Wednesday, March 8, 2006

Cuban Time

The WBC game between Cuba and Panama started about ten minutes late today. Apparently the Cubans were trying to employ some "gamesmanship" during the lineup card exchange process. Most of the teams in the WBC have been forthcoming with their lineups and pitching plans (Buck Martinez laid out Team USA's plan for game one against Mexico at least a week prior to the first pitch, for anyone who wanted to hear about it). The Cubans took a different angle on the whole thing.

After issuing not one, not two, but three lineups before the game, the Cubans spent ten minutes at the plate before turning their lineup card over. Based on what the radio announcers are saying, it sounds like the Cubans went with their original lineup. It's not clear at this point whether there was some sort of an issue (illness to a player, someone missed a meeting/workout, etc) or if this really was some sort of gamesmanship. If it's the latter, I'm not sure what it's supposed to accomplish. Normally the exchanging of lineup cards is a mere formality. Over the course of a major league season, managers often send their coaches, and sometimes even players, out to handle the duties. To make it into an issue is odd. I wonder what will come out of this. Maybe the Cubans had some issues with the ground rules at the stadium.

Edit: I think the Cubans really want to win today and/or they're panicked. There are two on and one out in the bottom of the first and they already have two relievers warming up in the pen. And yes, they do have their ace on the hill.

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