Let’s watch 19-year-old Greg Maddux pitch and ask ourselves weird ethical questions

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So, this may be weird for a minute. But bear with me.

I started dating my now ex-wife when we were 17. Back when we were 17 I took a picture of her out at a park or wherever and it was a good picture. She looked lovely in it and, for a few years, I had the picture in a frame on my dresser. Took it with me to college and stuff and kept it on my desk. If someone asked about my girlfriend I’d show them the picture because she looked lovely and I wanted to brag a little. I think everyone has done that with a picture of a significant other at some point.

As I got older and we got married and things, other pictures replaced that one and it was forgotten for a time. Then when I was, I dunno, 35, I found it in a box and looked at it. Of course she still looked lovely in it, but dude, she was 17 in it and I was 35 and there is something weird and wrong about a 35-year-old dude getting all moon-eyed and swoony at a picture of a 17-year-old, even if you took it when you were 17 and you were still with her now. Just an odd ethical area in some weird ways, right?

I never really reconciled how to feel about that and, thankfully, we’re now divorced, I don’t have that picture anymore and I will never again have to ask myself that question because the women I meet from here on out and get moon-eyed and swoony over will at least be in their 30s.

What made me think of all of that was going over to SB Nation this morning and seeing video of a 19-year-old Greg Maddux pitching in a minor league game. Obviously watching your man-crush when he was a teenager doesn’t raise quite the same ethical questions as looking at your teenaged girlfriend, but I feel like it’s almost in the same area code. It certainly stirs feelings inside of me that I don’t know quite what to do with because, well, I’m really damn weird when it comes to Greg Maddux.

Anyway, watch it yourself. And keep an eye out for Rafael Palmeiro and Dante Bichette too. And no, you may not see pictures of my ex-wife when she was 17. That’s way worse for you than it is for me:

 

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.