THE STRIKE ZONE
Sometimes Sports, Sometimes Sportsmanship
The 2017 World Baseball Classic was filled with excitement this year. In only it's fourth incarnation, the tournament is picking up steam and finally beginning to capture the attention of some of the stars who are yet to play in it (like Mike Trout).
That is, unless, you are Adrian Gonzalez.
Gonzalez, the All-Star 1st Baseman for the Los Angeles Dodgers and the biggest name on Team Mexico, went on a tirade after Mexico thought they had advanced to a tie-breaker game against Italy, only to find out that they misinterpreted the rule and actually lost out to Venezuela, who would instead face Italy for the right to move on in the tournament.
Here's the scene: in Pool D, which was the first round of the tournament being played in Mexico and featured teams from Mexico, Venezuela, Italy, and Puerto Rico, the top two teams would move on to the second round after Round Robin play completed. Each of the teams in the pool would play a total of three games: one against each of the other opponents. Puerto Rico went 3-0; the others all went 1-2.
So three teams were tied for the second seed and the chance to move on.
The tiebreaker rules state that they would use a formula to determine which of the two tied teams would play in a tiebreaker game for the right to move on; the third team would simply be eliminated. That formula calculated defensive runs allowed over defensive regulation innings in games against the tied opponents (just trust me on this...it's so complicated that even I wanted to yell at television). Originally, the media announced that Italy and Mexico were the two teams that would play. However, upon re-examining the rule, noting an error, and re-calculating, Mexico was to be eliminated and Venezuela was to play Italy; they edged them by a fraction of a run.
Oh yeah, and Venezuela beat Italy and moved on.
Gonzalez and all of Team Mexico went public with their displeasure after filing an official protest and following all of the protocol to try to get their team back in that game. But it went all for naught.
"They're trying to be the World Cup," Gonzalez said, "but they're not even the Little League World Series."
Gonzalez made it quite clear he will not participate for Mexico or any team again in the future.
Gonzalez also made sure that Major League Baseball and all WBC officials knew he thought they "had no integrity," calling everything they do "a bunch of BS." He also laughed and said it was good to be out of the tournament.
By the way, Gonzalez hit .143 in the tournament, going only 1 for 12.
If that doesn't smell of a sore loser, I don't know what does.
A note to Mr. Gonzalez: we all get it. It's a shame that you were told you were moving on, then had to deal with the reality of the situation due to a technicality. But what you just exhibited is the behavior of a 9-year-old who just takes his ball and goes home when it doesn't go his way.
By the way, a quick reminder to him and all of Team Mexico: your manager, Adrian's older brother Edgar Gonzalez, was ejected in the final game for arguing balls and strikes. So the real joke here is your team.
Many other teams are having fun. Not only are you not due to your own choice of behavior, but you can also bet that Mexico will probably also not be a host city in the future either.
Baseball player, umpire, coach, fan; professional musician; founder, President & CEO of The OSIP Foundation, Inc.