The World Baseball Classic has provided lots of great moments this year. Sure, there’s the fact that players around Major League Baseball have missed time with their respective teams for weeks at a time. There’s also the injury factor that both teams and fans are concerned about, but the tournament itself has been very entertaining.
First, there’s Manny Machado.
While fans around the country already knew that he was an outstanding player, the WBC has provided another stage for him to show just how talented he is. Last Thursday, Manny made a play that will be talked about throughout the baseball season. If I hadn’t seen it myself, I would have thought someone describing it to me was exaggerating if they explained it exactly how it happened.
Miguel Cabrera hit a ball down the third base line and Manny went into foul territory to backhand it. In one motion he threw it across his body toward first base, recording the out. Carlos Santana of the Cleveland Indians also made a great coming off of the bag and diving back to touch the base before Cabrera could get there.
On Saturday night, Manny’s teammate, Adam Jones, engaged in a game of “Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better” and Machado was the victim.
In the bottom of the seventh inning with USA leading 4-2, Manny sends a ball to right-center field. Adam, who was playing toward left field started running toward the fence. He timed his leap perfectly to rob both Machado and a Yankee fan who was poised to catch the homerun.
Manny tipped his cap to his teammate and Adam acknowledged it. USA went on to win and advance to the semi-finals against Japan Tuesday in Los Angeles.
Say what you want, the WBC has been a joy to watch. Some of the best players in the world are playing for the love of the game. More importantly, they are playing for their respective countries. The pride that you see is infectious.
While I’m rooting for USA, it’s great to see these men try to claim the ultimate international baseball prize for their native land.