Some Philly fans bring class to the NLCS

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Every time the subject of Philly fan behavior comes up, someone goes and mentions that booing Santa Claus thing. And to be honest I’m with the Philly folks in thinking that to be stupid and unfair. I mean, it was over 40 years ago and at some point you gotta let go, ya know?

But their legitimate indignation at being tarred with the Santa Claus thing has led to a curious phenomenon: every time some fan does something stupid there, Philly fans get upset when anyone points it out, even if it happened yesterday. “Yeah, sure, go ahead and say that Philly fans are obnoxious. Feel free to stereotype us. How original,” they huff, rolling their eyes. We saw this when the guy puked on that girl earlier this year. We saw it when the guy got tased. We saw it the very next night when the copycat guy jumped on the field. Point out some dumb Philly fan behavior and other Philly fans immediately play the “we’re being persecuted” card.

But you know what? Even if they don’t deserve the reputation for being awful that so many have applied to them, there is a certain brand of Philly fan that is obnoxious. Not all, of course, and not even a large number. But a subset that is unique to Philly in their poor taste and boorishness. And hey, here are some of them now!

I don’t object to taunting the occasional player, but that stuff isn’t funny or clever. Or even warranted. I get going after Scott Rolen or someone with a history, but Burrell? Sure, he had his ups and downs in Philly, but he was a big part of the 2008 championship. And he wanted to stay in Philly after that season, but the team never seriously negotiated. And Lincecum? How do you have any ill feelings for that guy? “Fix your teeth?” Really?

That stuff is just totally bush league. And I would hope that rather than spending all of their energy getting all defensive at once again having some of their own being called out for poor behavior, right-thinking Philly fans acknowledge that those dudes with the signs were pathetic.

UPDATE: Even more class!

Marcus Stroman named World Baseball Classic MVP

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United States starter Marcus Stroman was named Most Valuable Player of the World Baseball Classic after helping lead the U.S. to its first ever WBC title on Wednesday night in an 8-0 victory over Puerto Rico. Stroman flirted with a no-hitter through six innings, but gave up a double to lead off the seventh before being relieved by Sam Dyson.

Stroman also pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings against the Dominican Republic in Pool C play on March 11. He struggled in Pool F play against Puerto Rico last Friday, surrendering four runs in 4 2/3 innings.

The WBC MVP award understandably goes to a player of the winning team. However, Wladimir Balentien of the Netherlands deserves special mention. In 26 at-bats during the WBC, he hit a double and had a WBC-high four home runs, 12 RBI, and 12 runs scored while putting up a .615/.677/.1.115 batting line. That’s MVP-esque as far as this tournament is concerned.

U.S. blanks Puerto Rico 8-0 to win first World Baseball Classic title

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The United States handed Puerto Rico its first loss in the World Baseball Classic, winning 8-0 for its first title in the fourth iteration of the tournament.

Puerto Rico starter Seth Lugo was matching Marcus Stroman zero-for-zero through the first two innings, but the U.S. broke out for a pair of runs when Ian Kinsler deposited a two-run home run just beyond the fence in left-center at Dodger Stadium. The U.S. tacked on two more in the fifth on RBI singles from Christian Yelich and Andrew McCutchen, pushing the lead to 4-0.

Meanwhile, Stroman was dealing. The right-hander, normally seen in a Blue Jays uniform, held Puerto Rico hitless through his first six innings, giving up just a lone walk. The U.S. put together a long rally in the top of the seventh, scoring three runs on three hits, two walks, and a hit batter. Stroman came back out for the seventh but immediately served up a double down the left field line to Angel Pagan. U.S. manager Jim Leyland immediately lifted Stroman from the game, bringing in Sam Dyson who escaped the inning without any further damage.

Pat Neshek allowed a leadoff single to Yadier Molina to begin the eighth, but induced a double-play, then worked around a two-out walk by striking out Kenny Vargas to end the frame.

In the ninth, David Robertson took over. He induced an infield pop-up from Enrique Hernandez. After Pagan singled up the middle, Francisco Lindor sharply grounded out to Eric Hosmer at first base for the second out. Finally, Robertson closed it out, inducing Carlos Correa to ground out to third base, making the U.S. 8-0 victors over Puerto Rico to win the World Baseball Classic.

Puerto Rico had an admirable run, defeating Venezuela, Mexico, and Italy to get out of Pool D undefeated. Then, in Pool F, it beat Venezuela again as well as the U.S. and the Dominican Republic to move to the semifinals. It narrowly edged Netherlands 4-3 in the semifinals to get into the finals.

The U.S. lost to the D.R. but beat Canada and Colombia to get out of Pool C. In Pool F, the U.S. lost to Puerto Rico and defeated the D.R again as well as Venezuela. The U.S. took down Japan in the semifinals to advance to the finals to play Puerto Rico.

The U.S. joins Japan (twice, 2006 and ’09) and the Dominican Republic (2013) as countries to win the World Baseball Classic. The 2017 tournament was a rousing success, setting attendance records, drawing over one million fans to ballparks to take in the games. It will hopefully encourage commissioner Rob Manfred and others to make a concerted effort to make the 2021 tournament bigger and better.