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Who should you root for in the WBC?

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An exhaustive guide to the eight remaining teams

World Baseball Classic - Pool C - Game 2 - Columbia v United States Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The WBC is down to 8 teams, and still no one has asked the important question about it: Who should we, as Giants fans, be rooting for?

Japan

Former or current Giants: Nori Aoki

Why you should root for them: Norichika Aoki is back in the WBC. After skipping the 2013 tournament, Aoki, who also played in 2006 and 2009, is back on Japan’s team. Nori Aoki is a reason to root for Japan all by himself because he takes lots of funny pictures, and funny pictures are an important part of our lives. Keep going, Nori. Take more funny pictures. We’re counting on you.

Why you shouldn’t: Wouldn’t it be a little boring? They’ve already won twice, they’re a well recognized great team with lots of great talent and, like, we get it. You’re good. Now let someone else be good. We can’t miss you if you won’t go away.

Netherlands

Former or current Giants: Shairon Martis, Sharlon Schoop (both former Giants minor leaguers), Hensley Meulens!

Why you should root for them: Bam Bam is the manager! And Bam Bam has been the hitting coach on all three World Series winning Giants teams, so it’s important to root for his success and ...

(man comes in with megaphone)

THEY CALL BASEBALL HONKBAL. HONKBAL. HONKBAL HONKBAL HONKBAL.

The mysterious man who interrupted this text based format is correct and I apologize for not leading off with the important fact that he brought up.

Why you shouldn’t: At this point, they’re a bit overplayed. They beat the Dominican Republic twice in 2009 and they beat Cuba twice in 2013 to get to the semifinals, but we’ve all seen the Dutch story already. They’re here, they already surprised us, we’re used to them. Now if they’re not going to win, they should just go away. We demand fresh stories. We demand, oh, I dunno, someone like ...

Israel

Former or current Giants: Uh, Scott Feldman went to Burlingame High, if that counts

Why you should root for them: They are the current underdog darlings of the tournament, winning four straight games in pool play before getting blown out by the Netherlands yesterday morning. Their mascot is the Mensch on a Bench!

MENSCH ON A BENCH MENSCH ON A BENCH MENSCH ON A BENCH

Why you shouldn’t: They’re definitely going to lose and make you sad, for one. The reason they’ve been such a Cinderockyellunderdoga story so far is that they are by far the least talented team remaining in the tournament. Also, they have no connection whatsoever with the Giants, just like ...

Cuba

Former or current Giants: At least three players who the Giants will be connected to in future rumors but will lose out on to other teams

Why you should root for them: The US has been massively disappointing in the WBC, never having even gotten a bronze medal. But Cuba, even with its rich baseball history, has only gotten to the finals once, in the very first WBC, and they lost to Japan 10-6. Since then, they haven’t even gotten to the semifinals. I know “They’re due” is bad analysis, but on the other hand, they’re kinda due.

Why you shouldn’t: It’s legitimately hard to get invested in players you’ve never heard of. Yoelkis Cespedes is there, and he’s Yoenis’s brother, but otherwise, let’s be honest here, you’re just rooting for the Dodgers of tomorrow. The next Yasiel Puig is on this team. Don’t let him win.

Dominican Republic

Former or current Giants: Santiago Casilla, maybe, and Johnny Cueto, though he probably won’t pitch

Why you should root for them: Oh man, they’re good. Have you seen that lineup? It’s absurd. It’s unfair to opposing pitchers and it’s so, so fun to watch. But more importantly, the Dominican Republic winning will make Johnny Cueto happy. This is Johnny Cueto being happy:

Who wouldn’t want that? Pol Pot, that’s who. Down with Pol Pot and up with Johnny Cueto, that’s what I always say.

Why you shouldn’t: Casilla wasn’t on the roster for the first round because of visa issues, but let’s be honest here: if he’s on the team for the second round or afterwards, it would be objectively hilarious if he blew a save and cost his team the game. Also, then manager Tony Pena takes off his mask to reveal he was actually Bruce Bochy all along.

Puerto Rico

Former or current Giants: Carlos Beltran, Angel Pagan

Why you should root for them: If you, a Giants fan, have unkind feelings toward Angel Pagan, you’re strange and weird. If you have unkind thoughts toward Carlos Beltran, you’re factually incorrect in thinking that way, but you do have plenty of company in Giantsland. In any case, Puerto Rico has an outstanding young infield that I wish I could watch every day and a couple of former Giants outfielders to go along with it. They’re a fun group.

Why you shouldn’t: Yadier Molina is their catcher, and to us Giants fans, it is very important that Yadier Molina never get to have anything that Buster Posey doesn’t also have. Buster Posey doesn’t have a WBC championship trophy, so neither should Yadier Molina. It’s simple, foolproof logic.

USA

Former or current Giants: Buster Posey, Brandon Crawford, maybe Jeff Samardzija and Mark Melancon in round 2 (though signs are pointing to no)

Why you should root for them: USA! USA! USA! USA!

Why you shouldn’t: If you hate FREEDOM and BALD EAGLES and WINNING WORLD WARS, then sure, ROOT AGAINST AMERICA. If you think that BUSTER POSEY is a DUMB LOSER, then yeah, it makes sense. If you don’t want the baseball loving world to acknowledge BRANDON CRAWFORD’S GLORIOUS HAIR, then wish away for some other dumb country to win. Whatever. I don’t make decisions for you.

Venezuela

Former or current Giants: Yusmeiro Petit, Omar! Vizquel

Why you should root for them: Yusmeiro Petit is a Giants postseason hero, and anyone who disagrees with that is wrong and dumb and I haven’t even heard anyone disagree with that and why did I put a comma in this sentence anyway? Omar Vizquel is a delightful human being and was a great Giants shortstop for the first four years of this site’s existence. Add them together and you have two people who it’s impossible for any right thinking Giants fan to root against.

Why you shouldn’t: Did you see how they won last night? Down by one, they scored three runs off Italy’s closer in the top of the ninth. In other words, they made us suffer through the 2016 Giants again. That’s just plain cruelty. We don’t deserve that. No one deserves that. Down with Team Venezuela.