* Orioles manager Buck Showalter had C Chris Robinson address the team and tell them his version of the Canada-Mexico fight and then Mexico's RP Luis Ayala had his turn. .... 2013 Top Canadians eligible for draft 2013 Canadians in College Letters of Intent 2012 Canadians in the Minors 2012-13 Canadians at Canadian schools
By Bob Elliott
SARASOTA _ Behind the batting cage Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter explained the after effects of the World Baseball Classic.
“When Chris Robinson came back I had him speak to the team, give his version of what happened in Phoenix,” said Showalter. Robinson dropped a bunt in the ninth with Canada leading Mexico by six, sparking a bench-clearing brawl.
Then, Showalter had reliever Luis Ayala give his version of what he saw on the TV.
“Chris said the game probably did more for baseball in Canada than anything in the last 20 years ... when you are the lead on Don Cherry’s Coach’s Corner on Hockey Night in Canada you’ve done something.”
Then Showalter told Robinson the first bullpen he’d catch was Ayala.
In the visiting clubhouse at Ed Smith Stadium Emilio Bonifacio was wearing a huge smile.
He always has one, but this was different.
The Dominican Republic, his Dominican Republic countrymen, beat Puerto Rico 3-0 Tuesday night to win the WBC in San Francisco.
“People overflowed Estadio Quisqueya watching on the scoreboard in the capital (Santo Domingo), same as in Santiago,” Bonifacio said. “Everyone was excited.
“We didn’t even have Jose Bautista, David Ortiz, Johnny Cueto, Adrian Belte or Melky Cabrera.”
Japan won the first two WBC events and now the Dominican.
Team USA is 0-for-3.
Buck Martinez, who managed the Americans in 2006, is back from broadcasting 12 games at two pools over a three-week period in Fukuoka and Tokyo, Japan.
“Baseball doesn’t explain the WBC to the players properly,” said Martinez. “Who wants to stay in spring training an extra two weeks? Why not play against the best in the world?
“You can’t leave it up to players or clubs to decide participation.”
Martinez is a WBC booster and said he was sad when they unveiled the flag of each competing country and Team USA wasn’t in the final.
“I listened to Ryan Braun the other day on the radio, he said he’s never experienced the excitement or intensity,” Martinez said. “Ryan said you go to an all-star game you’re with people for 48 hours, in the WBC you’re with your teammates for two weeks. You develop relationships.”
Martinez would like to see commissioner Bud Selig make attendance in the WBC mandatory: you make the all-star team, you’re on the WBC roster.
Imagine had Justin Verlander and Clayton Kershaw been with Team USA.
Some Martinez memories from the Japan:
_ China scoring five in the eighth against Brazil for a 5-2 win and Ms. Shen Wei, secretary-general of the Chinese Baseball Federation, jumping into the dugout to hug and kiss manager John McLaren. Lefty Tao Bu with tears in his eyes over the third-place finish to avoid the need to qualify for 2017.
_ Chinese first baseman Fujia Chu stealing second without a throw as Cuban catcher Eriel Sanchez dropped the pitch. An infielder told Chu the pitch had been fouled off. Chu was tagged out trying to go to first.
_ China attempted to make an appeal play, so umpire Jerry Davis brought pitching coach Bruce Hurst to explain how to do it properly.
“Problem was the pitcher forgot to check the runner at second before he threw to first and the runner stole third,” said Martinez. “They don’t have a league in China. They only play intra-squad games.”
_ Chinese Taipei walking onto the field before a game against rival Japan at the Tokyo Dome before 43,527 fans to a large ovation.
“We had to ask our translator what the signs read, it was ‘Thank you Taipei,’ and ‘We love you,’” said Martinez, who explained that Taipei had been the first to lend both financial support and workers after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
_ Cuba manager Victor Mesa instructing his team to turn his back on The Netherlands during pre-game introductions, Andrew Jones scoring the winning run on a walk-off fly ball and charging the Cuban dugout screaming for disrespecting The Netherlands.
No one received more criticism than Martinez who lost 8-6 to Canada managing Team USA and was eliminated on run differential by .2 of a run in the second round finishing with a 3-3 record.
Davey Johnson managed the 2009 team and lost a semi-final to Japan, going 4-4.
This year Joe Torre, who is headed to the Hall of Fame as a manager, didn’t get out of the second round, going 3-3.
It isn’t an easy job.
“I spoke to each player, promised each a start, so they wouldn’t fall behind in their at-bats,” said Martinez. “We had Alex Rodriguez and Chipper Jones at third, Michael Young as a back-up infielder. I had to get guys ready but still try to win the tournament.
“The USA has to get all in on this or forget it. This tournament is a blast, it’s played with the passion of the World Cup and the Olympics.”