Lacking much in the way of a winter climate, there’s not a ton of sports that Mexico typically goes head to head against Canada in at this time of the year. But prior to the start of the 2013 Major League Baseball season the World Baseball Classic is happening in several locations around the world. Featured are teams from 16 countries including Cuba, Japan, Australia, Spain, Brazil and Dominican Republic.
Canada is also in the tournament. Yesterday, in its Pool D game against Mexico in Phoenix a brawl broke out late in the game with Canada up 9-3. The initial spark was a bunt laid down by one of the Canadian players that put him on first base. Under the informal rules of baseball etiquette when a team enjoys a healthy lead late in the game you’re not supposed to do things like steal bases and lay down bunt singles as that’s perceived to be running up the score.
But in a round-robin tournament like this run differentials can be a determining factor in how the teams finish. In its first game, Canada lost to Italy 14-4. Italy subsequently lost to the United States 6-2. In its first game, Mexico lost to Italy 6-5. Then in its second game it actually upset the U.S. 5-2. Today at 2 p.m. Pool D play comes to an end with Canada playing the U.S. If Canada was to beat the U.S. it would advance to the second round for the first time in WBC tournament history. So with the way the tournament is structured, teams that have a comfortable lead late in the game do have an incentive to tack on a run or two.
It’s something that happens in round-robin hockey tournaments too. Sometimes with the same result as what happened in the Canada vs. Mexico game yesterday. Here’s a two-minute ESPN recap of the incident: