I know the corpse is still warm, and I understand the number of available, competent bodies that are both willing AND able bodies was pretty low. But any team that knows it has pitching problems; knows that getting outs is going to be more difficult than creating runs must put a little bit of thought into fielding a better defensive club.
Sure, this is a short tournament in which anything can happen. But the little Italian club that could put the value of defensive on display. No team that trots Matt Stairs out in right field and Jason Bay out in center has defense in mind. The alternatives might have been few, but did Matt Stairs's bat really bring that much to the table?
The whole "we'll out slug them and win every game 11-10" went out in, oh, 1999 didn't it? One need only look at the 2006 US squad in this very tournament to realize building a "team" is paramount to lining sluggers from post to post. This year's edition of Team America featured Shane Victorino in right and Curtis Granderson in center at the close of the opening game. Sluggers they are not, but (all together now) speed doesn't slump. Hell, consider the lengths "dream teams" like USA Basketball and Hockey Canada have gone to ensure a balanced team (hello Tyson Chandler, Bruce Bowen, and Chris fucking Draper.)
Obviously I'm taking this a little far. Most of tonight's hits fell into holes that no fielder could close up. Never the less, the contrast between the two teams was too great to go unnoticed. Second guessing Ernie Whitt is easy because he looks go desperately overmatched, hopefully Baseball Canada will take a more complete approach to building their team next time rather than filling the roster with enough recognizable names to facilitate ticket sales. The sea of blue seats told me that didn't work long before the scoreboard did.