Sept. 10, 2009
This is the fifth in a series of installments from UC head baseball coach Brian Cleary as he travels overseas to coach the British National Baseball Team at the 2009 Baseball World Cup.
First, let me comment on my experience of watching the soccer game between England and Croatia last night on TV here in Croatia. I was more interested in watching the people watch the game than the game itself. Several members of the coaching staff and players watched at a café next to the hotel - it was noticeably more crowded than any other night we have been here so far. The café is actually on a sidewalk, so people who were walking also stopped to watch. England won easily, 5-1, and there was great anguish among the fans here with every goal. The TV broadcast was in Croatian, but despite not understanding the language, it was easy to hear the tone of voice, especially on the pre-game show vs. the post-game show. With every goal scored, the camera focused in on the Croatian coach - I certainly felt for him having been on both sides of wins and losses.
We opened play today against Japan with a 9-7 loss. We scored five runs on the bottom of the ninth and the game ended with the bases loaded (tying run at 2B and winning run at 1B). No loss is a good one, but to be that close to a win is both gratifying and frustrating. As I have mentioned, Japan is the clear favorite to win our pool. In the most recent world baseball rankings, Japan was ranked fourth behind Cuba, the United States, and South Korea. For us to win would have been a tremendous upset. We did play well other than for a few errors early. The Japanese players are very sound fundamentally, especially their infielders. They had some tremendous infield plays that saved runs for them. Their pitching is very solid although we were close to scoring more than we did (we left a large number of runners on base).
We returned to the field after our game for the opening ceremonies and then watched Croatia and Nicaragua. Both teams have strengths although neither looked to me as strong as Japan is. However, it is baseball and anyone can win on any day so we will have our work cut out for us the next two days. We play tomorrow morning at 10:30 AM local time against Nicaragua and will hope to update again after that game.
Entry 4 | Entry 3 | Entry 2 | Entry 1