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03/14/2006

Mighty Casey has STRUCK OUT!

             Koreans smash US - New World Baseball favorites!

Casey Home runs by Choi Hee-Seop and Lee Seung-Yeop powered South Korea past United States 7-3, making the undefeated Asians a clear championship favorite at the World Baseball Classic.

Baffling US batters with superb pitching supported by impressive fielding and 10 timely hits, the Koreans rose to 5-0 overall, the lone Classic unbeatens all-but clinching a semi-final berth by going 2-0 in their second-round group.

We're happy and ecstatic we have beaten the strongest team," Choi said. "We're very motivated. We don't have any team we should be afraid of now."

          CONGRATULATIONS! - text of 'Casey at the Bat'

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  Unbeaten Koreans smash US to become World Baseball favorites

Home runs by Choi Hee-Seop and Lee Seung-Yeop powered South Korea past United States 7-3, making the undefeated Asians a clear championship favorite at the World Baseball Classic.

Baffling US batters with superb pitching supported by impressive fielding and 10 timely hits, the Koreans rose to 5-0 overall, the lone Classic unbeatens all-but clinching a semi-final berth by going 2-0 in their second-round group.

"We're happy and ecstatic we have beaten the strongest team," Choi said. "We're very motivated. We don't have any team we should be afraid of now."

The Americans, booed at times by their own fans, are an epic disappointment, needing a controversial call to edge Japan 4-3 Sunday after Canada stunned them 8-6 in round one of the first global event with Major League Baseball talent.

"It's definitely frustrating to see when you know the capability of our team," US losing pitcher Dontrelle Willis said. "We just haven't hit it yet."

Now the millionaire US lineup faces a must-win game Thursday against Mexico, which only lost 2-0 to the US team in round one, for a chance of advancing to Saturday's semi-finals at nearby San Diego for a possible South Korean rematch.

The Koreans can complete an unbeaten run to the semi-finals Wednesday by beating Japan as they did in Tokyo by 3-2 to win the Asian first-round group.

While the US squad lost top talent over concerns about conditioning for the upcoming club season, the Koreans halted their season to send their best stars and the results have been impressive.

"Something happened which nobody would believe, beating not only the US team but a collection of the best major league players," Korean manager Kim In-Sik said. "It's very difficult to believe what happened. But that's baseball."

South Korea led 3-1 in the fourth inning when Kim Min-Jae doubled and US pitcher Dan Wheeler intentionally walked Lee, the Classic homer leader after hitting a solo blast in the first inning for his fifth of the event.

"We felt like we could make some pitches on (Choi)," said US manager Buck Martinez. "Unfortunately he got enough of it to hit it over the fence and that was huge for them."

Choi, batting just 3-for-14 through four games, entered as a pinch-hitter and smacked a three-run homer just inside the right-field foul pole, giving the Koreans a 6-1 lead.

"I thought it might be a foul ball or the outfielder might catch it," Choi said. "When I heard all the screams from the Korean stands, I knew I had a home run."

"When I saw him hit a three-run homer, I thought we were going to win," the Korean manager said.

Kim Min-Jae added a run-scoring single in the sixth for a six-run edge, but the Americans rallied in the ninth against Korean reliever Chong Tae-Hyon.

Ken Griffey Jnr, whose homer in the third inning produced the only US run through eight innings, singled in a run and Alex Rodriguez plated another with a ground out to first base.

But relief pitcher Oh Seung-Hwan entered and induced Chipper Jones to ground out to end the game.

Lee smashed a homer off Willis and Lee Bum-Ho plated runs with a single and ground out to give the Koreans a 3-1 edge.

Willis was pounded by Canada in round one, giving up five runs on six hits in 2 2/3 innings, and allowed Korea three runs on four hits and four walks in three innings.

"I just haven't played good baseball," Willis said. "I had a great game plan. I just didn't execute."   Link

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Comments

Now before a certain someone gives any trouble for posting about 'sports', which I am generally loathe to even think about, I hasten to add that I happen to love the poem AND I even like Robert Service.

So there.

The problem with the baseball classic is that the teams play only one game against an opponent. Baseball is quirky and one game is no measure of success. The MLB season is 162 games long to encourage separation between the teams, one game is no barometer of this, hence the World SERIES. Seven games. The Koreans, although good, are lucky. These matches should be in a series format to determine a decisive winner. I will bet my bottom dollar that Korea doesn't win this World Cup of Baseball.

Furthermore, many of the best American and Dominican players dropped out of the obsolete competition because they didn't want to get injured and risk their chances at the ultimate experience in baseball (or their fat contracts paid for by American owners and American fans) the World Series, which is held in America.

Heh ... should we out-source baseball? ;)

Whatever. So they won one game.

>I hasten to add that I happen to love the poem < My 6 year old son is named after that poem...and he's already a darn good baseball player :-).

Heh.

I memorized that poem in the fifth grade. I recited it in my head as I reread it.


:)

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