When Team USA proceeded to win the game, 4-3, on Alex Rodriguez’s bases-loaded single with two out in the ninth inning, it guaranteed further scrutiny of the questionable call — and of the WBC organizers’ decision to use minor-league umpires for this event. The WBC and the World Umpires Association, the union for big-league umps, couldn’t come to an agreement on pay.
“It’s just unimaginable that this could have happened, or this did happen, in the U.S., where baseball is very famous and popular,” Team Japan manager Sadaharu Oh (above, left) said after the game. “And it’s a pity that it was overruled.”
The other umpires motioned to the Japanese team to take the field, but the players refused until Oh ordered them to do so.
“We couldn’t disregard what the manager was saying, and we weren’t persuaded with the outcome,” said Ichiro Suzuki, who homered in the first. “That’s why we didn’t [take the field].”
They definitely didn’t feel like taking this loss. “I really wanted to win this game,” Oh said, “and I’m a bit vexed.”