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It's our game, but it wasn't our trophy

March 08, 2009|Mike Penner

If it's time for the World Baseball Classic, you know a pep talk dripping in red, white and blue from Tom Lasorda cannot be far behind.

At a tournament-opening ceremony on the Empire State Building's observation deck Thursday, Lasorda said, "We cannot allow those clubs to beat us. It's our game. Remember one thing: In your heart of hearts, you better pull for the USA or you may not get into heaven."

Lasorda was just getting started.

"It's our game," he said. "Baseball is America's game. It doesn't belong to the Italians or the Cubans or the Koreans or the Japanese. It's our game, and we're not going to let them beat us."

No, the Mexicans beat the Americans in the second round of the first World Baseball Classic in 2006. And the Cubans, the Koreans and the Japanese all advanced further than the Americans.

Trivia time

Which countries reached the first World Baseball Classic final four?

Anthony gets a timeout

Carmelo Anthony says he wishes Denver Nuggets Coach George Karl had kept Anthony's insubordination a secret, but when you refuse to come out of a game in front of thousands of spectators, it's hard to hide anything.

In the third quarter of last Sunday's game against Indiana, Karl signaled for Anthony to come out of the game, replacing him with Linas Kleiza. Anthony ignored the decision -- and paid for it by being suspended for the Nuggets' next game against Detroit.

By Wednesday, a chastened Anthony revealed his new strategy when ordered to sub out.

"I'm going to run," he told the Associated Press. "I'm going to run to the bench. I'm going to run hard to the bench."

How cold is it in New York?

David Letterman recently answered the question on his show. "It is so cold," he said, "Alex Rodriguez's cousin was injecting Alex with hot cocoa."

Letterman also mused about President Obama's taking in an NBA game.

"Over the weekend he went . . . to see the Bulls and the Wizards. I thought, 'Well, hell, if he'd gone to a Knicks game, he could've played.' "

Bulled over

The Chicago Bulls haven't won a championship in more than a decade, but they are Obama's home team, so they received an invitation to tour the White House while they were in town. The tour included the Bulls trying their hands on the White House's bowling lane.

How did the Bulls fare?

"I'm terrible," rookie Derrick Rose said.

Joakim Noah called his effort "not great, but it was just something that I'll be able to tell my grandkids and tell my whole family. I think I hit one pin, but my swagger was just unbelievable."

Trivia answer

Japan won the championship by defeating Cuba in the final. South Korea and the Dominican Republic were semifinalists.

And finally

Cam Hutchinson of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix, on Wayne Gretzky's being paid seven times the NHL average to coach the Phoenix Coyotes: "For $7 million a year, shouldn't Gretzky be coaching, playing and driving the Zamboni?"

--

mike.penner@latimes.com

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