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Video: Jose Bautista’s game-saving throw home in the World Baseball Classic

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Team Dominican Republic might have had to play a tiebreaker for the right to advance from Pool C in the World Baseball Classic if not for Jose Bautista‘s game-saving throw home in the bottom of the ninth inning against Team Colombia.

With the game tied 3-3, Colombia threatened by putting its first two runners on base against reliever Hansel Robles, as Jhonatan Solano singled and Tito Polo was hit by a pitch. Donovan Solano hit a ground ball which allowed pinch-runner Oscar Mercado to advance to third base, though Polo was forced out at second. Solano reached safely as well. The next batter, Reynaldo Rodriguez, lined a 1-2 fastball to Bautista in left field. Bautista fired home to catcher Welington Castillo, who scooped up the two-hop throw and applied the tag to Mercado for the final out of the inning.

Team Colombia was understandably upset about the results, but video shows home plate umpire Tripp Gibson made the right call. He ejected Polo and Rodriguez, who argued the call. Gibson had what many reasonable people would describe as a quick hook, given the weight of the moment.

The D.R. would go on to win 10-3 in 11 innings. The team went undefeated in all three games and now has moved on to Pool F in the next round.

Rob Manfred talks about playing regular season games in Mexico

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The new Collective Bargaining Agreement commits the players and the league to regular season games on foreign soil. Most of the focus of this has been on games in London, for which there has been a lot of activity and discussion.

Yesterday before the Astros-Tigers game in Houston, however, Commissioner Rob Manfred talked about playing games in Mexico. And not as just a one-off, but as a foot-in-the-water towards possible expansion:

Commissioner Rob Manfred said Tuesday that the time had come to play regular-season games in Mexico City as Major League Baseball weighs international expansion.

“We think it’s time to move past exhibition games and play real live ‘they-count’ games in Mexico,” Manfred said. “That is the kind of experiment that puts you in better position to make a judgement as to whether you have a market that could sustain an 81-game season and a Major League team.”

A team in Mexico could make some geographic sense and some marketing sense, though it’s not clear if there is a city that would be appropriate for that right now. Mexico City is huge but it has plenty of its own sports teams and is far away from the parts of the country where baseball is popular (mostly the border states and areas along the Pacific coast). At 7,382 feet, its elevation would make games at Coors Field look like the Deadball Era.

Monterrey has been talked about — games have been played there and it’s certainly closer — but it’s somewhat unknown territory demographically speaking. It’s not as big as Mexico City, obviously. Income stratification is greater there and most of the rest of Mexico than it is in the United States too, making projections of how much discretionary income people may spend on an expensive entertainment product like Major League Baseball uncertain. Especially when they have other sports they’ve been following for decades.

Interesting, though. It’s something Manfred has talked about many times over the years, so unlike so many other things he says he’s “considering” or “hasn’t ruled out,” Major League Baseball in Mexico is something worth keeping our eyes on.

 

Joc Pederson and Yasiel Puig had a brutal collision in right center field

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The score was tied in the top of the 10th inning in last night’s game between the Dodgers and the Cardinals. Yadier Molina was up to bat, facing Kenley Jansen and drove one to deep right center field.

Yasiel Puig was in full run for the ball as center fielder Joc Pederson ranged hard for it himself. Puig caught the ball, but not before slamming into Pederson. Both men went down, but Pederson went down harder, taking an elbow to the face from Puig before crashing head-first into the outfield wall.

Watch:

 

Pederson came out of the game, apparently bleeding from his head. There will be an update on his condition today.

UPDATE: Oops, there was an update last night: