Team USA in awe watching WBC coach Ken Griffey Jr's home run

MIAMI — Practice was over, the day was done Friday, however the gamers on Team U.S.A. right away collected around the batting cage, attempting to see the best program of  this World Baseball Classic.

It was U.S.A. coaches Ken Griffey Jr. and Brian McCann playing spontaneous crowning achievement derby.

“We understood something was up when we saw Griffey bringing his own bat on the group bus,’’ Los Angeles Angels All-Star Mike Trout stated. “We were hoping. We were pleading. And then he did it.’’

Griffey, loaning Trout’s batting gloves, played a single round of home-run derby, and on the last swing, his 10th, struck into the right-field seats at loanDepot Park.

The gamers went nuts, shouting and high-fiving Griffey as the Hall of Famer burglarized his hallmark smile.

It was an adventure of a life time, the gamers stated, with numerous seeing Griffey swing for the very first time face to face.

“It was ill,’’ Trout informed U.S.A. TODAY Sports. “Nothing like it.’’

Players have actually been pleading Griffey to take a round of batting practice all competition, and it wasn’t till Friday that he lastly yielded.

“Guys were putting a great deal of pressure on him,’’ Trout stated. “We wished to see it so bad. He stated, “Give me 10 swings, and I understand I can strike one out.”

“You still got it!” someone yelled as Griffey headed to the clubhouse.

“I don’t know what I got,’’ Griffey said, laughing. “But I got something. I require 3 weeks off now.’’

Ken Griffey Jr. won the 1998 Home Run Derby at Coors Field.

In defense of the WBC

Players taking part in the WBC are dissatisfied by the criticism of the competition because of Mets more detailed Edwin Diaz’s injury, with U.S.A. starter Lance Lynn ending up being newest on Friday to speak up.

If folks are going to blame the WBC for Diaz’s injury, they state, then why not blame spring training for Dodgers shortstop Gavin Lux’s season-ending injury, and shut that down, too.

“Edwin’s an incredible gamer and it’s a huge loss for the Mets,’’ Lynn stated, “however when you take a look at what this is everything about and all that, I do not believe he would inform you that he is sorry for belonging of this. We like to contend, we like to contend for our nations, individuals that we appreciate and things like that.

“You never ever wish to get injured. People get injured in spring training video games every day today, and nobody states we should not have spring training. So that’s the regrettable part of the video game, individuals will get injured, however the appeal of the video game is to see the fans, see the enthusiasm that gamers have this time of year, specifically in these occasions. That’s why you play the video game.

“So, informing people not to play the video game they enjoy for the nation they enjoy is difficult since you can get injured strolling down the street, to be truthful. It’s regrettable, however I believe that you see the larger photo of this, individuals betting their nations and having a good time.’’

Edin Diaz after suffering a knee injury celebrating Puerto Rico's win on Wednesday.

Edin Diaz after suffering a knee injury commemorating Puerto Rico’s win on Wednesday.

Scheduling debate

Other groups are disappointed that FOX determined that it desired Team U.S.A. to use Saturday night rather of Friday, moving its video game versus Venezuela to Saturday while Puerto Rico and Mexico play Friday night.

Mexico, by winning the WBC Pool C over U.S.A., need to have had the additional off-day rather of the Americans.

The additional day likewise enabled U.S.A. supervisor Mark DeRosa to choose Lance Lynn to pitch on routine rest, bypassing Adam Wainwright or Nick Martinez. Lynn, who was fantastic in 5 innings versus Canada on Monday, likewise has no pitch limitations by the Chicago White Sox. He has the ability to toss 80 pitches, the optimum allowed by all WBC pitchers in the 2nd round.

The WBC is popular!

There were a record 1,010,999 fans who participated in the preliminary of the WBC, almost doubling the previous record of 510,056 in 2017, balancing 25,275 per video game. The video games in Japan balanced a record 36,198 fans a video game.

The television watching audience in Japan likewise set records, balancing a Super Bowl-sized 42.3 television score, while the score in Puerto Rico was 62% in their triumph versus the Dominican Republic to advance to the quarterfinals.

Venezuela fans during a game against Nicaragua in Miami.

Venezuela fans throughout a video game versus Nicaragua in Miami.

Let’s get loud

There are more than 100,000 Venezuelans who reside in the Miami location, and they will definitely have actually a chosen home-field benefit versus Team U.S.A. in an environment much of the U.S. gamers have actually never ever experienced.

“It’s going to be insane,’’ DeRosa stated. “It’s going to resemble Caracas-Magallanes on steroids. So I’m fired up for it.’’

DeRosa, who played winter season ball in Venezuela likes the enthusiasm of the nation and will always remember his experience playing there in 1999.

“I bet Caracas,’’ DeRosa stated, “and invested 2 months there, and enjoyed every second of it. I can keep in mind the hotel and taking a trip to all those locations and I believed it assisted me exceptionally, not just prepare, however keep going and advancing towards the major leagues.

“I likewise comprehend the Latin American ballplayers’ journey over to the U.S. It opened my eyes to that. So, I was comprehending of them coming by and the battles that they handled at a young age since I understand I handled it there, sort of interaction, consuming. And those people looked after me, the Bobby Abreus of the world, truly took me under their wing, and Alex Gonzalez made me feel welcome there. So I appreciated.’’

Pitching limitations

WBC supervisors are limited with making use of their pitchers in the competition, attempting to follow the desires of their big league clubs, however it shouldn’t water down the appeal of the WBC, DeRosa stated.

“I believe definitely there are handcuffs on what you have the ability to do video game to video game,’’ DeRosa stated. “But that was the dedication we made to the gamers on the lineup, that was the dedication we made to the moms and dad clubs. So, yes, it’s a lot more tough.

“But I’m not going to jeopardize anybody’s career or [MLB executive] Tony Reagins’ relationships with these GMs, my relationships with the managers and coaches too. I just won’t do it. So it just takes a lot of thought and I have great coaches to lean on and we’ve kind of hammered it out. You almost got to lightly script what you’re going to do.’’

Finally some familiarity

Now that Team USA is out of Pool C, the Americans will be more prepared to face an opposing pitcher, with 11-year veteran Martin Perez set to start for Venezuela on Saturday.

“I do feel like with regards to Great Britain and with regards to Colombia,’’ DeRosa said, “there was some unknown facing the pitching. Just listening to the hitters trying to formulate a game plan and what’s this guy got and watching him warm up. I think that changes with a guy like Martin Perez on the mound. There’s a lot of guys that have seen him in the Big Leagues.

“And on the flip side, there’s probably a ton of guys in that Venezuela lineup that have seen Lance [Lynn]. So I do feel that familiarity breeds almost a little bit more relaxation within the team.”

Venezuela’s star power

Team U.S.A. will be dealing with a few of the most significant stars in the video game in Venezuela, consisting of Jose Altuve and Ronald Acuña Jr.

“A lots of regard for those people,’’ DeRosa stated. “Altuve’s among the most remarkable players I’ve ever seen in my life. Ronald, I’ve resided in Atlanta for the last 25 years, he is among the most significant super stars that has actually ever come through that company. He’s among my kids’ preferred gamers. [Luis] Arraez is a batting champ, it’s going to be his house ballpark this year. So a lots of regard for all those people there, truthfully.’’

Mike Trout hit .417 with a home run and six RBI in the first four games.

Mike Trout struck .417 with a crowning achievement and 6 RBI in the very first 4 video games.

Team U.S.A.’s MVPs

The 1-2 punch of Mookie Betts and Mike Trout has actually been a supervisor’s dream atop the U.S.A. lineup, leaving DeRosa in wonder.

“Mookie’s proficient at whatever,’’ DeRosa stated. “ I indicate, I view him take ground balls at shortstop I believe, I truthfully believe he might play practically anywhere on the diamond he wished to play and be among the very best at it.’’

And Trout?

“Mike will decrease as one of the best gamers of perpetuity,’’ DeRosa stated. “I do not understand what it is, however he’s simply various. Even because space, among those people, he sets himself apart. The ball comes off his bat simply various than everybody else.

“I didn’t understand he was as huge and as strong. There’s minutes throughout the course of the video game when he gets fired up where he offers you a handshake or sort of grabs you and it resembles, man, he’s rag dolling me around this dugout. So I’m simply blown away with the size, strength, speed, volatility. He’s got whatever.”

Mark DeRosa’s next gig?

DeRosa, who has twice interviewed for major-league job openings, has no idea whether this tournament will lead to a future managerial job.

“The experience has been unbelievable,’’ he said. “Being in the locker room with these guys and clubhouse with these guys has been one of the highlights of my life.

“The video game has actually begun to decrease. I was more worried in the exhibit video games than I believe I am now. Now that might alter [Saturday], however handling within the criteria of the pitching standards that we’re handling sort of, I do not wish to state makes it simpler, however you sort of have outs, right? You sort of need to follow a particular gently scripted strategy.

“As far as handling in the future, I actually did not take this as a type of a stepping stone to that. I sort of took this since I seemed like in my heart this was an ideal chance.

“So, I have no concept what the future holds.’’

This short article initially appeared on U.S.A. TODAY: WBC 2023: Team U.S.A. in wonder as Ken Griffey Jr. flaunt crowning achievement swing

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