WBC Five Cuts: Adam Dunn powers up, Italy stuns Canada and more
1. One of the real standouts in the Team USA lineup, and even in the clubhouse, has been
But in the World Baseball Classic, Dunn, 29, has asserted himself as a force in the lineup and one of the more popular players in the clubhouse. He has homered twice. Nobody wants to miss his spectacular batting practice shows. And the 6-foot-6 Dunn has developed a friendship with the 5-foot-9
"I've never played in the playoffs," he said, "but guys are saying it's a playoff atmosphere. If this is what it's like, I'll take the playoffs every day. Me not being in the playoffs before, the only thing I compare it to is football. I played in front of some big crowds. It's easy to get excited. When they asked me if I wanted to play [in the WBC], I said, 'Hell, yeah.'"
Enjoy it while it lasts. When the WBC is over, Dunn will report back to his new team for his next two years of duty: the Washington Nationals.
2. Much of Italy was asleep -- including the editors for at least one Italian journalist eager to tell the news -- when Italy beat Canada, 6-2, Monday. In Italy, soccer is king, while professional baseball is played only three times a week and gets little notice. But this win just might make more Italians notice the sport. "Hopefully," manager
The Italians could significantly raise the profile of the sport in their country if they can find a way to beat Venezuela on Tuesday to advance to Round 2. Now that would be shock-the-world kind of stuff. Italy will start righthander
3. There is a story, of course, of how someone with the name of
Cooper, 30, was born in Pittsburgh, attended the University of New Mexico, was drafted by Cleveland in the 35th round in 2001, and posted a 2.94 ERA in six minor league seasons in the Indians organization (making it as high as Triple-A), then pitched in the Atlantic League in 2007. He went off to play in Italy last year, for Montepaschi Grosseto. Just like
4. Oh, Canada. As big of a win as it was for Italy, it was a crushing defeat for Canada, where the news played out after the nightly NHL game summaries, of course, but ahead of curling, at least. The Canadians went from nearly upsetting Team USA to becoming the first team knocked out of the pool -- on their home turf. Reds first baseman
The Canadians were hurt by the losses of pitchers