Basebrawl: Canada and Mexico Throw Down Because They Both Want to Win


by Kolby Solinsky

Editor, White Cover Magazine


I’m not sure why all sports writers and their higher-paid subjects wish they were doctors, but every one of them was trying to diagnose yesterday’s Canada v. Mexico brawl — although only a few people cared to comment on Sergio Romo’s ridiculous stare down. He looked like Jimmy Stewart dreaming in Vertigo. For whatever reason, Team Mexico’s professionals went from speaking like Mario Lopez during the season to speaking like the extras from Training Day as soon as yesterday’s fight started. And, conversely, the Canadians went from sound like run-of-the-mill northeast Americans to Bob and Doug.

Whatever way you splice it — and with which whatever side you align — yesterday’s basebrawl was a simple bit of fun that added publicity to a tournament that badly needs it.

Should we really have to make excuses for it?

(*Luckily, no suspensions were handed out to either Mexico or Canada.)

“It was just simply a misunderstanding,” said Mexican manager (that means coach in baseball) Rick Renteria. He was referring to the World Baseball Classic’c tiebreaker, which is determined by run differential not one-on-one record. It was that rule that made it necessary for Canada to bunt and slide in the ninth inning and piss off Mexico, who retaliated by beaning Canadian batter Rene Tosoni and then initiating the bench-clearing brawl, although the Canadians, too, seemed more than game.

“In a normal setting, a normal professional setting I should say, a 9-3 bunt in that particular fashion would be kind of out of the ordinary,” continued Renteria.

I’m not buying it, Rick, although I understand the maternal instinct to stand up for your boys.

So, yeah, the rules are different from your normal league… but, so what?

Isn’t that the point of the game? Shouldn’t you change your style, or at least accept them while it’s happening to you?

Canada was up 9-3 in the ninth inning when they bunted on and then punted Mexico. They ended up winning 10-3.

The Canadians were desperate for a win, having opened the tournament with a 14-4 shellacking at the hands of Italy. Mexico came into the game at 1-1. They had to beat Mexico. They had to beat them good. So, they did.

And, it’s a sport… if you don’t wanna’ lose by 10 runs, then don’t lose by 10 runs.

Did the Canadians complain when Italy ran the score up to 14-4 the night before?

No, of course not.

The Canucks were actually mercied in that game, because Italy was beating them by 10 runs. Being mercied (i.e. having the game called early because you’re getting your a*s kicked) is the most embarrassing thing in sports.

They didn’t start ruining Italy’s Godfather marathon and they didn’t start flipping tables at their post-win pasta party aor stealing their Sambuca (assuming that’s how Italy celebrates?).

Mexico got a little childish, and the Canadians did, too. (*It should also be noted that Canadian pitcher Jay Johnson was the dirtiest brawler in the entire affair.)

But, still, everyone was trying to blame the tiebreaker. They all wanted to pin it on something, just like they wanted to pin the Iraq War on democracy and the Iraq War on Osama and the Iraq War on oil and hockey injuries on fighting. (Never thought I could pull off that comparison, did you?)

“I’m not the one to make the rules but I think everybody would agree, players and organizers, that something’s not working,” said Toronto slugger Jose Bautista. “They’ll sit down and figure it out and come up with a better way to set up the tournament. Whether that’s the timing, the length or whatever it is, they’ll figure something out.

“I’m not buying the fact that teams are bunting when they’re up by six because of the rules of the WBC.”