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Team USA wins World Baseball Classic - A Hunt and Peck

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A first for the United States

World Baseball Classic - Championship Round - Game 3 - United States v Puerto Rico Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

For me there was mixed feelings about seeing the United States celebrate an 8-0 win over Puerto Rico to win the country’s first World Baseball Classic Champion title. There is a lot of nationalism and pride involved in seeing one’s home country succeed in anything for reasons that are both very easy and quite difficult to explain. In the case of the World Baseball Classic, the United States finds itself in the rare position of being almost an underdog - or at least not an outright favorite - which should add to the satisfaction of the victory. But it didn’t. Not really.

Maybe it is because the nature of the Classic: the fun, the excitement, the passion involved that makes it different from other tournaments of its nature. Maybe it is that fans have grown to know and love many of the players representing all different parts of the world that make the natural nationalistic urge less strong. Maybe it is just seeing the crushed faces of team Puerto Rico:

World Baseball Classic - Championship Round - Game 3 - United States v Puerto Rico Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

Whatever the reason, despite the excitement of seeing the United States win, it is difficult to escape the fact that for every winner, there is someone that finished second, someone that finished second that wanted to win just as much.

The great thing is, though someone must, the World Baseball Classic was never just about winning. It represents everything great about baseball... and life. It is different cultures coming together to play the same game, by the same rules, on the same field, showcasing their different styles and talents, but more importantly, their passion. That passion - for baseball, for country, for a job, for another person, for anything - despite being the root cause of the agony of defeat - whether it is losing a baseball game, or a job, or a loved one - is one of the purest things we as humans can feel. Watching that on full display, embodied in a sport so cherished is what makes the World Baseball Classic so great and so heart-breaking. It is beautiful. And it is ours - all of ours. Maybe that is corny to say.

But I don’t really care because I love it.

Now, off my soapbox and to the links!

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KNOW THINE ENEMY...
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