The Struggle Continues for Team USA


When the world caught up to the United States in basketball, we attributed it to the fact that young ballers would rather possess a killer-crossover than a nice jump shot. Sure, the ability was there, and the work ethic too. But American kids work at looking pretty, not at getting better.

The word got out. Americans lack fundamentals.

The teams at the World Baseball Classic are proving that it’s not just basketball where the United States’ basic skills seem flawed.

First, it was Canada. Chalk that up as a fluke. Dontrelle Willis was shaky and Team USA fell way behind early. Then there was Japan. The Americans looked bad and used a bad call to survive. But survive, they did.

Against Korea, Team USA was exposed. The Koreans ripped Willis and reliever Dan Wheeler for six runs in the first four innings enroute to a 7-3 victory Monday.

So much is going wrong for the Americans at the WBC.

The pitchers don’t throw strikes. Of Willis’ 59 pitches thrown against Korea, 31 were for balls. He walked four and hit a batter. Wheeler recorded two outs in the fourth before giving up a double, intentional walk and three run blast to pinch hitter Hee-Seop Choi.

They don’t hit to the opposite field. With the exception Derek Jeter, it seems like every player swings out his shoes at almost every pitch. It’s like they are facing a high school pitcher who only throws belt high fastballs middle-in. They blame it on not knowing anything about the other team’s pitchers. But that’s not it. They are trying to hit David Ortiz-like homeruns and failing miserably.

They don’t get clutch hits. I have never seen anything like it. They load the bases every inning against these teams and proceed to swing at pitches way out of the zone to strike out. Against Japan, Ken Griffey Jr. could have won the game with a bases loaded walk but instead chose to hack at a pitch that was about three feet out of the strike zone.

On the other hand, their opponents throw the ball down in the zone for strikes and play sound defense. They also cash in with runners on base.

Face it. The United States is not going to win this thing. They might not even make it out of the second pool. They don’t pitch. They don’t hit. The necessities just aren’t there.

It’s utterly embarrassing.


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