We did it, everyone.
We finally broke the hex on Team USA ever since 2006 and dominated a previously unexplored platform for American sports: the World Baseball Classic. While Phillies dotted rosters across the tournament, our homeland’s representing squad featured only one of our guys: Pat Neshek, a veteran reliever acquired this past November in exchange for a player to be named later with the Astros. The move was intended to give the bullpen some more experience and to generally try to "make things better" in one of the Phillies’ many areas of weakness in 2016.
But enough about that! [Shoves table full of Phillies memorabilia to the floor]
America is finally back on top, winning an international baseball tournament for the first time in history, and defeating the mighty Dominican Republic, the unstoppable Japan, and the equally unstoppable Puerto Rico along the way. Also defeated were the concepts of "fun" and "having an exciting time while playing the sport of baseball," according to Team USA’s Ian Kinsler.
Kinsler’s idiotic comments that pretty much are one hundred percent against the points the WBC sets out to make aside, the whole affair was riddled with tension and enthusiasm.
That was on display in an appearance of none other than Neshek, who made the Phillies proud, despite not technically throwing a regular season inning for them yet, in his fifth inning escape with two runners on against the Dominican Republic.
Not to mention the eighth inning he held together against Japan, inducing a fly out while protecting a one-run lead with two runners on. Neshek finished the tournament having made four appearances in four games, allowing three hits, no walks, and no runs with three strikeouts. Not bad for a 36-year-old side-armer with ten seasons of Major League Baseball chewing through his arm.
Neshek capped out the WBC by bring an idol out of the American clubhouse, around which he and his teammates danced and danced.
CAN WE PLEASE TAKE A SECOND TO TALK ABOUT THE GIANT VICTORY EAGLE THAT PAT NESHEK RAN OUT ONTO THE FIELD WITH pic.twitter.com/vCjCE2bpkO— RT Ohio (@RT_Ohio) March 23, 2017
Is this the start of a new Philadelphia tradition? Who knows what idol Neshek shall hoist after securing the Phillies wins in the season to come! Who knows which god’s wrath we shall incur! Who knows how wrong statements inferring Neshek and the Phillies will find some success this season will look in retrospect in the coming months!
In any case, being able to return to a new team with "world champion" on your resume in fresh ink is probably a good feeling. Way to go, Pat Neshek. Way to pitch well on the global stage, help walk new ground for the WBC, and not have so much fun that Ian Kinsler runs away and cries.