World Baseball Classic: 2009

As he did in the inaugural World Baseball Classic in 2006, Ichiro again played for Team Japan in the second WBC, held in March 2009.

In the first round, played in the Tokyo Dome, Japan beat China and and split a pair of games with Korea. In the second round, played at San Diego’s Petco Park, Japan twice shut out Cuba (who they previously beat in the ’06 WBC final), and again split a pair of games with Korea. In the semifinals, at Dodger Stadium, Japan beat the U.S. 9-4, and in the final game, again at Chavez Ravine, Japan faced off against rival Korea once more.

The Korean hostility directed at Ichiro during the ’06 WBC only seemed to escalate in ’09. A Facebook group called I HATE ICHIRO was created, boasting well over 500 members. Similar hateful garbage was posted here, here, and here, and some even sold Dr. Bong “Assassination of Ichiro” T-shirts. Topping it off is this “Ichiro is LOSER” video, in which his head gets chopped in half…

Yeesh. Of course I don’t condone any of this nasty stuff, but the all-things-Ichiro nature of this blog necessitates its inclusion. Moving on…

Ichiro batted a measly .167 in the WBC before breaking out against Korea in the final. He went 4-for-6 ,with a key extra-inning hit that secured Japan’s second WBC title. In the top of the tenth, with two out and the game tied at three, Ichiro’s tense, eight-pitch at-bat resulted in a two-run single that put Japan ahead for good. The historic hit…

The final score was 5-3, and Daisuke Matsuzaka was again named the WBC MVP. Ichiro hoists the trophy…

…displays his medal…

…and celebrates in the clubhouse…

Unfortunately, the stress of defending Japan’s WBC title resulted in suffering “severe fatigue caused by a bleeding ulcer.” The Mariners placed him on the DL for the first time in his Major League career, and he missed the first nine games of the ’09 season.

Hopefully he’ll be more relaxed for the third World Baseball Classic, scheduled for March 2013. Ichiro will be 39.

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2 responses to “World Baseball Classic: 2009

  1. Pingback: Ichiro Hot Stove Report | Super Ichiro Crazy!

  2. Pingback: When Ichiro & Team Japan Won the WBC | Super Ichiro Crazy!

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