Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Sound of One Hand Clapping

USA 5, Cuba 3
Box, Wiki Update

One of the many oddities of the Baseball World Cup is, Why is the final round being played in Italy? Much less that famous Italian city, Nettuno. But then I looked it up on Wikipedia and all became clear:

Nettuno has one of the most important Italian baseball teams, Danesi Nettuno often winner of the Championship. This game was taught to the local people during the Second World War by U.S. soldiers, who landed along the coasts for the Operation Shingle. At the north edge of town is the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery and Memorial, where over 7,800 U.S. soldiers are buried.

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This is where today's game was played, and where the final game will be played on Sunday.

That sort of disturbed the flow of my thought, which was that a world cup was staged, but nobody came. Let’s look at the attendance and locations for Team USA games.

Round 1
10 September, Venezuela, Regensburg, Germany: 4,200
11 September, Germany, Regensburg, Germany: 9,600
12 September, China, Regensburg, Germany: 5,900

So things in Germany not too bad. Then the venues shifted to Italy for half the teams and Holland for the other half. Team USA has been in Italy, and Italy’s been pretty quiet.

Round 2
13 September, Canada, Reggio Emilia: 300
14 September, Netherland Antilles, Verona: 850
15 September, Japan, Macerata: 1,900
17 September, Chinese Taipei, Torino: 1,000
19 September, Mexico, Vicenza: 500
20 September, Italy, Torino: 1,000
21 September, Australia, Bologna: 250

Round 3
22 September, Venezuela, Firenze: 170
23 September, Puerto Rico, Firenze: 130
24 September, Cuba, Nettuno: 2,000

Now, I don’t want to sound too chauvinistic about this, but looks like somebody gave a party that no one wanted to come to. I saw the Cuba game today. Two thousand is a bit of a stretch, even if you included the anti-Castro protestors that showed up. Adding up the official numbers, that’s a grand total of 8,100 who have turned out to see Team USA in Italy. Less than a typical Bulls game. Less than one of the games in Germany.

Makes me wonder why MLB network was even carrying it. Certainly didn’t send their A Team of commentators. Got to think that somebody among the MLB network brass must owe someone in the World Cup crowd a BIG favor. I mean how many other whacko’s like me are out there who tuned in for a glimpse of Jon Weber sitting on the bench. (By the way, how about that Fu Manchu ‘stache!)

The larger question is, Just why is this going on? Surely Jon and Jason would rather have been drinking champagne in Scranton and Oklahoma City.

On the other hand, there are some really, really good wines where they are. And some really, really good food ...


  1. Well, hopefully Jon and Jason were somewhere near a TV that carried ESPN2 the other day and at least got to watch the Bulls game.

    I agree that there doesn't seem to be much point to this. No one is paying attention here, and no one is paying attention there. Any idea what the history is here? How long has thing whole thing been going on?

  2. From their website it says it has been going on since the late '30s. My impression is that the organization behind it is the same one that worked on getting in and staying in the Olympics. My impression also is that, until recent years, it was all amateur, so major league ball wasn't interested. If it weren't for the Bulls involved, and doing this blog this year, I doubt that I'd have noticed either. Much like last year when we lost Jeremy Cummings to the Olympics.