I managed in the big leagues for 20 years, and I had to endure many bad call by umpires, so I know how my good friend Sadaharu Oh felt after the terrible call in their game against Team USA. I also know how Paquin Estrada felt after the home run that was ruled a double, a call that was made by the same umpire that upheld the appeal at third base when the USA played Japan.
I do not want the fans in Japan, or in Mexico, to think that these calls were made because the umpire is American. The umpire that made those calls has had a reputation for many years of being controversial. In fact, he has created controversy for many American teams, and managers, including me.
Before I go any further, I want to congratulate all the umpires who do an outstanding job of calling games fairly.
As it has turned out, Sadaharu Oh and his Japanese team will advance to the semi finals and the American team will not. I salute the Japanese team for conducting themselves in a professional manner throughout this tournament, and I wish them luck in the semi finals. But Korea is hot, and advancing to the finals wont be easy.
I would also like to congratulate Commissioner Bud Selig, Bob DuPuy, Paul Archey, Pat Courtney and Jim Small for their efforts and contributions to the Classic. I would also like to thank the Players Union, and all the players who played in the Classic for helping to make the tournament a tremendous success. I hope they understand that they are creating history by playing in the inaugural tournament.
I was very disheartened by the players who had the opportunity to play and failed to do so.
The press were very generous to give me the time and opportunities to promote awareness for the Classic, and to spread the word baseball around the nation, and around the globe. The Commissioner envisions the globalization of baseball, something that is being proven by this classic. I predict that in 10 to 15 years, many more teams will be playing the future WBC’s.
Last, but certainly not least, I would like to thank Frank and Jamie McCourt for allowing me to accept the position of Ambassador, and for affording me the time to perform my duties as such. It has been an honor and a privilege to represent the game, and I hope I did so with class, dignity and character. I know I have been pulled away from my first love, dodger baseball, but as it has been said about me before, Dodger Stadium was his address, but every ballpark was his home.