Friday, August 15, 2008

Olympic Baseball: Cuba Beats US in "Extras"

A classic Olympic baseball game is going down right known and America has to watch it on the Internet. Cuba vs. US – a likely old medal preview.

The score is presently tied 2-2 in the top of the 11th. And now Olympic baseball's 2008 oddity has its first display. Because of a rule change meant to appease the Olympic Gods (baseball is toast after this year) a game-forcing cheat is put into play. After one normal extra inning, Cuba is allowed to place whatever 2 players on 1st & 3rd in the top of the 11th.

Boom. After a successful sacrifice bunt got both runners in scoring position for Cuba, a shot by Michel Enriquez past the first baseman scores two. 4-2 Cuba. A double play ends the inning.

With US runners placed on 1st and 2nd in the bottom of 11, Nix (USA) proceeds to bunt it off his face - blood gushing all over. Strike 1. Then a good bunt by Barden moves runners into scoring position. 1 out.

17 year old veteran Cuban workhorse Pedro Lazo is still in the game, after relieving Rodriquez in the 5th. He also pitched two days ago vs. Japan (which Cuba won 4-2) and has allowed 0 runs in 8 innings combined.

Damn GE commercials... They are not in the middle of innings like TV. They pop up every 10 minutes, always in the wrong place.

A deep sac fly, which scored one and got the tying run to 3rd with 2 outs. Then it's popped up, to the back-screen! The ball stays in by a foot and is caught by the Cuba catcher. Cuba wins!!!

A nation goes wild, as every self-respecting Cuban household and tavern had this game on live at 2AM. This game was particularly huge in baseball terms because Cuba had begun to show signs of weakness after losing games to the US and others (like Netherlands for God’s sake) in recent tournaments. Cuba, of course, is still considered the world's baseball powerhouse, having won all the golds in the sport, except in Sydney, when Tommy Lasorda took it home for the US.

What a game. And even though you have to dislike it ending unnaturally like this, it is fairer than penalty shots. The goal of trying to get baseball put back in the Olympics (by taking it easier on pitchers) makes it worth it. That is one goal the US and Cuba can agree to.

In the end Cuba got a base hit, the US did not. If I hear any more cry-babying about unfair things at this Olympics I am going to tear my eyes out.