March 14, 2023, 4:54 p.m
PHOENIX – Larry Walker stood atop the Canadian dugout step as Adam Lewin left the mound at Chase Field, trying like everyone around him to keep his emotions in check.
The score, 12-1 for the United States at the time, was irrelevant. The big southpaw just faced a group of potential Hall of Famers in his second outing since 2018, when he stepped away from the game to care for his late wife, Linda. Loewen caused a long drive from Nolan Arenado to complete the fourth moto after rallies to Mike Trott and Paul Goldschmidt, then opened the fifth in a row from Kyle Tucker before manager Ernie Witt came up with a beaming smile.
“It was a little heartbreaking when you really think about it,” Walker, the national team’s first base coach, said Tuesday. “First of all it’s nice to see him in uniform again. The tragedies of life he’s been through is one thing, but just packing everything up to be with his wife, going through it all and then being able to come back and have one last chance to put the uniform on and get in Strike, that was the best thing. His first game against the Cubs (in an exhibition game last week), it wasn’t good, it hurt, but it didn’t really see, with this crowd here and everything, it’s just a perfect scenario, the perfect thing happened. The smile was On his face absolutely stunning.We all looked at each other, so happy for him.
One of the first to welcome him to the shelter was Greg Hamilton, the manager of Canada’s national baseball teams who had known Louvin since he was a teenager. Third team coach Tim Lieber tried not to cry, responding with five stars. He follows his old and new teammates.
“It was amazing, I didn’t expect to have the opportunity to compete at this level again,” Lewin said Monday night after his exit. “Doing this for my country is always an honor and a privilege.”
One of his reasons for competing is to share the experience with his eight-year-old son Lucas and six-year-old daughter Lucy. They were among the 29,621 spectators who watched their dad go straight to bed as soon as he came off the mound, and also watched him during that grueling drive against the Cubs, when he allowed three runs on three hits. Safe and walk while getting two outs. .
“It’s really cool to see what they think because they just know I drive them to school and pick them up,” he said. “Sharing this moment with them is incredible.”
It happened in the same stadium where, at age 21, from the start, he hit a 3.2-inning strike against the United States in the classic game opener, capping his career, in some ways.
“I was glad he came to join us on this journey and what a way out of this strike,” Witt said after the match. “It doesn’t mean he did it, but he doesn’t feel right either. It was a perfect way for him to end his career.”
When asked about Witt’s comments, Lewin laughed and said, “I’ll have to talk to Ernie. I’m sure (another step in me). I came here to play and help the team in any way I can. If my name is called, I’ll definitely take the hill.”
Whether he did or not, Loewen’s outing helped ease the sting on a rough night.
“I thought it was cool that Ernie took this opportunity to throw him in there,” Walker said. “And it was a good thing, whether it was also a failure or a success, to take him out again and put him in this situation so he could feel it again. It was just a good story all the way. If you don’t like it… I’ve gotten text messages from people saying “I got kicked but what an honest story. They all wanted to talk about Adam. »
Feelings are like games
Rob Zastrizny, a 30-year-old from Edmonton who started in the first half for Canada against Mexico on Wednesday, was on the Chicago Cubs playoff roster in 2016 when they won the World Series.
He says World Baseball Classics has “similar feelings” about them.
“With Chicago, it’s been 108 years and there was a lot of pressure, a lot of outside stuff. It’s the same when you play for your country. “It’s the same game when you go there, but when you have Canada on your chest or in the playoffs, you feel a lot of pressure. outside on you.
(The Classic) is a really good take on some of these guys. We saw it from Mitch[Pratt]. Whatever happens will happen, but he’ll learn a lot from this outing. He will learn a lot from what he did. You can’t really recreate that kind of feeling or that kind of environment. “In the spring. That was one of the reasons I came here. I wanted to compete on a big stage with Team Canada on the breaststroke. It’s very rare for you to do that.”
Zastrezny played in six major league games with the Mets and Angels last season and is in camp with the Pittsburgh Pirates with a minor league contract this spring. During his free agency, he told interested teams that he planned to play in the Classic and asked what it would be like if he signed.
“As soon as I told the hackers about it, they were more than willing,” Zastrezny said. “They said the same thing I said earlier, you can’t recreate a big league environment or a playoff environment in March, no matter how hard you play in the spring or how many fans are in the game. Or whatever. So it’s a good opportunity for them to see me.” An environment like that, And it’s a good opportunity for me to show what I can do here.
“But my priorities once I got up here were bidding for Team Canada and doing everything I could to help us win and get to the next round.”
So big BRATT
Props and support for Mitch Pratt, the 19-year-old Texas Rangers quarterback who allowed six points while scoring one against the United States on Monday, came from everywhere after his release, including the Americans.
“For a young boy, keep pushing. Things happen,” said Tim Anderson. “He had tough workouts, but he competed. And we competed too. We just had the upper hand on him. »
Added Mike Trout, “Everyone in this game is going to have a hard time. That’s how we get through it. You have to have that mentality to get through it. I look back and when I got up I struggled, but I learned from that. It’s hard work for me.” Our assortment. Pass the course. learn from it. Next time he finds himself in a situation like this, try to be better. »