I got the chance last night to watch just a couple of innings of the final game, and I thought it to be tremendously exciting and vibrant baseball. The opportunity to watch two Asian teams play each other underlined some of the differences between the way that these teams play ball and the style I'm used to seeing in the Majors. Meaning no disrespect to MLB, I see an extra element of energy and excitement in the way that the Asian players play baseball. It is as if the players are all on tightly coiled springs, and when the springs release, the vivacity with which the play unfolds is intoxicating. This energy manifests itself throughout the play... the hitting, the pitching, the running, the defense... It all happens so fast, and so explosively, that you can't be perfectly sure you've seen what you thought you saw.
It's an interesting parallel against the largeness and the power that so dominate the western style of the game nowadays. The fact that Japanese speed and finesse easily defeated US power in the semifinals puts the American baseball purist in a difficult position. Tommy Lasorda, for example, is not taking the picture well.
"Can you believe this? Look at the score. I feel so bad about this," Lasorda said. "We had high hopes. This is the second time we were supposed to win. We taught these people the game."At the very least, fans of the MLB style of play can comfort themselves that the winning hit in the final came off the bat of Ichiro, a familiar figure for whom American baseball can take some partial credit.
Update: What he said.