an 11 or 12 pitch AB. BHK gets ‘em outta the inning. This is hysterical.

Top 5

They’re talking about how Chien Mien Wang isn’t playing for CTp. The New York Yankees: they hate fun.

The CTp firstbaseman has his socks up. Huzzah! They’re navy, by the by.

There are organized chants going on in the Korea section. It’s like college football fans, not baseball fans. They have signs and everyone’s wearing the same tshirt and they have the goddamn Thundersticks.

The CTp equivalent of the $500 bill, we are informed, has kids playing baseball printed on it. I want this money. I want Papi on my money. Although then maybe I would never spend any of it.

The Korean captain, Jong Beom Lee (7), wears a batting glove on his bottom (right) hand, but not on his top (left) hand. That’s his off hand, so he doesn’t really need it I guess, but I wonder why he wouldn’t want to wear both.

The captain smashes it to the wall… slides in for a double, pops up and pumps his fist, yelling. Ha ha! He missed a homer by about as much as Choi did earlier, i.e. not much. 2-0, Korea.

Bottom 5

I think the ‘stocky thirdbaseman’ has an earring in his left ear. Yes he does. Dude rocks.

Seo, BHK, and Choi all went to the same high school. That coach allegedly got Choi to give up pitching and start hitting, and got BHK to start submarining. He must be a Baseball Genius.

This catcher, this Hong fellow, is very demonstrative. He gets a ball inside, clearly not what he wanted, he cocks his head and shrugs like, oh well, what can you do? And he keeps getting BHK to smile, somehow, which we saw how often in Boston? Basically never, right?

The announcers keep calling him ‘BK Kim’. That is not his name, fucktards.

Quick inning for BHK. Unbelievable.

Top 6

He called him the ‘stocky thirdbaseman’ again. I can’t even believe it anymore. Dong Joo Kim, #18, 3B, stocky. Dove into first… um, he looks hurt. Uh oh.

Something with his left shoulder… he dove headfirst into the bag, oh jeez. Yeah. He landed right on the bag with his shoulder. Argh. It looks like he popped it out of the socket. Well, he’s standing up and grimacing and walking off under his own power but I don’t imagine he comes back from that… he’s holding his left arm out at an angle and perfectly stiff. Wincing in pain.

Now the announcers are talking about how diving into first when you’re not directly dodging a tag is bad fundamental baseball which, given this, it's kind of hard to argue. This isn’t great for Korea; despite his size DJ Kim looked tonight like a more than competent fielder at third, and he’s an imposing presence at the plate to be sure.

The CTp centerfielder almost loses Choi’s high fly in the lights… he makes the catch for the out, but after he threw it back to the infield he looked up at the ceiling and blew his cheeks out like, jeez, phew. Goddamn domes.

Hong rips a sharp single to right. There are men on first and third because the pinch runner for DJ Kim is some tiny little fast guy who looks like he weighs maybe 100 pounds soaking wet, and he had already stolen second.

Dear Mr. Hong—would you like to come play for the Detroit Tigers? No one thinks Pudge will last very long, and lord knows they need catching prospects. It’s Major League Baseball. Please?

Wei-Ming Chu, #59, new pitcher for CTp. He is HIDEOUS. Aw, and I think they pinch-ran for Hong. Blargh.

Bottom 6

The new Korean catcher is not nearly as cute.

And BHK promptly gives up his first hit… although it ALMOST could have been an E6. Get Hong back. BHK can’t do it without him.

BHK’s done after 29 pitches… something with if they take him out with under 30 pitches they can pitch him again tomorrow. I probably should’ve read up on the rules of this damn tourney before it started, huh?

Dae Sung Koo now pitching. The CTp cones are out in force. Koo (Mets) gets a comebacker and instead of throwing it immediately, runs a little bit towards second before throwing it, and the men on first and second are both safe. Dumb. He's probably overexcited, though.

It’s 4 am. Why am I watching this?

CTp just made a lineup change. They’re putting in a guy with high socks. This bodes ill for Korea.

Strikes out, though, and that’s the inning.

And with one more ballad to priaprism, it's the 7th... Wait, no, we ‘move ahead in the action’ to the

Top 9

Still 2-0, Korea. I trust I didn’t miss any amazing defensive plays either, or I’ll be pissed at ESPN. But this is good. I’m tired. It’s an ungodly hour.

Po-Hsuan Keng, #88, is the new CTp pitcher. The announcers are pronouncing his name as ‘Gung’. I’m not sure if that’s accurate, or if it’s like them calling BHK ‘BK Kim’.

“You can tell, from watching him, that he does have some youth inside him.” -the announcers on PH Keng. What the hell?? Did he eat a baby?

1-2-3 for Keng/Gung. Korea needs 3 outs to win this thing.

Bottom 9

Oh. My. God. FX is doing a reality show where two families SWITCH RACES.

I can’t handle reality TV anymore. I just can’t.

Shot of the Korean bench. BHK: not asleep. Shocking.

Chan Ho Park pitching. Nice wispy goatee, Park. Gives up a leadoff double, which is only the 4th hit of the game for CTp, which is absurd given the fact that all the pitchers are on such strict pitch counts. Or maybe that helped by eliminating fatigue periods. Hmm.

Tai-San Chang, DH, Ctp, 49. His nickname is Tarzan, because his name, literally translated, means ‘Prince of the Forest’, and Tai-San sounds like Tarzan anyways. Amazing.

Woah. Looked like an easy 4-3 and Korean win, but nope, the guy busted ass down to first and was safe. Sorry, I think it was 6-3 with the SS running in. Runners at first and third, 2 outs. I am so, so tired.

OUT AT SECOND! Great diving stop and flip to second! Wow!

Korea wins!

I’m going to bed.

4:47 AM

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