acnnews 8Everything Was SaidReflections by Comrade Fidel
Last night the grand finale of the Classic took place between the two Asian giants. The U.S. team was brilliant in its absence. The multinationals which exploit the sport lost nothing and gained much. The American people are grumbling.
Everything was forecast. The Japanese gave their opponent a hard time, even though Matsuzaka was not having his best day. At the first pitch of the game there was a centre homerun. At that moment, those who were accustomed to seeing this sport in the traditional mode since the days of Babe Ruth dreamed of a flood of Yankee hits.
It got still worse when Matsuzaka gave away a base with a walk and the black U.S. player Jimmy Rollins hit a fly between second base and centre field that could be perfectly caught and fell into the field by obstruction of no less than Hiroyuki Nakajima, the exceptional Japanese short-stop. The same was happening to the Japanese team in that game that had happened to the United States the day before; the advantage for the American was 1 run at the beginning of the first inning.
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The Japanese manager was kind to his opening pitcher who was announced with great fanfare, not wanting to brush him with even the petal of a flower. He talked to him, patted him on the back a few times and left him alone.
Japan was the home club and 27 outs were to come; its famous pitcher gave the extra and finished the opener.
Immediately, the Japanese began their efforts to get rid of that advantage and in a short while they already had 4 runs over the United States.
That afternoon Matsuzaka was not the invincible pitcher. Only a few more pitches and he was replaced by another from the excellent Japanese collection of pitchers, among those the manager would replace without the least hesitation whenever he would feel any kind of danger. He had reserves to allow him to win this encounter and he had all the necessary ones for the Classic final the following day.
Every time the U.S. team allowed a run from the Japanese advantage, the Japanese manager would look for and get the necessary ones in order to reestablish the margin of 4 in his favor.
Ichiro Suzuki, the first Japanese at-bat, had failed four times that day, but when they really needed him as always, he drove a double and the advantage went up to 5, and so the game ended in the ninth inning.
On the next day, March 23rd at 6:30 in the afternoon, in the full light of day in Los Angeles, 9:30 at night Cuban time, the final game between Japan and Korea was played. Korea was home club and couldn’t resist the temptation of using a pitcher who had defeated the Japanese team twice in the Classic, in 1 or 2 run games, very quick, curve balls and very little prone to strikes, who had been very much studied by the Japanese specialists and batters.
This time, the first pitch resulted in a homerun through centre field, a carbon copy of the Yankee slugger the day before; a terrible beginning for the other Asian baseball superpower. In spite of that, as proof of the quality of both the teams, one of the toughest encounters of professional baseball players that could be imagined took place. The Japanese manager made no mistake in his choice of pitcher.
Hisashi Iwakuma, Japan’s opening pitcher, threw for 7 and two-thirds innings, several of them with less that 10 pitches per inning.
In the fourth inning the score was still 1 to 0 for Japan.
In the 5th, Korea tied with a homerun.
In the 7th, Japan landed 3 consecutive hits and moved ahead at 2 to 1.
In the 8th, Japan got another run and the score was 3 to 1. At the top of that same inning, Korea made the score 3 to 2 with another run.
In the 9th, Japan’s best right-hander Yu Darvish walks two consecutive players and with only 2 strikes away from victory, Korea drives the tying run.
In the 10th, Japan drives 2 runs that decide the victory at 5 to 3.
Lead by Ichiro Suzuki who is, no doubt, the best batter in the world, the Japanese had 18 hits.
In a few short lines, that’s the way the encounter evolved, but it was full of complicated situations, spectacular offensive and defensive plays, hugely important moments in the game, all keeping tension and emotions high throughout the 10 innings.
I am not a sports commentator. I write about political subjects which are always with me, that’s why I pay attention to sports; that’s why yesterday there was no reflection regarding the very important encounter that would be happening that day.
Everything was said and foretold several days in advance. My friends, the reporters of the Western news agencies will not have any material to highlight, with greater or lesser emphasis, which in their opinion are difficulties connected with socialism.
Fidel Castro Ruz
March 24, 2009