I know how absurd it’s going to sound, coming from a suburban white woman who is pretty much the antithesis of cool, but BOOYAH! on Team USA’s win over Puerto Rico last night in the World Baseball Classic.
It was elimination time, and I really thought the Puerto Rican team (a.k.a. The Team That Mercy-Ruled the Pitiful American Team’s Butts) was going to win and send the Americans home from the tournament. The PR team was leading 5-3 in the 9th inning, and despite the batters coming up from our side, I was nervous.
But when I saw Kevin Youkilis of the Boston Red Sox coming to the plate with three men on, I sort of relaxed. For those of you who never read Michael Lewis’ Moneyball, the Oakland A’s dubbed Youkilis “the Greek God of Walks” back when they were scouting him in the early 2000s. He had a terrific on base percentage, one of the sexy new stats in modern baseball (with good reason, as it turns out). Youkilis went on to join the Red Sox and in the crazy-wonderful 2004 season, he managed to establish that reputation on the major league level, too.
I’ve been reading a lot of baseball books lately, including Living on the Black by John Feinstein and The Yankee Years by Joe Torre and Tom Verducci. And I’ve also been re-reading the book Faithful by Stewart O’Nan and Stephen King, the book that followed the 2004 Red Sox season and World Series victory in real time, and I’ve gotten to the point of the book when they discover Youkilis and also start referring to him as “the Greek God of Walks.” So it seemed fitting that Youk was at the plate, with the chance to do something good. And true to his nickname, he…walked. And that walked in a run (Shane Victorino).
A few minutes later, David Wright (of the Mets) stepped up and golfed one into right field. It was glorious. Brian Roberts and Jimmy Rollins scored, and just like that, the American team was going on to the next round. They’ll start playing in the next round at Dodger Stadium this weekend.
So yeah, booyah. I know, I’m no sportswriter, but I’m a fan, and I’m excited, so I just wanted to say so. And of course it was nice to be able to write that Team USA got its revenge on the mercy rule, too.