March 9, 2006
USA gets wakeup call
By BOB ELLIOTT -- Toronto Sun
PHOENIX -- What will be Canada's next attack on the Americans? Burning down the White House as the Brits and Canucks did in 1814?
Team Canada beat Team USA, the 800-pound gorilla of baseball 8-6 yesterday to move to 2-0 in the World Baseball Classic.
What lies ahead for Team USA?
"We have to go out and score as many runs as possible against South Africa," Alex Rodriguez said after the game.
Well, not really. If Canada loses tonight and there is a three-way tie with Canada, Mexico and Team USA, the host country of the 16-country tournament, could be eliminated.
Of course Canada would have to lose and only allow two runs for that to happen.
Told the scenario, Mark Teixeria eyes widened, he turned, took a gulp of water and said, "Ah, I'm not really sure how that works."
"When we came in here it's not like I sat down and read the rule book," said Derek Jeter. "We'll see what happens."
When Canada was blanked by the Swiss at the Olympics, shock waves bounced from Mount Pearl, Nfld. to Port Moody, B.C.
"I think this win will wake people up to the talent that there is in Canada," Teixeria said. "We (the Texas Rangers) have known for years ... we have had Canadians in the past."
Ryan Dempster, Jeff Zimmerman and Kevin Reimer all were either drafted or played for the Rangers.
Jason Varitek put Team USA into a position to win the game and a better position on the tie breaker with his grand slam to centre off Eric Cyr.
"Sometimes," Brian Fuentes said," home runs are rally killers."
Of the next 16 men to come to plate after the Varitek slam, three reached base.
"I imagine some of those guys over there are feeling pretty bad," said Pete Orr, Team Canada's shortstop. "When you lose during the season, you feel bad, but it's one of 162.
"I know how bad I felt losing in the Olympics with my country's name on my chest. I'm sure some of those guys are feeling the same.
"We respect those guys, some are our friends, some are our teammates."