Domi-nation in the World Baseball Classic: DR wins it all
The Dominican Republic became the first team to win the World Baseball Classic with a perfect record of 8-0 when they defeated team Puerto Rico in the championship game.
“This means a lot to us,” said Robinson Cano, the Yankees second baseman who played for the Dominican Republic team. “I’m excited right now. This is for your country and comes from the bottom of your heart. We know how much our fans wanted it. This means the world to us. You know how it is back home.”
Cano hit .469 (15-for-32) with four doubles, two homers, and six RBIs.
His 15 hits set the record for most hits by anyone in a single Classic, taking the record of 13 hits out, which was held by Japan’s Nobuhiko Matsunaka in 2006.
Cano was named MVP of the tournament.
Jose Reyes led off the bottom of the first with a double to right field and scored along with Cano on a double to right-center by Edwin Encarnacion as the Dominicans took the lead. They upped their lead to 3-0 on an RBI double in the fifth by Erick Aybar, who had a pair of hits on the night. Those three runs were all it took for the Dominican Republic to win the game.
The MLB Network broadcast the game, although in past years it was ESPN. Due to this switch, viewership, especially in the United States, was minimal. Despite the lack of television viewers, MLB Vice President for business Tom Brosnan says that it’s not about the U.S. viewership, but rather about getting more countries excited about the sport.
“But everybody forgets Brazil qualified for this tournament. Soccer-mad Brazil, probably the country where the middle class is going to grow the fastest of any country in the next decade,” said Brosnan. “To get the passion for baseball in a country like Brazil for a tournament like this? Money can’t buy that. It’s the promise of competing on a world stage that buys that, that buys that passion.”
Brosnan also pointed to China as an area of growth.
“China believes that they can compete with their east Asian neighbors on a worldwide stage,” he said, referring to baseball power Japan, winner of the first two WBC titles, and South Korea.
“They now have the promise to compete in a global sport on a global stage.”
According to the Reuters article, the end of the Puerto Rico semi-finals win over Japan drew 74 percent of TV viewers on the Caribbean island, and attendance overall had increased by some 80,000 to nearly 900,000.
While viewership in the United States was not very high, the tournament was still a success, and the Dominican Republic shined as they brought home the championship.
Did you watch the WBC? Let us know if you think it still holds relevance here in the States!