Team USA rallied to beat Venezuela, 4-2, in the WBC at Petco Park on Wednesday, with Adam Jones homering to tie the game and Eric Hosmer hitting a two-run bomb to win it.
This was just what Team USA needed after blowing a 5-0 lead against the Dominican Republic on March 10 in the first round of the WBC.
“They’re having a blast with it,” USA Today MLB columnist Bob Nightengale said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “They really are. It sure beats spring training. They think it’s more fun than the All-Star Game. I think the guys that are here want to show everybody else, ‘Hey, you guys are missing out. Come join the fun.’”
San Diego may not be as loud or as boisterous as the crowd in Miami, but the difference between the WBC and spring training is palpable.
“One game in the WBC would mean more than maybe a week’s worth of games in spring training,” Nightengale said. “It’s not just getting your work in. Being in this type of environment really seems to fire guys up. . . . It’s probably a greater atmosphere than even the All-Star Game.”
Team USA plays Puerto Rico on Friday and the Dominican Republic on Saturday.
“Venezuela is probably the weakest of the four teams,” Nightengale said. “I think for the USA to get (to the championship round), they have to win just one of the next two games to pretty much guarantee them a spot. Then they’ll head over to L.A., where Japan has already qualified and so has the Netherlands.”