Yesterday we had the chance to see Croatia and Great Britain play the last game of the opening round of the Baseball World Cup in Zagreb. I knew Stuart Scott wouldn't be called in to cover the game for ESPN or that the fans wouldn't be calling their local radio station talking about Ivan Racic's lack of production the previous day.
But I was plesantly surprised. Despite a low turnout for Batting Practice, the stands eventually filled to standing-room-only making the announced attendance of 600 seem low. Even among all the Croatian spoken during the game I ingested a steady diet of "line-drive" "strike-out" and even "DH" baseball lingo. The guy next to me was able to tell me about each hitter and also informed me as to where most of the baseball talent comes from in Croatia.
Despite the 4-1 loss, I was convinced that there's a lot of potential in Croatia. They played a polished defensive game, didn't give up a run until the 6th and played to win despite their very slim chances of advancing to the next round.
The best part was I was able to share the day with my wife and 8 players from our team in Orahovica. Here are some sights and sounds of the game:
For more information about the 2009 Baseball World Cup go here.
For more about Croatia's part in hosting the first round go here.