THE TOURNAMENT

19 Jul

53 days.

I trained in Central Park with the high-school crew today.  It was hot.  103 degrees.

I went back to the DMV too.  In this blog post, I will eruditely encapsalate all that is the World Baseball Classic for you using only words and images.  But first, the DMV.

I was shaking when I walked in.  I had all my documents.  But the DMV is cryptonite to King of All Jewish Baseball.

Step 1 was turn in application to window 39.  There was a short line.  Without anyone looking or speaking directly to me, I was handed a test.  This was it, THE WRITTEN TEST.  I was not expecting this at all!  I’m not sure what I thought would happen.  I had never gotten this far into the process.  The magic of the DMV is their ability to suspend all things in a paralytic state of confusion like the moment after a poisonous saber toothed jellyfish strikes its prey.  When I am at the DMV, I’m terrified I will miss my turn, and simultaneously have no idea what it is I am supposed to do when my turn finally comes.  I pulled myself together for the test.  Looking around, my reading comprehension level was definitely higher than the 15 year-old kid next to me who couldn’t figure out to fit both the test and his bag of McDonalds on the desk, the woman in the burqa whose native language was not English I may have wrongly assumed, and the short bearded man whose wife was cheering him on from on the other side of the glass, all which made me feel better.  I read my answers over a second time looking for stupid mistakes before I handed in my test – can you imagine? – the King of All Jewish Baseball failing his written test.

Passed.  Boom.  Well on my way to  a learners permit.

Step two.  Take a number, your documents, and the stamped test to the room next door and wait for your number to be called. I can do that.  It’s 100 degrees outside.  At least it’s cool in the DMV.   I had F920. I slowly figured out their clandestine system.  Three windows were responsible for learners permits.  They were on 865, 55 people ahead of me, but it’s alright, numbers are moving fast, and I’m getting a license! An hour passed.  Eventually my number came up, I got my photo taken, and was handed all of my documents plus test plus new documents in a neatly paper clipped packet.

Step three.  After your photo, take a new number, your documents with your stamped test and new stamped documents, and report back to a new window when your new number is called.  45 minutes.  But this was it.  The last window.  Where you pick up your new learners permit.  I handed over my packet.  I took, and passed, the eye test – the written test, the photo, the eye test – all staples of license getting.  I was set! I waited for the ID to print out of the machine.

Step 4.  Receive the crushing blow.  The lady at the booth looked up and said, “We have a suspension on you.  Unpaid ticket from 2004.  You’ll have to go to the traffic violations office, but they’re closed, and we’re closed, so even if you went over there you couldn’t get back in here.  And we can’t keep the test.  You’ll have to start all over once you pay the fine,” and she dropped my test in the garbage next to her desk.  Nooooooooooooooooooooo.  The seat belt!  2004.  I wasn’t even driving.  I was in the front seat and got a seatbelt fine and never paid it. Her words momentarily liquified my bones with emotion and I nearly lost consciousness.  I was able to work up the strength to ask, “Could I have been told this four hours ago when I started the process?”  She looked at me and said, very simply, “No.  There is no way.”  Crushed again.  For now.  I will return tomorrow and I will triumph.

But this blog post is not really about the DMV.  Its about the tournament! – The World Baseball Classic.

The World Baseball Classic ain’t no joke.  There have been two WBCs, 2006, and 2009.  Japan has won both beating Cuba and Korea in the finals respectively.  The Olympics stopped including baseball and softball in 2008, so the WBC is now the undisputed champion of international baseball tournaments.  It is the World Cup for baseball.  There used to be something literally called the World Cup of Baseball where the winners of the Euro Championships, and the North American Champioships, and the Asian Championships, and so on, would meet and play.  But the WBC is now the only sanctioned elite world tournament.

The same 16 teams have competed in the first two WBCs.  But this time, WBCI, the committee responsible for organizing the tournament, invited 12 new countries to try and qualify.  Enter Team Israel, and a bunch of other fringe baseball countries trying their best to put together a competitive team.  The bottom 4 countries from ’09 are joining the 12 new countries making a field of 16 playing to qualify for those final 4 spots in the tournament.  16 team, 4 groups of 4, winner of each group qualifies.  These are the groups and where and they’ll be playing.

Group 1

Regensburg, Germany

  • CANADA
  • CZECH REPUBLIC
  • GERMANY
  • GREAT BRITAIN

Group 2
Jupiter, Florida, USA

  • FRANCE
  • ISRAEL
  • SOUTH AFRICA
  • SPAIN

Group 3
Taipei, Taiwan

  • CHINESE TAIPEI
  • NEW ZEALAND
  • PHILIPPINES
  • THAILAND

Group 4
Panama City, Panama

  • BRAZIL
  • COLOMBIA
  • NICARAGUA
  • PANAMA

So the four host locations are, from east to west, Tawain, Germany, Florida, and Panama.  Once the qualifiers are done and the winners are named, the actual Classic will take place in March of 2013 at which point Major League players can join their countries.

The countries you would expect to be the best because of their players, the United States and the Dominican Republic, have not medaled (the US finished 4th in ’09), which says a lot about what it takes to win in international play.  Mainly, from what I can gather, you need pitching which is no mystery.  Daisuke Matsuzaka from the Red Sox has won the WBC MVP twice, earning 3 wins in each tournament including pitching and winning the final game both times.

I am not sure which is more difficult, getting a license, or winning the World Baseball Classic.  I would say they’re equally monumental accomplishments.  And I, King of Jewish Baseball, am, to my knowledge, proudly, the first man to ever attempt both at the same time.  It will not be easy.  I will need your help.  I will have to face Daisuke, and the dragon at the DMV.  But together, we will earn international baseball supremacy, and our learners permit.

team japan celebrates after winning their drivers license, I mean, the World Baseball Classic.

I have four games in the next four days – Thursday, Friday, Saturday with the T-Dogs, Sunday with the A’s.  Time to crank it up, again.  Will let you know what happens.  Now, I must rest, big day at the DMV tomorrow.

2 Responses to “THE TOURNAMENT”

  1. LG July 20, 2012 at 10:46 am #

    How many of the guys currently on the roster/on the 2011 roster will be taken to Florida? Aside from Green, Kapler, and the bubble guys like Satin, how many pro guys/jew-americans will take spots for the qualifier?

    • kingofjewishbaseball August 9, 2012 at 6:03 pm #

      LG, sorry for late/no reply. Still trying to figure out how this computer thing works. Not sure. I believe the team will be primarily Americans. Should know shortly and will make sure to announce on the blog. Thank u for reading! -Nate Fish aka KOJB

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