While Houston Astros and New York Mets fans might be upset that Jose Altuve and Edwin Diaz suffered significant injuries during the World Baseball Classic, any criticism of the tournament isn’t going over well with those involved in the biggest games.
Crowds have been electric for quarterfinal action in Miami — with plenty of the support coming for teams from Mexico, Venezuela and Puerto Rico.
Mexico manager Benji Gil, whose team will face Japan in the second semifinal on Monday in Miami, raved about the fans during a press conference on Sunday.
“It’s been awesome. I mean, when this event was proposed, it was to grow baseball globally, and I tell you what, I’ll go out and say it: Anybody that has a negative opinion about this event, they are absolutely crazy. They don’t know what the hell they’re talking about.
“I’ll give you an example. I describe it that people, when they clap, they just even though it’s just as loud, it’s just a different clap, right. Here, the noise, you hear it like you do everywhere else, but you feel it. You feel the noise.
“… I was trying to say, OK, well, how can you equate this. And I had a conversation with Andy Pettitte today and I said, the only thing I can kind of equate it is maybe Yankees-Red Sox. And he said, ‘Benji, I’ve been a part of a lot of games when both teams are really good. I’ve never been at any game, Boston Red Sox, that was as loud as last night’s game (between the United States and Venezuela). That’s coming from a Hall of Famer that’s played in some of the biggest games that we have seen in recent history.”
American infielder Trea Turner, who hit the go-ahead grand slam against Venezuela on Sunday, called it “probably the loudest game I’ve ever played in.”
“We faced the Astros in 2019 (when he was with the Washington Nationals) in the Dome, and that kind of, I feel like, heightens everything. So today was electric and just as good as those World Series games.”
American manager Mark DeRosa agreed.
The Americans face Cuba, who should also get plenty of support in Miami, in the first semifinal on Sunday at 7 p.m. ET / 4 p.m. PT. Watch the game on Sportsnet or SN NOW.