Final Score: Italy 6, Mexico 5.
World Baseball Conflict of the Game: World War II.
Mexico and Italy had met once before on an international stage, in World War II. It might be hard to come across articles about said event, given they are buried beneath the more important articles about a Pool D WBC matchup, but they can be found. And when you find them, you realize one thing. Mexico doesn’t do shit, and mostly relied on Italy to fuck stuff up.
Mexico’s importance in the outcome of World War II was minimal. Mexico’s importance in the outcome of this WBC opening round matchup was also minimal. Mexico just seems to sit around, pretending to be involved but really just letting Italy mess shit up for themselves and then taking credit. They brag about how they were a helping hand in defeating the Italians, when in reality it was probably the heaviness of the mozzarella that made it hard for Italy to get up and do much anything.
Thursday’s WBC game followed a very similar path to WW2. Italy looked strong early having success against a superpower, and it didn’t really make much sense. But then Italy’s incompetence got the best of them. John Mariotti did his best Benito Mussolini impression by screwing things up for a nation that trusted him. John also murdered thousands, but we’ll talk about that another time.
Quickly Mexico took advantage even without much of an impressive performance on their part, much like in WW2. Things looked very familiar and it was expected that Mexico would come out on top.
However in this game, history seemed to speed up, as Italy was able to recover from wartime devastation much quicker than they were able to in the 1940s. The Mexicans got lazy (insert racist joke here that applies), and Anthony Rizzo led the rebuilding effort. Many people were put to work and contributed to the rebuilding effort, as the team got 12 singles. They showed strength as a nation, even in face of Sylvio Berlusconi-like sexual scandals. It continues to be hard for Mike Piazza to escape the Sam Champion rumors.
Somehow, someway, Italy came out on top in what ended up being an accelerated parallel to historic events. They are one step closer to advancing, which is a sentence that inspires a lot less fear than it would have in WW2. Unless you have an irrational fear of Nick Punto. Then that sentence is still terrifying.