The World Baseball Classic will come to a close this evening (6 pm PT/ 9 pm ET), as USA faces Puerto Rico in the one-game final at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.
Taking to the mound for Team USA will be a player familiar to Blue Jays fans, as Marcus Stroman gets the pressure-packed start. The matchup is an interesting one, notably because Stroman once stated that he would like to pitch for Puerto Rico, the country that his mother is from.
— Marcus Stroman (@MStrooo6) September 13, 2013
The American-born right-hander eventually chose USA, which has resulted in some backlash towards Stroman and his mom.
Sad & embarrassed 2 see the vulgar comments towards my son and I over a game from "fans"of PR. Thank you to the classy ones who reached out.
— BehindGrnEyes (@aya11763) March 19, 2017
Stuff like this is never a nice reflection on a fanbase, but if you’re familiar with how the internet works at all, you can’t be surprised by this.
Remarkably, this is the first appearance for USA in the final of the World Baseball Classic, after failing to make the semi-final in each of the other three editions of the tournament. Puerto Rico were runners-up at the last WBC, losing to the Dominican Republic in the final four years ago in San Francisco.
Puerto Rico has bulldozed their way through the tournament so far, winning all seven of their games, including a 6-5 victory over USA five days ago. The Puerto Ricans advanced to the final after an 11-inning victory over the Netherlands on Monday.
The Americans have had a much less impressive march to the final. They’ve lost two of their seven games, and needed extra innings to defeat Colombia in their opener.
But a 2-1 victory in the semis over two-time champion Japan on Tuesday sent USA to their first-ever final.
For the success of this tournament, finally having the Americans in the final is of the utmost importance. The WBC still battles for attention, failing to fully capture the attention of the American audience.
But Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will this tournament. Perhaps a captivating final game involving Team USA could help boost it to bigger heights.