Sunday, March 15, 2009

Hey, Derek Jeter - You Can't Gloss Over the U.S.'s 11-1 loss to Puerto Rico

I understand players trying to downplay the U.S.'s 11-1 mercy-rule loss to Puerto Rico yesterday. 11-1 in a tournament like this is pretty tough, and unlike the regular season, you can't just say, "oh well - there are 162 games."

That said, Derek Jeter is either fooling nobody himself, or he just straight-up doesn't understand the WBC, when he said after the loss that "2-1 or 11-1, we're still in the same position." Not this time. See, Derek, in the WBC, like in the World Cup upon which the WBC is modeled, tiebreakers are determined by run differentials. If Venezuela, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. all finish 2-1 (with Netherlands going 0-3 - and this is if), but Venezuela and Puerto Rico beat their opponents by a greater run differential (which seems more than possible, given that Puerto Rico already has a 10-spot to work with), then the U.S. goes home. So no, 11-1 is not the same as 2-1; the margin of loss yesterday could end up determining the outcome of the second round for the U.S. and its bracket-mates.

So nice try on the effort to gloss over the total beatdown you got yesterday (by a U.S. "territory," which, per my "colonized/colonizers" sports rule, has a certain gleeful irony about it, even if my "home" team lost), but it falls short of glossing anything over. And if you really think that it's the same as losing 2-1, well....

...UPDATE: OK, so apparently, as elm points out here, I somehow missed the fact that it's not round robin this time around, but double-elimination, and I can't find anything that says anything about tiebreakers for this year (though they were in place in 2006, but that was round-robin).

That said, an 11-1 mercy rule loss is still not a 2-1 9-inning loss, and if Jeter thinks that the morale effect of 11-1 is the same as 2-1 in a double-elimination system where you are one loss away from elimination, well....he's either really good at fooling himself, or just fooling nobody. And tiebreakers or not - Derek Jeter is stupid for even trying to convince anybody of this.