Wednesday, February 11, 2009

WBC Loyalties

Baseball in Barahona, Dominican Republic

I have been looking forward to the 2009 World Baseball Classic ever since the 2006 one ended. The funny thing is, I never expected that I would see them both from two different participating countries, and neither would be the U.S.

In the first half of 2006, I lived in the Dominican Republic. I watched the games in the living room with my host family, or upstairs on my own; whichever way, the atmosphere was electric. I rooted for the DR, of course. No question. There weren't enough Red Sox players on the US team, and there were several Yankees players that I couldn't stand. I was familiar with many of the famous Dominican players who had never played in the US Major Leagues. It was an easy choice.

This year, I'll be watching from the Netherlands. I think I'll be rooting for them as well.

I don't expect the same charged atmosphere I experienced in the DR, and I certainly don't expect the outcome. The Netherlands won only one game in the 2006 classic; the Dominican Republic made it to the semifinals.

But in 2006, the DR had Big Papi.

In 2009, they have - shudder - A-Rod.

The plot thickens when you realize that these two teams are playing their first game against each other.

I hope it's on TV here. The local time would be 7 pm on a Saturday. Maybe some of my housemates could get sucked into it.

Probably not, though. Not when Nederland is going to get crushed by La Republica Dominicana...