03/15/2013 7:16 PM ET
Classic featuring plenty of in-game celebrating
By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com
MIAMI -- A different energy level has overtaken the World Baseball Classic, where players are jumping around on the field like kids winning the Little League World Series.
National pride has raised emotions, and the participants are completely caught up in it. Players on the Dominican Republic sprung out of the dugout in the ninth inning on Erick Aybar's go-ahead, pinch-hit RBI single in a 3-1 win over Team USA on Thursday night.
The excessive celebration has blurred the lines of when you might be showing up your opponent.
"To me, there's nothing wrong with emotion, don't get me wrong," U.S. manager Joe Torre said. "I love the passion."
Torre spent time in the Dominican Republic in January, and he understands the national passion the country has for baseball.
"Sometimes when you get on the field and the ball is still in play, then you hold your breath because then it becomes a scoring issue on what happens," Torre said.
The excessive celebrating rubbed some Team USA players the wrong way.
"That's what I heard," U.S. second baseman Brandon Phillips said. "If you're asking me, a win's a win. If you win the game, you have the right to do whatever it is."
For the most part, the celebrating is seen as good fun in an international tournament, where national pride is on the line each game.
Could similar intensity carryover to the MLB regular season?
"The things that they did, you would never ever see in the regular season," Phillips said. "If that were so, things would be crazy."
Emotions sometimes come on an individual basis.
Phillips added: "I'm into that swag stuff."
Puerto Rico manager Edwin Rodriguez, who formerly managed in the big leagues with the Marlins, says players have to be careful not to celebrate to the point they cause injuries.
"I think that's what we have to be careful of sometimes as a manager," Rodriguez said.
The time of the year is still Spring Training. These intensely played games are occurring when players are typically getting ready to go for April.
"We have to make sure that we take care of those players, because they try to take the game way too much over what they prefer to do at this time," Rodriguez said. "[Thursday] was a good example of what the WBC is all about."