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March 3, 2009 at 1:24 am ET
2009 World Baseball Classic: Alcohol(ic’s) Guide

The 2009 World Baseball Classic begins this Thursday at 4:30 AM EST at the Tokyo Dome. How could players from the sixteen greatest baseball-playing nations battling for world supremacy be more exciting? Think about it, there’s only one correct answer.

Thematic Alcohol Consumption!

Now most of you know that I am an acclaimed and beloved professional baseball writer, but you probably didn’t know that I am also a classically trained, certified mixologist. (Before I got my M.A.L.A.) Combining these two loves, I’ve come up with pairings for all 16 teams so you’ll never miss a moment of the action without appropriate national alcohol. I’ve also garnished with my own expert analysis and a twist of links.

Pool A. Tokyo Dome; Tokyo, Japan (March 5th-9th)

China – Tsingtao Lager

I’ve gone through a few six-packs of this stuff in my time. Obviously, it goes well with Kung Pao but it’s good with anything. And won a Bronze Medal at the World Beer Championships.

Worst Players: P Kai Liu and C Zhenwang Zhang (signed by the Yankees in 2007)

Smitty’s China Preview is the most entertaining WBC post I’ve read so far. You should also check out David Brown’s Big League Stew China Preview which might be slightly more informative. If that’s possible.

Taiwan – Taiwan Beer

This recommendation comes from Shinsano of East Windup Chronicle.

EWC’s Jackson breaks down Taiwan’s roster. And then there’s DB’s BLS Preview.

Japan – Kirin Ichiban

Japan has other good beer options — Asahi Super Dry, Sapporo — but Kirin might be my favorite. A lot of restaurants seem to have it on draft now.

Best player: 2B Akinori Iwamura

Biggest mouth: OF Ichiro

Guy everybody’ll be watching: P Yu Darvish

Read Andy Lenartz on Japan’s chances to repeat. And then DB’s BLS Japan preview. (Beer before liquor.)

Korea – Soju

Already got some in my fridge — 20% alcohol, made from grain, rice, barley, sweet potato and tapioca. Smooth and tasty.

Korea had more players named to Townie’s WBC Pre-Tournament All-Name Team than any other squad.

Read Duk’s BLS Korea Preview.

Pool D. Hiram Bithorn Stadium; San Juan, Puerto Rico (March 7th-11th)

First game: Saturday, 11 AM EST.

Dominican Republic – Presidente

A favorite of mine (and my mother’s) ever since we visited the DR at the end of 2006. It’s a real nice almost Czech-style Pilsner. The picture above is of then-Senator Hilary Clinton pounding Presidente on the campaign trail in San Juan.

Best players: IF Willy Aybar, DH David Ortiz

Notable criminals/steroid cheats: Alex Rodriguez, Miguel Tejada

Worst players: Pitchers Damaso Marte, Edwar Ramirez, and Jose Veras; 2B Robinson Can0-for-4

Read DB’s BLS DR preview.

Netherlands – Amstel Light

It’s drinkable.

Almost MLB player with appropriately Dutch sounding name: Florida’s Rick VandenHurk

And the award for best use of a Wu Tang lyric in a WBC preview goes to Jack Hittinger. (Hittinger? I am hardly knowing her! But seriously folks, that might be the most illuminating thing I’ve ever read on not just Dutch baseball, but on the Dutch and Dutchness.) You must also read DB’s BLS Netherlands Preview.

Panama — Ron Abuelo Añejo 7 Anos Reserva Superior Rum

International Review of Spirits Award: Gold Medal Winner.

Best player: stocky LF Carlos Lee

Read DB’s BLS Panama Preview.

Puerto Rico – Captain Morgan Private Stock Spiced Rum

I’ve only had it once, but it was a pretty memorable time in the FedEx Field parking lot.

Notable steroid cheat: J.C. F’in Romero

Other worst players: Bernie Williams, Pudge Rodriguez

Read DB’s BLS PR Preview.

Pool C. SkyDome; Toronto, Canada (March 7th-11th)

First game: Saturday, 2 PM EST.

Canada – Crown Royal

If it’s good enough for Meech….

Most Quotable Player: Matt Stairs

Most Cowardly Player: Jason Bay

Other overrated sack of crap: Justin Mourneau

Read DB’s BLS Canada Preview.

Italy – Peroni Lager

Always goes well with a slice. WORLD BEER CHAMPIONSHIPS AWARD: Gold Medal Winner.

Most Hilarious Player: Francisco Cervelli, the Yankee farmhand catcher who got his wrist broken when he was run over by Devil Ray Elliot Johnson in a spring training game last year

B&C’s Tyler Maas previews Team Italy. So does DB for BLS.

USA – Wild Turkey

If it’s good enough for Hunter S. Thompson….

Best player: P J.P. Howell

Lead-gloved dead weight curse: SS dErEk jEtEr

Other players who have no business representing America: Pitchers B.J. Ryan and Scot Shields, miniature 2B Dustin Pedroia

B&C’s Jeremy “Goldie” Hawn previews Team America. Goldie promises to be under the influence of Wild Turkey for all his future WBC posts.

Venezuela – Empresas Polar

Suggested by Shinsano.

Worst player: Bobby Abreu

Read ‘Duk’s BLS Venezuela Preview.

Pool B. Foro Sol Stadium; Mexico City, Mexico (March 5th-9th)

First game: Sunday, 2 PM EST.

Australia – J. Boag & Son Premium Lager

The easy pick here would have been Foster’s which is more about quanity than quality, or a bottle of Yellowtail, or heading to your local Outback’s and knocking back Wallaby Darneds. But Boag’s might be worth looking for, I had a nice experience with it a few months back when a beautiful Australian girl took me to Tuck Shop for some late night meat pies.

Best player in the history of Australia not on the roster: Grant Balfour

Read DB’s BLS Australia Preview.

Cuba РHavana Club A̱ejo 7 A̱os Rum

Recommended by Dan Tobin. (Tell me you wouldn’t take premium spirit recommendations from this guy.)

International Review of Spirits Award: Gold Medal Winner

Mexico – Patron

I also really like Tecate, but Patron is the official celebratory party beverage of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. If anybody’s thinking Cuervo, I don’t think I’ve had any of that since I chugged a pint glass of it before heading out to the Nationals second game at RFK with 18 of my closest friends. (I wanted to make sure everyone had a nice time.)

Best player: Jorge Cantu

Read DB’s BLS Mexico Preview.

South Africa – MAN Vintners Pinotage 2005

Tobin said it had to be a pinotage. (Again.) Wine.com says “Pinotage is South Africa’s indigenous grape varietal, a genetic cross between Cinsaut and Pinot Noir. It’s the perfect match for South African cuisine which is primarily meat based.”

Read DB’s BLS South Africa Preview.

End Game

Let’s say you can only drink from one pool for the duration of the tournament. (Relax, it’s just a hypothetical, nothing binding.) I think it would come down to D and C, with C having a slight edge.

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3 Responses to “2009 World Baseball Classic: Alcohol(ic’s) Guide”
  1. FrankDiscussion says:

    Damn shame the Czech Republic isn’t fielding a team, I’d be set for a few weeks. Might root for the Japanese team as I have a few 22oz Sapporo Draft in the fridge.

  2. Also a damn shame there’s no Jamaican team. Loves me some day-old Red Stripe.

  3. Nic Lake says:

    I can’t honestly believe you suggested Wild Turkey.

    The thought just makes me shudder.


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