Just as all of America got ready to yawn it's way through another Japanese victory in the quadrennialish World Baseball Classic, things have taken a strange turn in what would appear to be a distinctly Ian Flemingish direction. As the South Korean National Team got ready for a practice game against a professional team that plays in the Korea Baseball Championship league, they discovered that four umpire trainees at the game were Taiwanese spies.
Yes, apparently four advanced scouts from Taiwan tried to act as umpires in order to collect data on their Korean opponents to prepare for the March 5th matchup between the two teams that I am pretty sure are widely considered to be the Pool B favorites (I dunno, ... is Netherlands any good this year? Weren't they a thing whenever the last WBC happened four or eight or 17 years ago? HONKBAL FOR LIFE!). They were caught, however, and the Taiwanese baseball federation quickly denied any involvement in the incident. That was presumably quickly followed by a burn notice on the four scouts, who's information clearly cannot be trusted.
The American reaction to this has been mostly, "Oh, how cute! They care so much about this silly tournament that we only acknowledge the existence of to mock!" To that, I ask you this: JUST WHAT DO YOU THINK WILLIE BLOOMQUIST REALLY DOING ON THE AMERICAN ROSTER? Oh! Sure! Willie Bloomquist is wearing red white and blue for general replacement-level scrappiness. A likely story! Right now, as I type this, Willie Bloomquist has infiltrated the Canadian camp posing as a Tim Horton's employee wearing a flannel shirt and a fake mustache in order to gather information on Russell Martin's range at shortstop. And did you think Heath Bell made the team because fat relievers are hilarious? HECK NO! He's hanging around Team Italy's camp, trying to get Jason Grilli to engage him in a hot dog eating contest because lord knows Team Italy will be absolutely boned without their closer.
OK, all kidding aside, I think this is kind of awesome and now I want to wake up at 6:30 AM on March 5th to watch Taiwan and South Korea play a baseball game. Interest in the World Baseball Classic: generated! Well done, Taiwanese scouts totally working on your own accord! Well done.
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