[LETTERS to the editor]A classic, and classy, tournament

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[LETTERS to the editor]A classic, and classy, tournament

John Rogers’s letter to the editor (“America, passsionless losers,” March 22) makes a mountain out of a pitcher’s mound. Here in San Diego, although Team America had long since been eliminated, the games on Saturday and the Monday game were sold out.
I attended the penultimate game between Team Korea and Team Japan. Americans and other fans for Team Korea ― some with the Taegukgi stenciled on both cheeks ― were most enthusiastic, at least until the seventh inning, when the Korean pitchers gave up five runs. Still, one of the fan’s signs, whose sign was picked up on all the in-house monitors, said: “United States welcomes Korea.”
Three of the 12 players on the World Baseball Classic All-Tournament team were Koreans: Lee Seung-yeop, Lee Jong-beom and Park Chan-ho.
I grew up in San Diego after World War II ― or, as the Japanese prefer to call it, the Pacific War. San Diego is one of the largest U.S. Navy bases. When I played Little League Baseball, I never imagined I’d one day hear the Japanese anthem at the ball park.
Cuba’s Yadel Marti, Gourriel and Garlobo also made the all-tournament team. I took photographs of them signing autographs at the fence. Many fans had tears in their eyes. Maybe Marti, Gourriel and Garlobo had tears in their eyes, too: Cuba will not receive any money, part of the deal to get permission from the Bush administration for the Cubans to play in the United States.
Rogers invokes Ty Cobb, Cy Young, Jackie Robinson, Ted Williams (who played for Hoover High School here in San Diego), Joe DiMaggio, Wade Boggs and Cal Ripken Jr. Neither Ken Griffey Jr. nor Derek Jeter did anything to embarass Team America. Besides losing.


by Richard Thompson

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