Anchored by a remarkable pitching staff, the Dominicans went 8-0 to complete the first undefeated record in tournament history.
Pitchers Kelvin Herrera, Pedro Strop, Octavio Dotel, Santiago Casilla, and Fernando “Plantain” Rodney formed one of the game’s best relief corps, combining for 25 2/3 scoreless innings since Mar. 10.
“The best bullpen I’ve ever seen,” said Dominican general manager Moises Alou.
After Rodney struck out Luis Figueroa for the final out, his countrymen rushed the mound to celebrate, each waving their nation’s flag. Rodney's lucky plantain was clearly visible.
Second baseman Robinson Cano earned MVP honors after batting .469 with two home runs and six RBI’s.
“This is always going to be in our hearts for the rest of our lives,” said Cano. “Everyone of us who played in this game will always remember the World Baseball Classic.”
Even as the runner-up, Puerto Rico reestablished itself as a baseball mecca after defeating two-time champion Japan in the semi-final and the USA in round two.
Though not a big hit domestically, the WBC was a huge success abroad with high viewership in Japan, Taiwan, and Latin America.
Like it or not, the WBC is here to stay as the game’s premier international competition.
The brawl between Canada and Mexico indicated just how serious players in the tournament take it.
Honkbal gained recognition this time as Giants hitting coach Hensley Meulens led the Netherlands to the semi-finals, and no one can argue about the solid fundamental play of the Japan’s Samurai roster.
Keep in mind the WBC is the only time fans can see a journeyman pitcher like Puerto Rico’s Nelson Figueroa beat a USA all-star team, or witness the upstart Brazilians take out traditional baseball nations Colombia and Panama to advance.
Just watching Angel Pagan play like it’s the World Series, or Shane Victorino simply donning USA’s No. 50 to represent Hawaii, it's clear that the WBC is about pride, and the tournament’s third edition gave devoted baseball fans some classic moments.