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The wailing and gnashing of teeth, the rending of garments, is upon us: The United States has been eliminated from the World Baseball Classic. The team finished 3-3 for the tourney, and some people are screaming that Team USA was a "debacle" and that it's a shame that the "world has passed the country that invented the game."

We don't understand this. It's clear that the team was trying and took the loss hard. It's difficult to call anything as random as a single series of baseball games a "debacle;" this is pretty far removed from the basketball and hockey embarrassments. (We also don't get why it's somehow more humiliating to lose the game you "invented," though we suspect 1800s cricket fans might have some say in that. It's not like England is expected to win the World Cup every year.)

The World Baseball Classic has been a fun experiment that will only improve as they work out the kinks. That Team USA isn't in the semifinals is probably for the best; of all the countries who had a chance, we're the ones who will surely handle the disappointment the easiest. Besides: If this just gave us the chance for one last run of Roger Clemens Retirement stories, jeez, isn't it worth it?

New World Order [Yahoo Sports]
Deflated Team [Baseball Musings]
World Baseball Conspiracy Theory [Sports Media Watch]

(Note: A reader who was in Anaheim last night writes in with an upsetting report: "Between innings on the Kiss Cam, the camera pans to the regular cliches; the elderly, a brother lip-locking his sister, etc. ... and then ... Tom Cruise dipping Katie Holmes and planting one on the lips. It was sort of like seeing Don Nelson at the Oscars, impossible but everyone saw it. I think.")