Tuesday, June 16, 2015

1989 World Baseball Cup

The 80s rounded out with a celebration of world baseball in Canada. The games would be the first event played in the new Skydome in Toronto, the Olympic Stadium in Montreal, and BC Place in Vancouver in a baseball configuration.

The Canadians got their automatic bid, which made things easy on them. The results were very similar to the last 12 team tournament in 1985. Italy was finally able to move past the Dutch to qualify for their first tournament. The Italians got approval to get Italian-American baseball players to fill their roster prior to qualifying. The European teams were granted the same waivers, and would lead to a growth in European baseball in the 1990s. Mexico and Taiwan would advance.

The Canadians had their best shot at advancing due to the home fans, and the freezing temperatures outside. They opened the Skydome with a 3-1 win over Mexico. The top 8 would advance to the next round, and group A all tied in those rankings. It had to go to a tie breaker to decide the Dominicans would win the group. Cuba killed Group B competition, scoring 29 runs in 3 games, and leading to a 1st overall seed. Overall, scoring was up in the beginning of the steroid era, and this was relevant because the Americans put up 28. In their group, only the US and Japanese advanced due to a gap in the skills of the teams. 

Italy surprised the world by leading the Cubans going into the 7th, but would go on to lose 9-8. The Canadians upset the Japanese in Montreal to go on and face the rival Americans. There was a lot of power in the Semi-Finals, as the Cubans and Americans went on to face each other in the finals. The bash-brothers faced off when McGwire and Canseco homered in the same inning. McGwire's was a Grand Slam, however, leading the Americans to their 5th title.

Similar looks for everyone. Italy introduced their racing stripes, and Japan dropped their pinstripes.

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