of cats and bats and foreign tournaments

It’s that terrible time of year again, after football has ended and everyone has left Detroit vaguely more comfortable with it than they were before but before spring training (and, this year, the World Baseball Classic) begins. It is a dark time, characterized by much speculative number crunching (Nook Logan will slug a billion because he’s A BALLAH!!1!!eleventy-one) and last minute relaxation on the part of the players, who will soon be entering the stressful confines of their Floridian fields.

There was, however, a Tiger playing in this time. The Caribbean World Series is a 6-game round robin tournament, with Puerto Rico, Mexico, Venezuela, and the Dominican Republic playing for bragging rights. It’s been a bit dicey getting info on the games, as I think the only place they were broadcast in English was on the YES Network (which, obviously, I do not get), and there doesn’t appear to be a central website for the tourney or anything like that (most of what I got, I got from reading Baseball America and Rotoworld).

Apparently it was a crazy tournament last year, with the DR having to miss their first game due to transportational difficulties and getting just barely beat out in the end by Mexico, who hadn’t won since ’02 (the DR had taken 6 of the last 8, which anyone who watches the MLB probably could have guessed).

But yes, it is a fact that our very own shiny little Farnsworth baby, Roman Colon, was pitching for the DR during this event. I’m pretty sure he was used as a reliever, and may not have performed in a particularly stellar fashion (I know he pitched in the 11-9 loss the DR suffered at the hands of Venezuela, although I don’t think he was charged with any runs), but he was out there, and he was playing.

Given the always mysterious ‘shoulder stiffness’ that plagued RColon (not to be confused with BColon, or with the intestinal accoutrement) at the end of last season, I have to say that I was surprised to see him pitching again so soon, in an environment of what is presumably a relatively high level of intensity.

If he was able to do so without pain, though, this is a good sign and makes him a much more intriguing possibility as a 5th starter out of spring training than I had previously thought (yeah, yeah, pencil me in for the Verlander/Zoomer wagon).

With the Caribbean World Series over soon enough (I originally had this written as ‘the CWS over’, which is a very pleasing phrase to view, but alas, edited for clarity), we can look to ST and to the World Baseball Classic, which will almost certainly feature some Tigs. Pudge and Magglio are locks I should think, and there a bunch of other guys who could glom onto a team in a utility role.

I didn’t think Bondo had much of a chance of pitching for team USA when his name first made it onto the roster, but people have been dropping this tourney like it’s a prescription bottle with Palmeiro’s name on it (lookin’ at you, Huddy). It would be kind of crazy to see our big ol’ lovable hunk of driftwood representing the States to the (baseball) world, but who knows. I’m not sure it’s such a great idea just because I have no idea what the status of his twingey arm is right now, but in a vaccuum world it sure would be sweet.


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