"USA! USA! USA!"
The chants rained down from the Dodger Stadium crowd as Team USA hoisted the World Baseball Classic trophy for the first time in the 11-year history of the event after an 8-0 victory over Team Puerto Rico last night.
Over the past two weeks, sixteen teams from around the globe have been competing in the World Baseball Classic. The WBC takes place every four years. Some of the world’s best professional baseball players take off their Tigers, Yankees, and Cubs caps and represent the United States, Australia, South Korea, Netherlands, and a dozen other countries.
A player is eligible to participate on a World Baseball Classic team if they are a citizen, were born in, or have one parent of the nation the team represents. The rosters of the 16 teams include a total of 63 former All-Stars. Players like Miguel Cabrera (Venezuela), Buster Posey (USA), and José Bautista (Dominican Republic) are taking part in this year’s classic.
We’ve all heard the saying that “a picture is worth a thousand words." What is destined to be the iconic picture of American baseball was captured Saturday night.
Seeing how we invented baseball, you would think the U.S. would dominate the WBC. In fact, Japan won the first two tourneys while the Dominican Republic took home the trophy in 2013 before Team USAs win this year.
Back to what happened on Saturday. With the United States protecting a 4-2 lead in the seventh inning of their big World Baseball Classic game against defending champion Dominican Republic, Adam Jones sprinted to the wall, leaped up and made a spectacular play to rob his Orioles teammate Manny Machado of a home run to center.
As amazing as the video of the catch is, what is truly incredible is the photo Associated Press photographer Gregory Bull took. If America sent an image into space to represent what baseball means to this country, this would be that photo.
Looking at the picture, you can see the impact of a truly great photograph.
Take a close look at the photo. You couldn't have staged a better picture. The expressions on the faces of the fans in the crowd. The hands reaching out to catch the ball. The perfectly placed American flags. The logo on the wall. The leap over the fence to snare the home run. The stars and stripes on the player’s shoes. The ball falling into the glove. It’s a golden ratio image of the American Pastime that would have made da Vinci proud.
All of that said, whether you’re a huge baseball fan or not, a picture like this is a good reminder of how sometimes it just feels good to be an American.
By Jason Piasecki, Partner + Proud American