Japan and Korea meeting for the championship of the '09 Classic should shock no one who has followed the tournament, watching as the defending champion and the 2008 Olympic champion have been sharp and efficient in winning six games each -- and losing only to each other, twice apiece.
While there will be no Classic final for the U.S. after it fell to Japan, 9-4, in the semifinal on Sunday, the Americans did pick up some valuable lessons about their foes along the way.
There will be no Classic final for the U.S., which fell to Japan, 9-4, in the semifinal on Sunday. The Americans made a late rally in the eighth, but fell short.
The World Baseball Classic trophy will return to Asia for the second successive time in the tournament's brief history. Japan hopes the hardware returns to its home country -- again.
For the fifth time in this year's Classic, Japan will face Korea, but on Monday, it'll be in defense of its title after it beat Team USA, 9-4, in Sunday's semifinal.
Korea left-hander Jung Keun Bong has been dominant against Japan in the 2009 Classic, and he will again get a chance to defeat Japan, but with much more on the line in the final on Monday at 9 p.m. ET at Dodger Stadium.
During the summer, when the sun sets at Dodger Stadium, one can see from the press box a single light shining in the hills behind right field. Most people have no idea what the light means, but to the Dodgers it symbolizes the organization's long relationship with Japan.
With the ability to hit for power, draw walks and throw out runners from right field, Team Korea's Shin-Soo Choo brings a little bit of everything to the table for his team. And He brings something else to his team that no one else can -- current Major League Baseball playing experience.
Venezuela looked unstoppable heading into the semifinals of the Classic, carrying a tournament-best record of 6-1 and averaging more than six runs a game before running into Korea on Saturday.
Commissioner Bud Selig said Saturday night that the World Baseball Classic will be back in 2013 and is here to stay as a March fixture.