Various reactions to the scenes at yesterday’s Dominican Republic/Venezuela WBC clash ;
(photograph by Eric Bradford)
Where’s Mort Stein when you need him?
There’s no way he would have stood for what went on at Disney’s Wide World of Sports on Tuesday afternoon.
Fans jumping on top of dugouts, dancing, hugging and waving flags. During the game, for crying out loud.
Stein, one of the great people who make it such a pleasure to go to the ballpark every day, has long been the security guard in the Phillies’ dugout. We can only imagine what he and his fellow blue shirts at Citizens Bank Park would have done if a few dozen fans had turned the top of the Phillies’ dugout into a conga line.
But this most assuredly wasn’t South Philadelphia.
It was more like Latin America.
And it was pretty spectacular to see.
“For us, it’s big. Because it’s like the World Cup. It’s like a Super Bowl,” Dominican pitcher Odalis Perez said. “It’s crazy.”
The nonstop beat began early, when fans starting showing up at 9 a.m. The chanting, singing, swaying and shaking in the stands, all sights and sounds so strange during spring training.
So were a lot of things.
In the land of Mickey, Miggy Tejada bunted for a hit. Santana stared down the plate umpire. Ortiz lumbered first-to-third on a single and slid in safely. Carlos Zambrano fired a 99 mph fastball.
“Today, I think we showed what Latin baseball is all about,” Santana said. “That’s what we do.”
Oh, and this: Umps huddled to handle a disputed call, as if it was October.
Suffice to say it was a bit more sedate when Australia played Italy on the same field a few hours later.
Though I wasn’t on hand in Orlando, I did witness the following; a suburban cable TV installer whose name I’ll not reveal, activated ESPN on a client’s set so he could watch the game while installing broadband. This was one of the few basic cable subscribers on earth whose television set has never featured ESPN before, nor is likely to since.
Installation of said residential broadband account was a job that magically began around the time of the first pitch, and just happened to end with Venezuela’s final at bat of the afternoon.