Brian Roberts feels at “home” in Team USA Jersey

March 15, 2009 | Nestor Aparicio

I’m following up on all of the residue of the NCAA March Madness draw and filling out my own brackets and doodling this evening and my TV is tuned to the USA-Netherlands elimination game in Miami. In the same awkward ballpark that I watched the Ravens beat the Dolphins in the wild card round about 10 weeks ago, there are about 5,000 people — and I might be accused of kindness with that estimate — watching as the Orioles’ own Brian Roberts has been an 11th hour “call up” due to the Dustin Pedroia injury.

It’s, of course, a preview of the kinds of crowds he’ll see at Camden Yards next month here in Baltimore. Lots of empty seats must help his game as he got a helluva good look at the ball in Miami. BRob — always the pro — singled to right field in his first at bat and went on to go 3-for-3 with a pair of walks in five trips to the plate in Team USA’s 9-3 win over the Dutch. Roberts also looks spiffy in his USA duds.

The World Baseball Classic interests me more than it did last time because I’m actually planning on attending next Sunday night’s semifinal at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. I’m heading west for the NFL Owners Meetings in Dana Point, Calif. and will be covering it for wnsTV and WNST.net. I have no idea what to expect or what teams will be playing.

The second-place team in the USA Bracket will play that night. After Puerto Rico’s demolition of the USA this weekend, the red, white and blue needed a win tonight to stay in the race. It could be Puerto Rico, USA or Venezuela (my “people”.)

Meanwhile, the Venezuela story with president Hugo Chavez and Magglio Ordonez has become a firestorm outside the ballpark down in Miami as well, with thousands of fans booing Ordonez for supporting Chavez.

Politics and baseball intersecting. I don’t think that’s what Bug Selig had in mind.

I’m monitoring…

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