Injury-Free U.S. Team Deems World Baseball Classic 'A Complete Success'
ANAHEIM, CA—Players on Team USA, along with MLB owners and managers, rejoiced Thursday night following their final game of the World Baseball Classic, a 2-1 loss to Mexico, as the Americans came out of the tournament safe, sound, and in one piece. "There is an amazing sense of accomplishment among these healthy, injury-free players. Wearing this uniform, and not getting hurt while inside of it, will be something these players are going to remember for the rest of the regular season," said Team USA manager Buck Martinez while helping each player navigate an awkward step up into the clubhouse. "We didn't emerge victorious, but we did emerge completely unscathed. I say we are the real winners here." Following their elimination from harm's way, Martinez joined his 30 healthy players in a cautious locker-room celebration, during which they gingerly spritzed shatterproof plastic bottles of champagne on each other.
Ichiro: 'The Best Part About Playing For My Country Was Not Playing For The Seattle Mariners'
SAN DIEGO—In an interview following Japan's 10-6 victory against Cuba in the World Baseball Classic championship game Monday, Ichiro Suzuki called the tournament a "great opportunity to represent anything besides the Seattle Mariners." "Playing alongside my countrymen on the world stage was nice, but the highlight of the event for me was not having to watch helplessly from the on-deck circle as [Seattle outfielder] Willie Bloomquist pops out for the fourth time in one game," said Ichiro, who has been contemplating a return to his non-Mariner roots since late 2003. "Honestly, I would have played for the Netherlands team if it meant 17 days away from the Mariners spring-training camp." Although he said that the legendary Sadaharu Oh did a fine job coaching Team Japan, Ichiro added that "next to Mike Hargrove, any idiot in a baseball cap would seem like a decent manager."