Tuesday, March 24, 2009

WBC Fever... Catch It!

Well, I didn't exactly catch it, but a lot of my students did. The World Baseball Classic was a hot topic of discussion over the last few days. I received condolences when Japan beat the US this week, but they couldn't hide the brightness in their eyes. Actually, it was kind of funny how gingerly some people broached the topic, as if they were genuinely afraid I was upset at our loss. But I took it graciously. I enjoyed my students' excitement, and the breathless discussions of favorite players this week and last, even among people who usually aren't all that interested in sports.

And of course, if the American team couldn't win, I hoped it would be Japan. And it was. I found out yesterday from my boss, but a few minutes before he came and told me the news, a student and I had watched the medal ceremony on the tiny widescreen-- with a picture clearer than on some full-sized TVs-- on his cellphone in my classroom. He didn't turn on the volume, so we couldn't tell from even the players' expressions if they'd won first or second place. Sure, they seemed happy but minus crowd reaction shots and sound it seemed a slightly subdued awards presentation. This student was so caught up in the WBC finals he even watched some of the game earlier that day...

At a funeral!

So congratulations to Japan for its second WBC championship! Japan is a nation where baseball remains a national pasttime, whereas back home it's almost an afterthought.


mike said...

Hey Joel,

Yep, congrats to Japan on the WBC win. The final was a good game. The enthusiasm the Japanese and Korean fans show for their teams and baseball is nice to watch. I think I prefer baseball in Japan than in the U.S. A couple of reasons being I can relate to the players that look like normal humans as compared to the bulked up Westerners obsessed with the long ball and whatever it takes get power (gym obsession and drugs). Related to this is the better ability of the Japanese to bunt the ball. Is it not manly enough for ball players in the U.S. to learn how to be good at bunting. With managerial decisions largely based on statistical analyses, why has the sacrifice bunt been so neglected in U.S. baseball? Dumb baseball that is.

Joel Bryan said...

What's up, Mike? Yeah, I tend to agree with you about Japanese baseball versus American. American baseball has been grotesquely simplified to the strike out and the home run. And, as Crash Davis once said, "Strike outs are fascist."

And I'm pretty excited to see how Kawakami Kenshin is going to do for the Braves this year. He's done pretty well in spring training so far-- hope he can carry that over into the regular season.