Say what you want about Tommy Lasorda. When he was running the Olympics baseball team, his players understood the drill.
The U.S. on Wednesday night opened pool play by losing to Korea 8-7, which was followed by the entire American team (save San Diego State pitcher Stephen Strasburg, the lone collegiate player on the American team) blowing off the media mix zone.
It’s not a shock. The U.S. manager is Davey Johnson, hardly known for his feel-good demeanor when in the bigs. He doesn’t seem all that interested about trying to save baseball from Olympics death. Nor does his team.
Baseball is one of the sports being eliminated by the IOC at the conclusion of these Games. It’s not as if anyone expects the U.S. to win gold -- it has done so just once (2000 in Sydney, with Lasorda calling the shots) -- but it would be nice if the American players didn’t begin acting like major league prima donnas until, you know, a few of these minor leaguers actually make big-league rosters and stick.
In the news conference that followed the mixed zone, U.S. pitcher Brian Barden had this to say: "I’m here for me and my team."
Maybe there is another Olympics slogan in there somewhere: "One world, one dream, but to heck with all that patriotic junk."