Sarah's Take: Classic fun, exciting and unifying

Sarah's Take: Classic fun, exciting and unifying

On a rainy Tuesday night in San Francisco, the team from the Dominican Republic became the first undefeated club to win the World Baseball Classic. This tiny Caribbean nation, where baseball has become its national sport, exuded exuberance and confidence throughout the tournament.

For the third time during the World Baseball Classic, the Dominican Republic was victorious against Puerto Rico. On Tuesday, the Dominicans used their superior pitching to shut out the underdog Puerto Ricans. Throughout the World Baseball Classic, the Puerto Ricans, who didn't have as many Major Leaguers as several other teams in the tournament, handled themselves with class and dignity. Even after this disappointing loss, the Puerto Ricans, led by All-Star catcher Yadier Molina of the St. Louis Cardinals, congratulated the Dominicans, displaying an incredible amount of good sportsmanship.

The miserable weather conditions would have cancelled, or at least produced a rain delay, during most Major League games, but the play wasn't affected that much. Although the Dominicans suffered two injuries, these injuries didn't halt their dominance. Hanley Ramirez jammed his thumb on a defensive play at third base and left the game. Miguel Tejada, the replacement for Ramirez, appeared to injure his ribs while making a diving catch of a pop fly. Even though Tejada appeared to be uncomfortable for the rest of the night, he remained in the game.

Throughout the tournament, the team from the Dominican Republic played as though it was on a mission. After being eliminated by the team from the Kingdom of the Netherlands in 2009, the Dominicans wanted to redeem themselves. Producing about 30 percent of the Major Leaguers in 2012, the Dominican Republic has a proud baseball tradition. More than 50,000 fans in the capital city of the Dominican Republic watched the championship game on a gigantic TV. The manager of the team predicted no TV was on anything else than the championship game.

This is different from the United States. Some American baseball fans followed the World Baseball Classic, at least until the team from the United States was eliminated from the tournament. However, many haven't paid attention to the excitement. They preferred to read about Spring Training. My local newspaper hasn't covered the World Baseball Classic at all, and this is a shame. One of the purposes of this highly exciting tournament is to introduce people to baseball. I loved seeing the enthusiastic fans from other countries rooting for their favorite teams.

Unlike the 162-game regular season, players and fans could express their emotions. Since the Major League season is so long, with many highs and lows, people who are involved in the sport must have an even keel so that they won't get emotionally exhausted before the season ends. However, the World Baseball Classic was only two weeks long, enabling the teams to play the game with much emotion. This was great for the spread of the sport around the globe.

In every game that both the Dominicans and the Puerto Ricans played in during the tournament, they expressed joy. When they had an important hit or made a terrific defensive play, each team would clap and do something to salute each other for a job well done.

Although I thought the Dominicans should have waited until the championship game was over before they began celebrating their victory, seeing most teams showing joyous emotions during the games was refreshing and reminded everyone that baseball is a game to be enjoyed.

Sometimes during the regular Major League season, people forget the fact that baseball is a game that should be fun, and not only a big-money business. The exuberance of all foreign teams that participated in the Classic helped every baseball player, broadcaster, writer, and fan remember that baseball can be a fun distraction from the ordinary stresses of life.

Watching the World Baseball Classic renewed my belief that baseball can unite a population and provide entertainment without anyone having to worry about how much a certain player makes. Many Major Leaguers turned down the opportunity to represent their country, opting to focus on getting ready for the season. They missed much excitement and the meaning of baseball. Hopefully, in 2017, more Major Leaguers will choose to participate in the Classic.

Sarah D. Morris can be reached at sarahmorris27@gmail.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.