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WBC Game Chat: USA vs South Africa, noon PT
2006-03-10 11:00
by Bob Timmermann

Live from Scottsdale, Arizona!

In what was supposed to be a warmup game before the second round has turned into a must win game for Team USA. Not many people would expect that the almost entirely amateur team from South Africa would have the slightest chance of beating the millionaires of Team USA, but the game is on the schedule and the USA has to win or else they're out of the tournament.

Roger Clemens will get the start for the American side. No starter for South Africa had been named, but South Africa manager Rick Magnante will be taking applications.

The U.S. defeated Mexico in its opener 2-0, but then lost to Canada 8-6. But Mexico's 9-1 pounding of Canada Friday sent Mexico on to the Anaheim Regional second round. South Africa almost pulled off an upset of Canada, but lost in the 9th, 11-8. Mexico defeated South Africa 10-4.

Most would think that the best South Africa can hope for is to avoid having the game shortened by the mercy rule. The US team isn't going to take South African lightly. But you still have to play the game.

Interestingly despite a few apparent mismatches in the tournament, only three games have ended early. Japan had two shortened wins over China and Taiwan and Italy had a surprisingly short 10-0 win over Australia. Two days later, Australia fell to Venezuela, 2-0.

U.S. lineup Damon, LF
Jeter, SS
Griffey, CF
Rodriguez, 3B
Jones, DH
Lee, 1B
Utley, 2B
Barrett, C
Winn, RF

Clemens, P

RSA lineup Bell, 2B
Willemburg, SS
Naude, DH
Dempsey, 1B
Phillips, 3B
Cook, CF
Kemp, C
Ekermans, LF
Butcher, RF

Michaels, P


MERCY! United States 17, South Africa 0 in 5 innings.

WP - Roger Clemens
LP - Carl Michaels
HR - Ken Griffey Jr. 2, Derrek Lee

South Africa did manage two hits off of the US pitchers (one off of Clemens and the second off of Mike Timlim). This put them ahead of Panama which got no hits in 7 innings today against Shairon Martis. And Australia has just two hits in two games!

The U.S. moves on to the Anaheim Regional and will play Sunday at 1 pm PT against Japan. Jake Peavy expected to start for the U.S. Japan will likely start Koji Uehara if they stick to their rotation from the first round.

2006-03-10 12:00:55
1.   Bob Timmermann
Barry Bonds in attendance at today's game, although he is obviously not playing.

Greg Papa was quite surprised to see Bonds there, but Steve Stone speculated that Bonds was just there for his reality TV show.

2006-03-10 12:08:07
2.   Joe
That reminds me...

The Papa/Stone combo in the booth has been FANTASTIC.

2006-03-10 12:09:21
3.   Bob Timmermann
For those who are curious, Mexico has been guaranteed the #1 slot. Mexico will play Korea in Anaheim at 8 pm PT in Anaheim. They will play Japan Tuesday night at 7 pm PT and then either the US or Canada at 4:30 pm PT on Thursday.
2006-03-10 12:09:45
4.   Joe
Gamecast says it's blowing 24 MPH to center. I know the wind blows for both teams, but this has mercy rule written all over it.
2006-03-10 12:12:17
5.   grandcosmo
2. ESPN has no idea what they have with Stone. If they had any sense they'd dump Little Joe and put Stone in the Sunday night booth.
2006-03-10 12:14:16
6.   Bob Timmermann
I have learned not to tempt fate with our South African visitors with such statements anymore.
2006-03-10 12:15:56
7.   Joe
Two-run double by ARod.

And so it begins....

2006-03-10 12:17:17
8.   Joe
I'm really disappointed Charlize Theron didn't throw out the first pitch.
2006-03-10 12:21:16
9.   Gary Garland
I would like to thank ESPN for continuing to show an ACC quarterfinal game while this game started 20 minutes ago. I love missing a major baseball game so that they can show some crap college game.
2006-03-10 12:23:29
10.   grandcosmo
Carl Michaels has been ineffective.
2006-03-10 12:24:11
11.   Bob Timmermann
ESPN isn't scheduled to show this game until midnight PT.
2006-03-10 12:26:16
12.   standuptriple
Thank ol' Bud for knowingly going head-up against a huge ESPN partner. Put availability at the top of the ever-increasing "Needs to be fixed by the next WBC" list.
I agree, they should at least have in on ESPN 8 or something. Out here in the West some of the games have been on the local PBS stations.
2006-03-10 12:26:49
13.   Joe
While I side with you, Gary, conference tourneys are a staple of ESPN and since (a) the WBC is in it's first year and (b) USA will mercy-rule South Africa, I'd find it hard to sell it as a "major baseball game". Plus the game will be shown tape-delayed at 9 PM to a much wider audience.
2006-03-10 12:36:40
14.   Gary Garland
They're showing basketabll on both ESPN channels. I can appreciate them focusing on the college games when they get into the actual NCAA tournament. But quarterfinal conference games? Give me a break!

And a game that will determine if the U.S. makes it into the next round isn't a major game? How so? Even if they do mercy rule the South Africans in the end, you just never know (Japan vs. Australia in the olympics, for example).

2006-03-10 12:36:56
15.   grandcosmo
9. Ratings
2006-03-10 12:44:47
16.   tjshere
I guess ESPN has gotta do what they gotta do, but I find it appalling that I can't even listen to the WBC or Dodger spring games on the radio.

I hate being old and remembering the good ol' days.

2006-03-10 12:44:58
17.   Bob Timmermann

Bonds says he would like to play for the US team now.

Buck Martinez says there is no place for him.

2006-03-10 12:46:37
18.   Joe
16. You can listen to WBC games, just not for free. :)
2006-03-10 12:51:55
19.   grandcosmo
17. The ESPN story said that Bonds was greeted on the field by a smattering of boos from the fans. I'm watching the broadcast of the game and they showed Bonds on the field before the game and in addition to some boos he also got a lot of cheers.
2006-03-10 12:53:52
20.   Joe
Is everyone subject to drug testing in the WBC or just random testing?
2006-03-10 12:53:55
21.   Bob Timmermann
The last time I can find the USA playing the RSA in international competition was in the 2001 World Cup in Taiwan.

The U.S. won 5-0.

2006-03-10 12:55:00
22.   Bob Timmermann
The drug testing is random. They grab two players after each game.

The South Africans have more hits today than the Panamanians got against the Dutch today.

2006-03-10 12:59:47
23.   Bob Timmermann
Is anyone else watching on getting a lot of crosstalk from ESPN radio?
2006-03-10 13:03:40
24.   Joe
Nope...watching WBC Gameday and listening to Angels/A's game (2-2). You paying for each WBC game, Bob, or is this part of the pre-season package?
2006-03-10 13:04:30
25.   Joe
It ain't iffey, if it's Griffey!!
2006-03-10 13:05:49
26.   grandcosmo
Barry Armitage has been ineffective as well.
2006-03-10 13:12:25
27.   kngoworld
Out of hand!
2006-03-10 13:13:35
28.   kngoworld
What inning does mercy rule come into play?
2006-03-10 13:18:08
29.   Ali Nagib
After 5, if leading by 15...which looks likely at this point.

Clemens could get a CG SHO, the way he's least, a 5 inning CG, for what that's worth.

2006-03-10 13:20:08
30.   grandcosmo
That chalk line is one of the stupidist ground rules in history.
2006-03-10 13:32:54
31.   Ali Nagib
I don't know about you, but I don't really want to see the US win by 30 or 40 runs, nor do I want to see them stop trying for the last 5 innings just to avoid winning by that many. It's not like football where you can just run the ball up the middle every down when you're up by 40, or basketball where you can just let the clock run down on each possession and take a mediocre shot. With no time limit, the game could get WAY more out of hand then it already is, and there's absolutely no reason for that to happen. If the mercy rule were more restrictive (say, leading by only 6 or 7 after 5, where a team would have a real shot at coming back), I might care, but there's no reason to completely embarrass the South African team just because a "mercy rule" makes you squeamish. Suck it up and move on.
2006-03-10 13:37:26
32.   Bob Timmermann
I just bought a WBC package for $10. I didn't get a regular season one.

I went to go to lunch and now they won't let me back in!

2006-03-10 13:40:44
33.   Joe
Capitalist pigs!
2006-03-10 13:45:10
34.   For The Turnstiles
Jared Elario was effective.
2006-03-10 13:46:40
35.   Joe
Is that the one who's 17 but looks 12 and is short and husky? I was pullin' for him vs. Canada.
2006-03-10 13:47:49
36.   Bob Timmermann
I'm back for the final outs!
2006-03-10 13:48:34
37.   Bob Timmermann
This is not a save situation for Chad Cordero.

I hope it doesn't affect his concentration.

2006-03-10 13:49:22
38.   Joe
Ah hell, wanted to see Roger finish this out.
2006-03-10 13:50:17
39.   For The Turnstiles
If they were playing by standard rules, he could get the win.
2006-03-10 13:50:21
40.   Bob Timmermann
I guess I shouldn't trust Greg Papa anymore since he can't tell the difference between Chad Cordero and Mike Timlin.
2006-03-10 13:50:22
41.   kngoworld
Why bring Clemens back for one out? Pinch Count?
2006-03-10 13:52:22
42.   grandcosmo
41. Ovation
2006-03-10 13:52:26
43.   Bob Timmermann
I would assume that Buck Martinez wanted Clemens to come out in mid-inning so he could get an ovation.
2006-03-10 13:54:08
44.   Bob Timmermann
Now it's Chad Cordero.

He's better with a runner on I suppose.

2006-03-10 13:55:51
45.   Ali Nagib
I'm not watching, but why didn't Clemens finish the game? If he'd gotten the #2 batter on 5 or fewer pitches, he could have finished off the last batter without regard for the limit.
2006-03-10 13:58:52
46.   Ali Nagib
Isn't getting a 5 inning CG SHO cooler than getting an ovation? Hasn't Clemens gotten a billion of them over the years? You don't see managers pulling guys in real games when they can finish it themselves just so that the crowd can cheer.
2006-03-10 13:59:04
47.   Linkmeister is proud of itself:

"The World Baseball Classic telecast of Team Canada's upset victory of Team USA on Wednesday, March 8, (4:00 PM EST, ESPN2) delivered a 1.5 cable HH rating with 1,736,000 viewers tuning in, according to Nielsen Media Research. This game ranks as both the most watched telecast of any kind on ESPN2 in 2006 and the third most watched non-Division Series professional baseball game in ESPN2 history, topping Tuesday's USA - Mexico match up (1.4 cable HH rating). The World Baseball Classic has now provided ESPN2 with its top two telecasts in 2006."

Personally, I think it proves only that there are a lot of baseball fans who are starved for the gazme.

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