After a second straight mind-blowing upset at the hands of The Netherlands, the roster of the Dominican Republic returned home with their tails tucked between their legs.
The Dominican team held the weight on their shoulders of a nation as passionate about the game of baseball as any other in the world.
The looks on their faces told the entire story as Netherlands outfielder Eugene Kingsale crossed home plate for the winning run in an epic extra-inning affair.
The Dominican Republic was not supposed to simply beat the Dutch team; they were supposed to annihilate them.
The loss left them with an eerie feeling of déjà vu and sealed their fate as the second and final team eliminated from Pool D.
The Netherlands has become an instantaneous ally of the “Evil Empire” in the Bronx, making sure that 2B Robinson Cano and lefty Damaso Marte can return to spring training.
Although it appears that United States SS Derek Jeter will remain busy for a while, the Yankees can reunite the right side of their infield.
Cano struggled with the rest of his Dominican teammates, posting a .231 batting average and stranding five men on base in the team’s final game.
The Yankees will be excited to place Cano back under the instruction of hitting coach Kevin Long.
They worked tirelessly together during the offseason to fine-tune Cano’s swing. Their ultimate goal is producing results more similar to 2006 and 2007 than 2008.
Without a healthy Alex Rodriguez for at least the first month of the season, Cano will play a major role in the success of the Yankee lineup.
Cano has the potential to perform at a level equal to the best hitters in the American League. It is up to him to channel the work ethic necessary to achieve his goals.