Mexico’s Benji Gil says quick WBC turnaround to face Puerto Rico a ‘disadvantage’

Mexico’s Benji Gil says quick WBC turnaround to face Puerto Rico a ‘disadvantage’

MIAMI — Mexico manager Benji Gil said he doesn’t believe his team should play until Saturday. Its quarterfinal game against Puerto Rico in this year’s World Baseball Classic instead took place on Friday night, which meant a difficult turnaround for a team navigating the pool-play portion of the tournament of nearly 2,500. miles away.

“We’re not looking for excuses,” Gil said shortly before Friday 5-4 come-from-behid win. “We’re not gonna make an excuse if we win, and we’re not gonna make an excuse if we lose. But before playing this, it’s a hundred percent a disadvantage. And I’m not saying it’s a disadvantage because Puerto Rico Didn’t travel. They’re here. And that’s fine. That’s how it should be. But at the end of the day, before the tournament happened, the 1-seed was playing on Saturday. And when it got complicated, it became the US playing on Saturday no matter what .”

The World Baseball Classic bracket distributed by Major League Baseball indicates that the Pool C winner (in this case Mexico) will face the Pool D runner-up (Puerto Rico) on Saturday, with the Pool D winner (Venezuela) playing as Pool C runner-up (Team USA) on Friday.

But the designation comes with an asterisk indicating that if Team USA advances, it will play in the second quarterfinal game regardless, a stipulation of MLB’s TV deal with Fox. Fox airs Saturday’s game on its main channel; Friday’s game, however, was shown on the less popular FS1. The designation was noted in the bracket released by MLB in early February, though it was not on the first schedule from September.

“If it’s because of TV — I’ll tell you right now, if I’m not here, if I’m not at the tournament, I’m going to watch the game, and I’m not going to say, ‘Oh. , I’m not gonna watch the US game because it’s on Friday and FS1 instead of Saturday on Fox, the main channel,'” Gil said. “I’m a baseball fan. I love the players that the US has. They’re All-Stars. I would be watching that game if it was Friday, if it was Saturday, if it was Sunday.”

Mexico, which won three of its four pool-play games but fell behind by four runs in the first inning against Puerto Rico, played Wednesday afternoon in Phoenix, and Gil said the team was unable to check into its hotel until about 8 a.m. ET on Thursday. Mexico now has the benefit of a two-day break heading into Monday’s semifinal game against Japan; while the winner between the US and Venezuela does not get any rest days heading into its semifinal contest against Cuba on Sunday.

But Gil clearly preferred the day of rest on the front end, from a long flight.

“We should have practiced today at noon and prepared to play tomorrow,” said Gil. “They should have also let Puerto Rico enjoy their massive victory over the Dominican for a day as well.”