Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Spring Forward Sports Chowdah Update- Bruins Veto Senators in Shootout; Hockey Game Breaks Out, USA Advances at WBC;

WORLD BASEBALL CLASSIC- After a fairly unremarkable start, Pool D in the 2013 World Baseball Classic was the one everybody was talking about thanks to a game winning grand slam and an honest-to-goodness bench clearing brawl.

After having alrady lost their opening game to Mexico, team USA found themselves deadlocked 2-2 with a game Italy in the top of the second inning of game 2 in pool play in Phoenix on Saturday night. With the bases loaded, two out and David Wright in the batter's box with a 1-2 count, this happened-

Wright's grand slam would turn out to be the game-winner as Team USA got by Italy for a 6-2 final for their first win of the tournament.

But what had everybody talking was what happened between Team Canada and Mexico earlier on Saturday. With Canada already up 9-3, catcher Chris Robinson decided to bunt for a base hit in the 9th inning. Taking umbrage to the percieved breach of baseball ettiquite, infliedler Luis Cruz told pitcher Arnold Leon to hit the next batter.

After throwing two piches at Canada outfielder Rene Tosoni, Leon finally managed to hit him. Instead of taking his base, Tosoni charged the mound which led to this-

Yes- players from the country that apparently worships at the altar of soccer decided to pick a fight with players from a nation that has produced countless hockey players and- more recently- a good number of mixed martial arts fighters. Unlike most baseball brawls, there was actually some punching and tackling taking place. Red Sox reliver Alfredo Aceves was seen exchanging blows with Canada outfilder Tyson Gillies before being wrestled to the ground.

The fight spilled over into the stands as well, with Mexican fans throwing full water bottles at Team Canada's dugout- one of them hitting pitching coach Denis Boucher in the face before infielder Cale Iorg angrily threw the water bottle back into the crowd. A number of fights broke out in the highly partisan and pro-Mexico crowd of 19,581 and police came on to the field to restore order as announcements were made in English and Spanish that anybody caught throwing items on the field would be ejected.

A total of seven players- Mexico's Arnold Leon, Oliver Perez, Eduardo Arredondo, Andrew Albers and Alfredo Aceves and Canada's Pete Orr, Rene Tosoni and Jay Johnson- were ejected, although WBC officials said they were unlikely to face any additional discipline aside from the ejection. As for the percieved slight against Mexico that sparked the entire brawl, Canada wasn't simply trying to be sore winnera when they ran up the score. Since total points can factor in a a tiebreaker in the World Baseball classic and Canada had already given up 14 runs in their loss to Italy in the first game of the WBC. The win and the run differential were needed to give them a puncher's chance [no pun intended- NANESB!] of advancing out of the first round.

However, on Sunday, Canada faced a Team USA with some momentum on their side. It was win or go home for both the USA and Canada and our neighbors to the north had an early 2-0 lead when Canada outfielder Michael Suanders belted a 2 run homer into the right field seats off of USA starter Derek Holland. Team USA pulled even thanks to some a leadoff walk and some small ball starting off with a bunt by outfielder ben Zobrist that led to a throwing error from Canada 3B Taylor Green with two on- a sac fly off the bat of outfielder Adam Jones tied the contest up at 2-2.

With runners on the corners and two out for Team Canada in the bottom of the 6th, outfilder Adam Loewen drove in a run giving Team Canada the lead back. But in the top of the 8th, Jones drove in a pair of runs to make it 4-3, giving the USA their first lead of the game. Red Sox outfielder Shane Victorino would add to that total and make it a 5-3 lead after bringing Jones home with an RBI single. In the bottom of the 8th and with the bases loaded for Team Canada and only one out, Adam Loewen brought a runner home with his groundout to first to make it a 1-run game, but Tim Smith grounded out to Brandon Phillips to end the Canadian rally.

After a leadoff double from the USA's Brandon Philips and an RBI single Jonathan LuCroy, The Royals' Eric Hosmer put the game out of reach for Team USA with a 2 out bases clearing double with two away in the top of the 9th inning

Team USA goes on to win by a final of 9-4, eliminating Canada from the tournament and moving on to the second round of the tournament at Miami where they will take on Puerto Rico on Tuesday night. The first pitch is scheduled for 8:00 ET and the game will be televised on the MLB network.

GRAPEFRUIT LEAGUE- Boston's Clay Buchholz looks like he can't wait for the regular season to begin as he's now 2-0 in Spring Training. Buchholz pitched four shutout innings allowing three hits and a strikeout while Mike Napoli went 2-3 with an RBI in Boston's 5-3 win over Toronto at Dunedin, FL on Tuesday. Currently the Red Sox have a 9-9 record in Spring training.

The Red Sox will have Wednesday off and return to Fort Myers (but not to Fenway South) to take on the Minnesota Twins on Thursday at 1:05 ET.

Canadian Press, Fred Chartrand
NHL- After an impressive 3-0 home win against the Philadelphia Flyers- the first meeting between the two teams this shortened season- the Bruins hit the road once again, starting off with a Monday night contest against Ottawa from Canada's capital- one of only two games in the NHL on Monday.

The Bruins fell into an early 2-0 hole after allowing goals from Guillaume Latendresse and Kyle Turris in the first, but managed to get on the board thanks to a Shawn Thornton tally in the closing minutes of the first. Boston then managed to tie the game at the 8:53 mark of the second perior thanks to a Danny Paille tally, but after a scoreless 3rd period, both teams garnered a point as they headed for OT. However, nothing was decided in the OT [Rask turned aside 12 shots in the 3rd and overtime- NANESB!] so the game went to a shootout. Even though it was unsuccessful, Kaspars Daugavins was likely the most memorable attempt from the shootout.

However, Dravid Krejci would score on his next attempt and the Bruins would go on to win by a 3-2 final in the shootout and get to within one point of Montreal.

However, there will be no rest for the black and gold as they travel from Ottawa to Pittsburgh to take on the Penguins for the first time this season on Tuesday night. The game will be televised on the NBC Sports network (formerly Versus) and this clash of Eastern Conference titans will get underway at 7:30 ET/

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