Archive | November, 2010

Cuban League to Start Sunday

CUBA – The 50th edition of the Cuban National Series will debut in Havana City on Sunday, November 28, with the reigning champion Industriales Lions meeting the Villa Clara Orangemen. Industriales rallied from a 3-2 deficit to beat Villa Clara in a seven-game thriller in the 49th Cuban League title series.

The Cuban League has featured 16 teams since 1993 with one representing each province, and two for the city of Havana. Each team is made up of players from the province it represents.

The 90-game regular season stretches from November until February, and culminates with an eight-team tournament to decide the league champion. The All-Star Game is set for February 6 while the postseason will take place from March 26 to May 1, when the Cuban National champion will be crowned.

Since 2008-2009 championship, the Cuban League has been reorganized – qualification is by zones, and not in groups as it has been the last 15 years.

The East zone consists of Villa Clara, Santiago de Cuba, Guantanamo, Ciego de Avila, Camaguey, Las Tunas, Granma and Holgiun.

Industriales resides in the West zone with La Habana, Sancti Spiritus, Pinar del Rio, Cienfuegos, Isla de la Juventud, Metropolitanos and Matanzas.

RECENT CHAMPIONS:
2009-10 – Industriales Lions
2008-09 – La Habana Cowboys
2007-08 – Santiago de Cuba Wasps
2006-07 – Santiago de Cuba Wasps
2005-06 – Industriales Lions
2004-05 – Santiago de Cuba Wasps
2003-04 – Industriales Lions
2002-03 – Industriales Lions
2001-02 – Holguin Bloodhounds
2000-01 – Santiago de Cuba Wasps

Visit BaseballdeCuba for complete Cuban League news

http://www.baseballdecuba.com/indexeng.asp

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Mexico: Mexicali To Retire Valenzuela’s Number 34

By Bruce Baskin

The Mexicali Aguilas will hold a special ceremony tonight to retire the number 34 worn by Mexican pitching legend Fernando Valenzuela, who wrapped up his storied career with the Aguilas five years ago.

The evening, which kicks off the second half of Mexican Pacific League play for the Aguilas and the visiting Culiacan Tomateros, will resemble a typical Inauguration Day event with an opening ceremony involving the Second Region Military unit honoring the Mexican flag, the national anthem played in two parts (once sung with English lyrics and once sung in Spanish), and finally a ceremony honoring the 50-year-old Valenzuela, who will be on hand for the festivities. After the game there will be fireworks and music. Spectators are being encouraged to dress up in costumes emblematic of the 1910 Revolution and prizes will be awarded to those with the best costumes.

Valenzuela, who will enter the Latin Baseball Hall of Fame next year, will be the sixth man to have his number retired in Mexicali, joining Mario Hernandez Maytorena (3), Ben “Cananea” Reyes (10), Ernesto Escarrega (14), Hector Espino (21) and Isidro Marquez (33). Efforts are being made to have Valenzuela’s number retired league-wide, a la Jackie Robinson in Major League Baseball.

Bruce Baskin is the Editor/Producer at the BASEBALL MEXICO website.

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Dominican Baseball League Update

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC – Francisco Cruceta threw two scoreless relief innings and Lucas Montero stroked three hits to help the Cibao Gigantes knock off the first-place Este Toros 4-1 Thursday night in the Dominican League.

Cruceta (2-0) fanned four and retired all six batters he faced to earn his second win this winter. The 29-year-old Dominican right-hander – who made 19 big league appearances for Cleveland, Seattle and Detroit – has struck out 11 in 8 1/3 innings while compiling a 2.16 ERA.

Montero, a 26-year-old outfielder with the Indians Double A squad Akron Aeros, raised his batting average to .296. The speedster has swiped 149 bases in five professional seasons and leads the Gigantes with seven steals.

Alexi Casilla (Twins), Wilson Betemit (Royals), Brad Nelson (FA) and Francisco Peguero (Giants) all tallied an RBI for Cibao.

AGUILAS 16, LICEY 3
Former Major Leaguer Kevin Barker homered and drove in five runs as Cibaeñas routed the Tigres. The 35-year-old Virginia native, who last played in the big leagues in 2009 with the Cincinnati Reds, batted .291 in 80 games with the Veracruz Rojos Aguila this past season in the Mexican League.

Dionys Cesar, who played in Japan this year with the Chunichi Dragons, had three hits and scored twice while free agent Willy Taveras went 2-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored.

Right-hander Claudio Vargas (4-1) tossed 3 1/3 hitless frames and struck out four to earn the win.

ESCOGIDO 7, ESTRELLAS 2
Washington Nationals prospect Eury Perez raised his batting average to .395 with a 3-for-4 effort as the Leones beat Orientales in a matchup of second-place squads. The 20-year-old Dominican, who hit .299 with 64 stolen bases in 131 games for the Hagerstown Suns (South Atlantic League) this year, leads the league with 13 steals.

Former big leaguer Willis Otanez and Deibison Romero combined for five hits and four RBIs.

Nerio Rodriguez (2-2), who compiled a 4-6 record and a 6.32 ERA in five Major League seasons, allowed three hits and racked up six strikeouts in 6 1/3 shutout innings to lower his ERA to 1.91.

DOMINICAN WINTER LEAGUE

Team Won Lost
Este Toros 18 12
Orientales Estrellas 16 14
Escogido Leones 16 14
Cibaeñas Aguilas 14 16
Licey Tigres 13 17
Cibao Gigantes 13 17

Marvin Moore is a freelance writer at i-baseballcontent.com

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Colombian Baseball League Update

COLOMBIA – Stephen Vogt drove in two scores with a double and a home run to lead the Cartagena Tigres to a 7-4 win over the Bogotá Aguilas in the first game of a doubleheader Wednesday night in action from the Colombian Professional Baseball League.

A 12th round pick by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 2007 MLB Amateur Draft, Vogt went 2-for-2 with a walk and a sacrifice. The 26-year-old Californian, who has thrown out 22 of 40 baserunners in four minor league seasons, batted .345 (127-for-368) in 2010 with the Charlotte Stone Crabs in the Florida State League.

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 26
Cartagena Tigres vs. Cali Toros
Medellín Potros vs. Barranquilla Caimanes
Bogotá Aguilas vs. Montería Leones
Cali Toros 9 – Medellín Potros 2

Veteran shortstop Juan Francia paced Cartagena with a trio of hits and two , while Scott Grimes and Hamilton Sarabia collected two hits apiece.

Former New York Mets prospect Garret Holleran scattered four runs and nine hits with four strikeouts over 6 2/3 innings to notch the win.

Edier Gonzalez and Mark Shorey both tallied a pair of hits for the Aguilas.

Bogotá rebounded to salvage a split with a 13-8 triumph in the twinbill finale. Former Arizona Diamondbacks minor leaguer Jorge Delgado led a 19-hit parade with a 4-for-4 effort and three RBIs. The 30-year-old Venezuelan first baseman suited up for the Wichita Wingnuts (American Association) earlier this year.

Juan Camacho, Carlos Villalobos and Charlie Cutler had three hits apiece and combined to drive in seven runs.

Dominican right-hander Juan Sandoval worked two innings of one-run ball out of the bullpen to earn the win.

CALI 9, MEDELLIN 2
Former Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Ray Sadler homered and double as the Cali Toros romped past the Medellín Potros. The 30-year-old Texan, who went 2-for-8 with a solo shot in three big league games in 2005, competed on the indy circuit in 2010 with the Kansas City T-Bones (NOrthern League).

First baseman Carlos Sosa also went deep and reached on three free passes, while Jimmy Mojica and Joshua Short each collected a pair of hits and a double.

Toronto Blue Jays farmhand Dumas Garcia limited Medellin to just two singles over five scoreless innings to post the win.

COLOMBIAN BASEBALL LEAGUE STANDINGS:

Team Won Lost
Barranquilla Caimanes 15 06
Montería Leones 13 10
Cartagena Tigres 10 11
Bogotá Aguilas 09 11
Medellín Potros 09 13
Cali Toros 09 14

Marvin Moore is a freelance writer at i-baseballcontent.com

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Taiwan: Chinese Professional Baseball League Awards

TAIWAN – The Brother Elephants dominated the 2010 Chinese Professional Baseball League’s (CPBL) annual award ceremony last weekend in Taipei with reigning batting champion Peng “Chia Chia” Cheng-min claiming the prestigious MVP trophy.

The Brother franchise, which swept the Sinon Bulls in this year’s Taiwan Series, had seven players that netted a whopping 16 awards. Brother skipper Chen Rei-chen was honored as the Manager of the Year.

Peng made more than a few trips to the podium to retrieve a variety of honors. The five-time batting champion was named the top first baseman as well as earning a Gold Glove award.

2010 ALL-CPBL TEAM:
CA – Cheng Da-hong, Sinon Bulls
1B – Peng Cheng-min, Brother Elephants
2B – Chen Jiang-ho, Brother Elephants
SS – Cheng Jau-hang, Sinon Bulls
3B – Huang Shih-hao, Brother Elephants
OF – Liu Fu-hao, Uni-President Lions
OF – Chang Jien-ming, Sinon Bulls
OF – Chong Cheng-yo, La New Bears
DH – Chang Tai-shan, Sinon Bulls
SP – Carlos Castillo, Brother Elephants

La New Bears long ball threat Lin Chih-sheng won the Silver Slugger award with 1,355 points. Lin also took home the awards for most home runs (21) and RBIs (79). Sinon Bulls catcher Cheng Da-hong, who stole 31 bases in 41 attempts, took home the Most Stolen bases award.

Bulls’ hitting machine Chang “OEO” Tai-shan, who surpassed 1,030 career RBIs this past season, stroked a league-high 142 hits to claim the Most Hits trophy.

Elephants ace pitcher Carlos Castillo picked up a pair of trophies for most wins (14) and a league-best 2.17 ERA, while staff mates Orlando Roman and Ryan Cullen bagged the hardware for the most strikeouts (142) and saves (34), respectively.

Uni-President Lions pitcher Wang Jing-ming (10-3) took home the Rookie of the Year award, while La New Bears hurler Wang Fong-jin was named the Most Improved Player of the Year. Wang, who spent most of the past two seasons on the bench, went 7-4 with a 2.60 ERA in 100-plus innings this year.

Another Bears’ pitcher, Tseng Jau-hao, tallied 25 holds in 2010 and earned the Top Reliever award.

2010 CPBL GOLDEN GLOVE TEAM:
CA – Kao Chih-kang, Uni-President Lions
1B – Peng Cheng-min, Brother Elephants
2B – Chen Jiang-ho, Brother Elephants
SS – Wang Sheng-wei, Brother Elephants
3B – Huang Shih-hao, Brother Elephants
OF – Chang Jien-ming, Sinon Bulls
OF – Chang Cheng-wei, Brother Elephants
OF – Liu Fu-hao, Uni-President Lions
SP – Pan Wei-luen, Uni-President Lions

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Italian League Transfers

ITALY – The Italian Baseball League club T&A San Marino has added national team slugger Jairo Ramos Gizzi for the 2011 season, according to the Italian website, baseball.it. The first baseman, who batted .325 with 11 doubles and 32 RBIs for UGF Fortitudo Bologna this past season, joins former Telemarket Rimini coach Mauro Mazzotti (general manager) and outfielder Laidel Chapelli (.322/22 RBIs/12 SB) in signing with the second-place Titans.

San Marino finished 28-14 during the regular season and swept a three-game set against Rimini in the opening round of the semi-finals. However, the Titans dropped five of their next six games to get eliminated from the playoffs.

GROSSETO TO ADD VETERAN CATCHER
Montepaschi Grosseto will reportedly sign Cariparma Parma catcher Manuel Gasparri for the 2011 campaign. Gasparri, who last suited up for Grosseto in 2004, started 30 games for the newly-crowned IBL champions in 2010 while hitting .274 with 20 RBIs.

BOLOGNA CATCHER ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT
UGF Fortitudo Bologna catcher Stefano Landuzzi will hang up his cleats as an active player. The 37-year-old captain batted .223 and started 38 games for the reigning European Club Champions Cup.

Landuzzi debuted in the IBL Serie A in 1991 and spent 19 of his 20-year career with the Bologna club. He was a past member of the Italian national team and competed at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia.

AVIGLIANA INKS AMERICAN SKIPPER
The Italian Serie B club Avigliana Baseball has signed American skipper Andy Fleischacker for the 2011 season. The Bees finished fourth in Group A of the Federal Championship this past season with a 14-16 record.

The 39-year-old led the German club Solingen Alligators to a 44-8 record the last two years. He also steered the Alligators to a pair of North Division crowns and won this year’s European Cup Qualifier.

Fleischacker is well-known in Europe having made stops in Switzerland, Austria, and Germany along with spending some time playing in Italy. He has also been an assistant coach in the United States at Greensboro College and Lake Erie College.

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Belgian League Transfers

BELGIUM – National team outfielder Steven De Lannoy is leaving the Hoboken Pioneers to join the Borgerhout Squirrels next season in the biggest move after the first transfer deadline (players from the Dutch-speaking clubs) in Belgium’s top league. De Lannoy, one of the league’s premier hitters, played a key role in helping the Pioneers capture back-to-back championships.

The 27-year-old torched opposing pitchers to the tune of .506 (41-for-81) as the Pioneers swept the surprising Deurne Spartans in the Belgian Series. The multi-talented centerfielder, who posted an impressive .620 on base percentage, also tallied 10 doubles,25 walks, 24 stolen bases and scored 41 runs,

De Lannoy batted .368 (7-for-19) with four doubles and two steals with the national team at the 2010 European Championships in Germany. The smooth-swinging, left-handed slugger finished second at the European Cup with a .471 batting average (8-for-17) with a trio of two-baggers and three stolen bases.

The Pioneers also suffered another defection when outfielder Thomas De Wolf, the lone Belgian national in the U.S. minor leagues, opted to transfer to the Brussels Astros. The left-handed hitter, who will turn 21 on Dec. 22, hit .250 (51-for-204) with 11 doubles, four triples, three home runs and 25 RBIs in 69 games for the New York Mets Rookie squad in the Dominican Summer League.

Other players leaving Hoboken includes Francisco Quinorero (Brussels Astros), Gianni Russo (Borgerhout Squirrels) and Kevin Vervloet (Borgerhout Squirrels).

BRASSCHAAT BRAVES
New skipper Filip van der Meiren welcomes Aneudy Garcia (1-1, 6.56 ERA) and Jeroen Swers (.180) from the Deurne Spartans while Gert Pissierssens and Mika Uten will suit up for the Antwerp Eagles next year.

DEURNE SPARTANS
An exodus of players and coaches – Wesley Verelst (1-1, 4.50 ERA), Harold Castillo (.333), Manuel Holguin, Maxim Arnots (.115), Elias Lugo, Manuel Martinez (.275) – to the Merchtem Cats has resulted in a roster overhaul for the 2010 league runner-up.

MORTSEL STARS
Added Andy Ruelle of the Port of Antwerp Greys while losing Craig (coach) and Jacub Huffman (2-2/.188) to the Namur Angels, and Stijn Janssens (.231) and Michael Somerlinck to Hoboken.

BORGERHOUT SQUIRRELS
Upgraded the offense significantly with the addition of batting champion Steven De Lannoy. Also added former Hoboken players Russo and Vervloet.

PORT OF ANTWERP GREYS
Former champion lost two players, David Herssens (.228), Jason Foek (.261), to the Merchtem Cats while Ruelle transferred to the Stars. Kevin Knollenburg (.268), Nick Vanthillo (.438) and Dennis van Hoof (.348/4-1, 1.70 ERA) all hung up their cleats.

MERCHTEM CATS
Lost Jonas Verhaevert but added a large cast of newcomers including Jason Foek (Port of Antwerp Greys), Carlos Martinez Yan (Brussels Astros), and the Deurne Spartans’ Manuel Martinez, Manuel Holguin and coach Elias Lugo.

NAMUR ANGELS
Ronny Heymans announced his retirement and will remain with the club as a coach. Welcomes Jacub and Craig Huffman from Mortsel.

The second deadline for players from the French-speaking clubs to announce their transfers will expire this week.

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New Zealand: Oceania Under-16 Baseball Championship Trials

Auckland, New Zealand—The most accomplished coaching staff in the history of the nation’s baseball programme has been selected to guide New Zealand’s top youth baseball players against the region’s and world’s best players, according to officials from Baseball New Zealand, the sport’s governing body based in Auckland.

Head Coach Aaron Campbell, one of the nation’s first athletes to play and coach at a university in America and who recently trained with Major League Baseball’s Chicago Cubs, has selected three equally accomplished coaches, including two with professional baseball playing experience and will begin the trial and selection process for New Zealand’s Under-16 National Baseball Team on Sunday, 28 November in Northland and Auckland.

His brother, Scott Campbell, currently a second baseman in the Toronto Blue Jays organisation, along with former Taiwanese professional and Los Angeles Dodger minor leaguer player Cola Yeh and Canadian pitching coach Matt Mills round out what people in the nation’s baseball community say is the best ever group chosen to lead New Zealand’s young baseball players.

“The combined baseball experience, at the highest levels globally, is unrivalled by past teams we’ve put together,” said Baseball New Zealand president David Ballinger. “We’ve got one current professional player, a former professional player, a great pitching coach—led by a guy who recently trained with the Cubs and who we believe is one of the best coaches in the entire region. Our Under-16 team is in good hands with this coaching staff.”

The coaching staff will be responsible for choosing a twenty (20) player roster to compete against the national teams from Guam and Australia, the latter being one of the top five teams in the world. The coaches will travel the nation, beginning this coming weekend in Northland and in Auckland, to take a look at the nation’s sporting talent, and they are prepared to scout and trial all baseball and non-baseball players born between the years of 1995-1997 (players who turn 14-16 years old in 2011). Additionally, each team may also carry three (3) players born in 1998, or those baseball players who will turn 13 years of age in 2011.

The coaching staff will initially choose up to 30 players for the Under-16 National Development Squad by 20 December, and will search databases of Kiwi players who are playing baseball in Australia, Canada or elsewhere to ensure all potential players are seen or contacted. The final squad will be selected in the second week of January 2011, with the triple round-robin tournament beginning two weeks later on 25 January and concluding on 28 January.

New Zealand’s first game will also be the tournament’s opening game and will take place at 10 am on 25 January. The game will be televised on SKY Sports.  New Zealand will take on the national team from Guam in this opening round game, followed by a game against Australia’s top 16-year-old ballplayers forty-five minutes after the conclusion of the first game. All games in the Oceania Championships will be played at Lloyd Elsmore Park on Howick-Pakuranga Baseball Club’s baseball field number one.

The Under-16 International Baseball Federation (IBAF) World Championships will be held in Lagos de Moreno, Mexico, from 20th August to 30th August, and will feature national teams representing the IBAF member regions based on regional qualification, including the winner of Oceania Championships in Pakuranga.

Courtesy BaseballNZ.org

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Mexico: Guasave Wins LMP First Half Title on “Run Average”

By Bruce Baskin

The Mexican Pacific League’s first half schedule concluded with a three-way tie for first place in the standings, and Guasave was awarded the top seed (and 8.0 points) on the basis of a so-called “run average” tiebreaker formula. Obregon finished second and Culiacan took third as all three teams finished with identical 19-16 records.

In the tiebreaker format, run average is determined by the percentage of total runs a team scored over the 34-game half in comparison with the aggregate runs of their opponents. Guasave scored 204 runs in the first half, or 125.15 percent of the 163 runs collected by their opposition. Obregon outscored their opponents, 205-181, for a run average of 113.25 to pick up 7.0 points; Culiacan led their opponents in runs, 157-148 for a 106.08 run average to gather 6.0 points for finishing third. Make sense yet?

Hermosillo, Mazatlan, Mexicali and Los Mochis were all one game out of first with 18-17 records. The Naranjeros got the nod for fourth and 5.0 points with a 112.65 run average, Mazatlan got 4.5 points for fifth at 98.07, Mexicali took sixth with an 88.82 RA for 4.0 points and Mochis came in seventh with an 88.61 RA for 3.5 points. Navojoa was the only team with a losing record at 11-24 to finish eighth with 3.5 points.

In final scores on Sunday, Mexicali shut out Guasave, 1-0, to create the three-way logjam at the top; Culiacan held off Hermosillo, 5-4; Navojoa doubled up on Mazatlan, 8-4; and Obregon overwhelmed Mochis, 8-2.

Navojoa’s Matt Young leads the batting race at the midway point with a .379 average while Hermosillo’s Luis Alfonso Cruz has 15 homers and 38 RBIs to top the circuit in both categories. Alberto Castillo of Mochis leads Mex Pac pitchers with 5 wins, Hermosillo’s Travis Blackley tops the LMP with a 2.06 ERA and Mazatlan’s Leo Rosales has 9 saves. Both Mexicali’s Andy Sisco and Rolando Valdez of Obregon have 46 strikeouts.

Bruce Baskin is the Editor/Producer at the BASEBALL MEXICO website.

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Greg Frady Named European Coach of the Year

ATLANTA – Georgia State baseball coach Greg Frady, who also heads up the German National Team, was recently announced as the European Baseball Coach of the Year in Cologne, Germany.

Frady received the award for the work he did last year with the German Baseball Organization, while helping to develop the game of baseball. On top of that, Frady led the German National team to a third place finish at the European Championship.

The third place finish marked the best finish ever for the Germans and the first time the country had received a medal in the history of the championships.

Germany opened play with four straight wins, before falling to the defending champions, The Netherlands, to advance to the second stage of three stages.

The Germans only two losses in the championship came to The Netherlands and Italy, who eventually played for the championship title.

Even more special was the fact that the championships were held in Germany, allowing the home fans to enjoy the special occasion.

Frady was named head coach of the team in 2004 and has been building it into an Olympic contender ever since. The team finished second at the World Baseball Challenge last summer, a tournament that included a 6-3 win over the United States. Two years ago, the Germans fell just two games shy of qualifying for the Beijing Olympics.

Frady is currently preparing his Georgia State team for the upcoming 2011 season. Fall practice ended a few weeks ago and the team will return to practice in January. The season opener takes place in Panthersville on Feb. 18 against Texas Southern at 6 p.m.

Courtesy of Georgia State Athletics

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American University Makes Trip to Dominican Republic

UNITED STATES – The East Regional champion and national semifinalist Franklin Pierce University baseball team will get a taste of baseball outside the United States next week, as it makes a five-day trip to the Dominican Republic over the Thanksgiving break.

While in the Dominican Republic, the Ravens will play games against the Dominican affiliates of the Boston Red Sox, Baltimore Orioles, Minnesota Twins and Kansas City Royals. In addition, the team will participate in community service by assisting with clinics for local children and by donating baseball equipment.

The Ravens will depart for the Dominican on Wednesday, Nov. 24 and return to New Hampshire on Sunday, Nov. 28. In addition to baseball-related activities, the team will have the opportunity to tour historic parts of the country and enjoy the nation’s tropical weather.

“We are all looking forward to this special trip which will be a great experience for us both on the diamond and off the field as well,” said Head Coach Jayson King. “Hopefully the experiences from this trip will be something that we will all remember for a long time to come.”

The Dominican Republic is one of the most successful baseball nations in the world, putting more players per capita in Major League Baseball than any other country. In addition to each MLB organization having an affiliate program in the Dominican, the highest level of baseball in the country is the Dominican Winter League, which features six teams composed of Major League players honing their skills in the off-season over a 60-game schedule. Franklin Pierce will attend a Dominican Winter League game as part of the trip.

The Ravens are coming off a 43-17-1 campaign in 2010 which saw the program capture its fifth NCAA Regional title in program history (2003, 2006, 2007, 2008), as well as the fourth in five seasons. Franklin Pierce went on to win two games at the NCAA Championship National Finals and finished as a national semifinalist for the third time in school history (2003, 2006).

TEAM SCHEDULE:

Wednesday, Nov. 24
• Arrive in Dominican Republic
• Practice
• Orientation

Thursday, Nov. 25
• Split-squad games against Baltimore Orioles and Minnesota Twins Dominican affiliates
• Beach time
• Evening Texas Hold ‘Em tournament

Friday, Nov. 26
• Game against Kansas City Royals Dominican affiliate
• Game against professional players in San Pedro

Saturday, Nov. 27
• Game against Boston Red Sox Dominican affiliate
• Tour of historic colonial zone in Santo Domingo
• Attend Dominican Winter League game

Sunday, Nov. 28
• Assist with youth clinic for local kids
• Depart Dominican Republic

Courtesy of Franklin Pierce Athletics

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Japan: Nippon Professional Baseball Awards

APAN – Chunichi Dragons slugger Kazuhiro Wada and Softbank Hawks ace Tsuyoshi Wada captured the Most Valuable Player award in the Central League and Pacific League, respectively. The awards are selected by the nation’s baseball writers.

Wada led Chunichi to their first league crown in four years before the Dragons fell to the Lotte Marines in the Japan Series. He batted ,339 with a career-best 37 home runs and 93 RBIs to become the oldest player to win the Central League award. Nankai Hawks slugger Hiromitsu Kadota, who was 40 when he won the MVP trophy in 1988, is the oldest player in Japan baseball to win the award.

Hisayoshi Chono of the Yomiuri Giants was selected as the Central League Rookie of the Year after hitting .288 with 19 homers in his NPB debut.

CENTRAL LEAGUE BEST NINE:
CA – Shinnosuke Abe, Yomiuri Giants
1B – Craig Brazell, Hanshin Tigers
2B – Keiichi Hirano, Hanshin Tigers
SS – Takashi Toritani, Hanshin Tigers
3B – Masahiko Morino, Chunichi Dragons
OF – Kazuhiro Wada, Chunichi Dragons
OF – Matt Murton, Hanshin Tigers
OF – Norichika Aoki, Yakult Swallows
SP – Kenta Maeda, Hiroshima Carp

Softbank’s Wada topped the Pacific League with 17 wins and a 3.13 ERA.

Nippon Ham Fighters Ryo Sakakibara was chosen as the Pacific League Rookie of the Year. The middle reliever had a 2.62 ERA and posted 10 wins out of the bullpen.

PACIFIC LEAGUE BEST NINE:
CA – Motohiro Shima, Rakuten Eagles
1B – Alex Cabrera, Orix Buffaloes
2B – Kensuke Tanaka, Nippon Ham Fighters
SS – Tsuyoshi Nishioka, Lotte Marines
3B – Eiichi Koyano, Nippon Ham Fighters
OF – Hitoshi Tamura, Softbank Hawks
OF – Takahiro Okada, Orix Buffaloes
OF – Takumi Kuriyama, Seibu Lions
DH – Kazuya Fukura, Lotte Marines
SP – Tsuyoshi Wada, Softbank Hawks

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Movie Review: Kokoyakyu: High School Baseball

Originally posted on BaseballJourneyman.com

Each year in Japan, 4,000 high schools compete for the national championship known as the “Koshien”.  They compete in regional tournaments for a chance to be one of 49 teams to make the “Koshien”. Kokoyakyu is a look at what 2 teams go through on their quest for the championship.

This movie, from PBS’s POV, follows 2 teams on their quest.  One team is a public high school in the Osaka area with the other being a private school that won the Koshien the previous year.  It’s a great look into the differences of the two types of schools and how baseball effects the rest of their daily lives. You get to see how hard it is for the public schools to compete on the same level as the private schools in terms of practice time, fields, and school work.

Not only do you get a look into how hard they practice and how dedicated they are, but you get to see other sides of the story.  Cheering is a big part of Asian athletics, and the cheer squads for the teams are no exception. They take their job very seriously and practice very hard. It’s nice to see more than just how things affect the baseball team, but seeing how the parents, the students, and the coaches are affected as well. There are some moving scenes where non-players are very emotional.

One thing I really liked about the movie was seeing how ritualistic, and on a certain level spiritualistic, the baseball culture is in Japan. When the season is over you see just how much the games mean to the players and coaches alike. There are some touching moments that I am not sure you would ever see in America. I guess that is one of the big attractions to the Asian cultures for me. They are extremely committed to excellence and their love of the games is so pure.  It’s great.

The movie also gives a look into just how difficult this tournament is and how important it is. I can’t think of a more difficult baseball tournament.  Perhaps this is why it is so well known, and it has only strengthened my desire to see some of the tournament.

I can’t stress how much I recommend this film.  I watched it on Hulu and I am sure it is still available there. The only complaint that I can think of is that is was too short.  It was only an hour long, but I understand it was made for TV, but I would have loved to see much more.

It’s a must see.  Go check out Hulu.com today.  Find it and watch it.  You will not be disappointed.

Posted in Asia, Interviews/Reviews, News0 Comments

2011 European Cup Sites Announced

The Confederation of European Baseball announced the locations for the 2011 European Cup tournaments. They will be held in Parma, Italy and Amsterdam, Netherlands.  Games will be played May 31st to June 4th or June 1st to June 5th.

The top two teams in each of the European Cups will qualify for the European Champions Cup Final Four to be held next year in Brno, Czech Republic on September 24th and 25th.

The draw for the 6 teams in each Cup was also announced.

Parma European Cup:
1. Tenerife Marlins (ESP)
2. T & A San Marino (SMA)
3. Rouen Baseball ‘76 (FRA)
4. Neptunus Rotterdam (NED)
5. Cariparma Parma Angels (ITA)
6. AVG Draci Brno (CZE)

Amsterdam European Cup:
1. L&D Amsterdam Pirates (NED)
2. Hoboken Pioneers (BEL)
3. CB Sant Boi (ESP)
4. Tornados Balashikha (RUS)
5. Buchbinder Legionaere Regensburg (GER)
6. UGF Fortitudo Bologna (ITA)

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Posted in Europe, News, Tournaments0 Comments

#1 Pick Bryce Harper Helps Scorpions take AFL Title

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The first overall pick of the 2010 MLB Draft Bryce Harper helped the Scottsdale Scorpions to the Arizona Fall League Title over the Peoria Javelinas.

The Nationals #1 pick started and hit 7th in the lineup for the Scorpions after spending most of the fall playing only a few times a week on the taxi squad. But Harper (1-for-4) came through with an RBI single to help his team.  With the score tied 1-1 in the 2nd inning, Harper hit the first pitch he saw the other way to left field for an RBI single as the Scorpions took a 2-1 lead.

AFL MVP Dustin Ackley singled and scored the first run for the Javelinas in the top of the 4th to tie the game at 2. Ackley scored on Charlie Culberson’s 2nd error of the game (his first helped the Javelinas score their first run).

The Scorpions bounced back to take the lead for good in the bottom of the 4th. Rockies outfielder Charles Blackmon doubled bringing up Nationals shortstop Steve Lombardozzi who followed with a ringing double off the wall to put Scottsdale up 3-2.

Cord Phelps (Cleveland) went 2-for-5 and Adam Loewen (Toronto) went 3-for-3 to lead the offense for Peoria. Charles Blackmon (Colorado) was the only hitter for Scottsdale with more than one hit going 2-for-2.

Sammy Solis (Washington) picked up the win going 4 innings allowing 3 hits, 2 runs (1 earned), and 1 walk with 3 strikeouts.  Cole Kimbell (Washington) picked up the save with a perfect 9th. Tom Wilhelmsen (Seattle) took the loss giving up a run in 1 inning of relief.

Dustin Ackley won the MVP after hitting .424 with 4 home runs, 19 RBI, .581 OBP, .758 SLG, and 5 SB in 20 games.

Steve Lombardozzi won the 2010 Dernell Stenson Sportsmanship Award.  The award is given to the player who best exemplifies unselfishness, hard work and leadership and is named in memory of the late Cincinnati Reds outfielder who was killed during the 2003 Arizona Fall League season.

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Posted in Minors1 Comment

Mexico: Six Teams With a Shot at LMP First Half Title on Final Day

By Bruce Baskin

Heading into the final day of the Mexican Pacific League’s first half schedule, the Guasave hold a one-game lead over five teams in perhaps the tightest points race in LMP history.

The Algodoneros are at the top of the leaderboard with a 19-15 record, one game ahead of Los Mochis, Mazatlan, Culiacan, Obregon and Hermosillo (who all sport identical 18-16 marks). Mexicali is two games back at 17-17, while hapless Navojoa is 10-24 and firmly planted in the cellar.

The first half will wrap up tonight with Mochis finishing their three-game series in Obregon, Mazatlan playing in Navojoa, Hermosillo visiting Culiacan and Guasave hosting Mexicali.

The winner of the first half will receive 8.0 points, second place is good for 7.0 and third place will net 6.0 points and so on. How a team finishes in the first half will be important when playoff seedings based on cumulative two-half point totals will be determined at the end of December. The top six teams will advance to the postseason in January.

Bruce Baskin is the Editor/Producer at the BASEBALL MEXICO website.

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Posted in Latin1 Comment

Europe: 2010 American Imports All-Stars

A trio of former Major League pitchers – Kris Wilson, Jim Brower and Mike Hartley – headline the 2010 i-baseballcontent.com European Leagues American Import All-Stars.

The 33-year-old Wilson (pictured) had a 14-9 record with an ERA of 5.44 in 95 MLB appearances (20 starts). He struck out 142 batters in 243 1/3 innings with 68 walks. This past season for Danesi Nettuno of the Italian Baseball League (IBL), the right-hander posted a 7-4 record with 70 strikeouts and a 2.50 ERA in 75 2/3 innings.

Brower, who tossed a no-hitter in his IBL debut, suited up for eight different MLB teams. The 38-year-old righty went 8-4 with 69 strikeouts and a 2.38 ERA in 83 1/3 innings for the Telemarket Rimini Pirates.

Hartley, who suited up for the Dodgers, Phillies, Twins and Red Sox in more than 200 Major League appearances, guided the Heidenheim Heidekoepfe to the European Champions Cup Final Four title game this past season. The 49-year-old skipper led the German South Division club to its first national championship in 2009, and lost in the Bundesliga championship series this year against the Regensburg Legionaere.

Other notable Americans having success on European diamonds this past season includes first baseman Gary Burnham and pitchers Patrick Ahearne and Eddie Aucoin.

Burnham signed with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2007 and spent a decade in the minor leagues with several organizations. The 35-year-old, who has also played in Taiwan and Japan, batted .329 with 11 doubles, four home runs, 21 walks and 24 RBIs for the Godo Knights.

Ahearne played a lone season (1995) in the big leagues but won 114 games and logged more than 2,000 innings in a long minor league career. The 40-year-old compiled a 5-0 record in 2010 with 39 strikeouts and a 1.41 ERA in 44 2/3 innings for Czech powerhouse AVG Draci Brno.

Aucoin, who compiled a 17-1 record on the indy circuit, is a well-travelled pitcher who has played in Colombia, Germany and the Netherlands. The 35-year-old went 7-5 with 67 strikeouts and a 1.72 ERA in 94 innings with the Hoofddorp Pioniers this past season.

2010 American Imports All-Stars

C – Tyson Jaquez, Dohren Wild Farmers (Germany)
Batted .429 with seven doubles, five homers, 21 runs scored and 23 RBIs.

C – Whitney Pierce, Schwaz Tigers (Austria)
Aurian League MVP hit .423 with nine doubles, six home runs, 25 walks and 41 RBIs.

C – Bryce Enewold, Karlskoga Bats (Sweden)
Batted .387 with eight doubles, 30 runs scored, 18 walks and 15 RBIs.

1B – Ty Ericksen, Haar Disciples (Germany)
Hit .376 with five doubles, 18 walks, 26 runs scored and 23 RBIs.

1B – Gary Burnham, Godo Knights (Italy)
Batted .329 with 11 doubles, four home runs, 21 walks and 24 RBIs.

1B – Brian Hipps, Zurich Challengers (Switzerland)
Hit .469 with 13 doubles, two homers, 34 runs scored, 16 walks and 25 RBIs.

2B – Zach Kim, Haar Disciples (Germany)
Batted .350 with 12 doubles, 22 walks, 14 steals, 39 runs scored and 18 RBIs.

SS – Evan Porter, Solingen Alligators (Germany)
Hit .402 with six doubles, four home runs, 37 runs scored and 22 RBIs.

SS – Matthew Vance, Buchbinder Legionaere (Germany)
Batted .424 with 11 doubles, five homers, 17 steals, 37 runs scored and 24 RBIs.

SS – Dennis Kelly, Mannheim Tornados (Germany)
Hit .425 with 10 doubles, six home runs, 23 walks, 19 steals, 39 runs scored and 26 RBIs.

SS – Kory Twede, Gauting Indians (Germany)
Batted .385 with nine doubles, four homers, 12 steals, 22 runs scored and 17 RBIs.

SS – Chris Beck, Heidenheim Heidekoepfe (Germany)
Hit .422 with seven doubles, 16 walks, 15 steals, 30 runs scored and 22 RBIs.

3B – Shawn Vance, Sundbyberg Heat (Sweden)
Batted .471 with 12 doubles, three home runs, 32 runs scored and 43 RBIs.

3B – Daniel Meier, Paderborn Untouchables (Germany)
Hit .339 with eight doubles, six homers, 23 runs scored and 24 RBIs.

OF – Jordan Pennington, Montpellier Barracudas (France)
Hit .436 with 11 doubles, five triples, 29 runs scored, 28 RBIs and 41 hits.

OF – Joseph Slater, Cologne Cardinals (Germany)
Batted .333 with six doubles, 13 steals, 25 runs scored and 34 hits.

OF – Kevin Malone, Valencia Astros (Spain)
Batted .394 with eight doubles, six homers, 44 runs scored and 31 RBIs.

OF – Tim Stewart, Savigny Lions (France)
Hit .341 with nine doubles, three homers, 24 runs scored and 25 RBIs.

SP – Jim Brower, Telemarket Rimini (Italy)
Went 8-4 with 69 strikeouts and a 2.38 ERA in 83 1/3 innings.

SP – Terrence Antonacci, Hoboken Pioneers (Belgium)
Posted an 8-0 record with 62 strikeouts and an 0.92 ERA in 59 innings.

SP – Eddie Aucoin, Hoofddorp Pioniers (Netherlands)
Went 7-5 with 67 strikeouts and a 1.72 ERA in 94 innings.

SP – Patrick Ahearne, AVG Draci Brno (Czech Republic)
Posted a 5-0 record with 39 strikeouts and a 1.41 ERA in 44 2/3 innings.

SP – Cody Cillo, UGF Bologna (Italy)
Compiled a 6-3 mark with 67 strikeouts and a 2.75 ERA in 72 innings.

SP – Daniel Meier, Paderborn Untouchables (Germany)
Went 7-5 with 94 strikeouts and a 1.58 ERA in 102 1/3 innings.

SP – Reed Brown, Stock City Cubs (Austria)
Compiled an 8-4 mark with 158 K’s and a 2.06 ERA in 105 innings.

SP – Bobby Carrington, ADO (Netherlands)
Went 3-3 with 77 strikeouts and a 1.82 ERA in 79 innings.

SP – Dusty Bergman, Heidenheim Heidekoepfe (Germany)
Posted a 5-1 record with 62 strikeouts and a 2.81 ERA in 64 innings.

SP – Jason Enewold, Karlskoga Bats (Sweden)
Went 8-4 with 74 strikeouts and a 1.89 ERA in 81 innings.

SP – Josh Rickards, Solingen Alligators (Germany)
Posted a 9-2 record with 101 strikeouts and a 1.21 ERA in 82 innings.

SP – Kris Wilson, Danesi Nettuno (Italy)
Went 7-4 with 70 strikeouts and a 2.50 ERA in 75 2/3 innings.

SP – Ben Grover, L&D Amsterdam (Netherlands)
Posted a 5-1 record with 42 strikeouts and a 1.93 ERA in 84 innings.

SP – Vince DeCoito, Dohren Wild Farmers (Germany)
Compiled an 8-5 mark with 10 complete games, 136 K’s and a 2.94 ERA in 110 1/3 frames.

SP – Chris Cooper, Montepaschi Grosseto (Italy)
Posted a 4-4 mark with 49 strikeouts and a 2.38 ERA in 75 2/3 innings.

RP – Chris Di Roma, Telemarket Rimini (Italy)
Went 1-1 with eight saves, 37 strikeouts and a 1.64 ERA in 44 innings.

RP – Kyle Ward, Mr. Cocker HCAW (Netherlands)
Went 5-4 with 36 strikeouts and a 2.59 ERA in 48 2/3 innings.

RP – Marco Grifantini, Cariparma Parma (Italy)
Posted a 5-0 record with four saves, 46 strikeouts and an 1.85 ERA in 48 2/3 innings.

COACH – Mike Hartley, Heidenheim Heidekoepfe (Germany)
Led squad to the finals of the European Final Four and the German League.

Photo courtesy of Ferrini/FIBS

Marvin Moore is a freelance writer at i-baseballcontent.com

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Posted in Europe1 Comment

Mexico: Soria Sends Message to Academy Rookies

By Bruce Baskin

Kansas City Royals pitcher Joakim Soria, Mexico’s 2010 National Sports Award winner, recently sent a message to the young players at the baseball academy in the Monterrey suburb of El Carmen. Himself a product of the academy, Soria encouraged the current crop of rookies to “listen to their instructors and always try to give just a little bit more then they’re asked to do because it always brings dividends.”

Soria was selected to his second MLB All-Star Game this year on the way to a career-best 43 saves and a sparkling 1.72 ERA. The 26-year-old Monclova native has saved 115 games the past three years for a Kansas City team that has won just 207 games in that span, and set the career record for saves by a Mexican pitcher with 132.

Soria was in Monclova during the Academy Rookie League’s All-Star Weekend to visit a local foundation’s sports complex under construction, and commented that youngsters who attend the facility in the future will have the opportunity to be developed in different disciplines, and that he wants to serve as a springboard for those who decide to dedicate themselves to sports in a professional way.

Bruce Baskin is the Editor/Producer at the BASEBALL MEXICO website.

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Posted in Latin0 Comments

Interview with Author Thomas E. Van Hyning

Interview with Thomas E. Van Hyning
By Ismael Nunez

PUERTO RICO – Here’s a little trivia. Besides holding the Major League Baseball record for lifetime steals, he also holds the record for lifetime stolen bases in the Puerto Rican Winter League. And, he is a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame. Who is he? Ricky Henderson!

What do these other Hall of Famers Johnny Bench, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Bob Gibson, Mike Schmidt, Cal Ripken and Tony Gywnn have in common? They all played in the Puerto Rican Winter League!

Two books of which this reporter recommends (two favorites of my baseball book collection) Puerto Rico’s Winter League: A History of Major League Baseball’s Launching Pad And the other The Santurce Crabbers: Sixty Seasons of Puerto Rican Winter League Baseball. Two books which give a proud history of the island/nation’s contribution to baseball. Here’s more Monte Irvin (who was idolized by Roberto Clemente), Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson, all major stars in the Negro Leagues played in PR. Hall of Fame Manager got his first gig managing there. The two books (published by McFarland, 1-800-253-2187; available from Amazon) don’t just focus on the players; there are chapters on umpires, beat reporters, fans.

Recently Puerto Rican Sun Puerto Rican Sun had the honor to interview this proud writer online. Van Hyning was getting ready to attend for a trip to Cooperstown.

Q: A lot of people likely say: “How did you, an Anglo or Gringo, born and raised in the United States end up in Puerto Rico?

A: My family moved to Puerto Rico in September 1956, when I was two on a cargo ship from Baltimore, Maryland to San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Q: So growing up there you had not problem with no one, no problem with the language, culture, did you enjoy the food? Were you ever bullied coming from a different country?

A: I grew up during the 1960s in Santurce; later, Hato Rey, Puerto Rico. I Developed good friendships with buddies – played little league and high school ball. I loved the local fruits; the arroz con pollo (rice and chicken). At the time, there was no cable TV – just a few local TV stations with Spanish programming. I spoke English at home; and Spanish on the streets. My last name – Van Hyning – was kind of strange for some so my friends called me Tommy.

Q: Can you dance to the music beat of Bomba/Plena or Salsa? Any favorite musicians from Puerto Rico you admire?

A: I can dance to the Salsa. I admired Ruth Fernández who is from Ponce. She is a fine Plena singer and was a Ponce Lions fan in the Puerto Rico Winter League! I liked Jose Feliciano’s (from Lares, originally) music; the old romantic music from the Island through trios – Los Panchos, Danny Rivera and some 1960s rock & roll stars like Lucecita Benitez, Chucho Avellanet, Julio Angel. I also liked Herman Santiago, who sang with Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers, was a New Yorker of Puerto Rico descent, with a lot of doo wop talent.

Q: Focusing on the books: Do you have a background in journalism, literature or sports writing? Did you conduct the interviews in Spanish or English?

A: I did two years of sports writing at a small college in Pennsylvania (1991-93); but developed writing skills as a Grants Writer in Puerto Rico and Southern Illinois, from 1977 to 1987. Was able to conduct the interviews in both Languages–fluent in Spanish. Roberto Alomar was impressed with my Spanish, when I interviewed him before a March 1992 Spring Training game in Florida.

Q: There is a Puerto Rican Community here in New York City, and in other cities across this country. Most are not aware of these names, Perucho Cepeda and Francisco Coimbre. Should they be voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, like several Negro League Players?

A: Yes. Francisco “Pancho” Coimbre–definitely, with his years as a star with the New York Cubans. Coimbre played for five Ponce championship teams in Puerto Rico, during the 1940s – and did not strike out in three straight seasons! Perucho Cepeda never played in the U.S. Negro Leagues, but outperformed many of the U.S. Negro Leaguers in Puerto Rico. Perucho was a terrific short stop – later a star at first base, like his son. Perucho played for the Guayama Witches in the Puerto Rico Winter League, when it was called a “Semi-Pro” League. Satchel Paige was a teammate of Perucho in 1939-40 Guayama team which won the Puerto Rico title, plus the U.S. Semi-Pro Baseball Championship, as well.

Q: Almost every ballplayer interviewed had a good experience did any of them had a bad experience? Like the language or racial problems.

A: The U.S. Negro Leaguers were treated like “kings” in Puerto Rico – ate at the best restaurants; got “Player of the Week” gifts like nice suits, ties, shoes. They all appreciated Puerto Rico. Perhaps a few players from the 1950s on did not get used to the environment, and if they “did not produce” – they were sent home and replaced by “another Import”. One imported player told me his wife asked for a divorce after his season in Puerto Rico, plus the kids got sick, the few months they were there. Definitely a bad experience!

Q: Several Negro League players from Satchel Paige, Monte Irvin, along with several other Latin ballplayers from other countries Tetelo Vargas(Dominican Republic) and Tony Perez(Cuba) played there. What was their experience like?

A: Satchel Paige had a bit of a sore arm in the late 1930s – but his 1939-40 season in Puerto Rico–was great with a 19-3 record, and 208 strikeouts in 205 innings pitched. Both the wins (19) and K’s (208) are still Puerto Rico Winter League single season records. Paige only had to pitch on weekends (Saturdays-Sundays) during the 1939-40 season ( 28-week season) which consisted of 56 games per team. So he could “take it easy” during the week – stay loose with some mid-week throwing to his Puerto Rico buddy, Cefo Conde. Plus, William Perkins, an outstanding Negro Leagues catcher, was Satchel Paige’s catcher with Guayama (1939-40).

Monte Irvin told me how much he appreciated Puerto Rico’s fans– they were a pleasure to play for. The quality of play on the Island helped Monte Irvin refine his skills from 1940 to 1947. San Juan’s bat boy Freddie Thon (the dad of ex-big leaguer, Dickie, a shortstop with Houston, San Diego, Philadelphia, Texas and Milwaukee) told me, “I was told that Monte Irvin and Larry Doby [who were San Juan Senators teammates in 1946-47], were actually the ones selected to break the color line (not Jackie Robinson), but Irvin got hurt and as we all know, and Robinson and Doby ended up being the ones (to break the color barrier, in the National League and American League, respectively).

Irvin and Doby both played second base in Puerto Rico. And Irvin got a game-winning pinch hit for San Juan, once, with his left wrist in a cast! Juan E. “Tetelo” Vargas–The “Dominican Deer”–hit .320 (or .321, depending on the source) during 16 Puerto Rico winter seasons. Was a teammate of Perucho Cepeda and Satchel Paige on that great 1939-40 Guayama team. Later played in the same outfield with Henry (Hank) Aaron and Jim Rivera with the 1953-54 Caguas Criollos, champions of the Puerto Rico League; and the Caribbean Series, hosted by Puerto Rico.

I saw Tony Pérez – called Tany in Puerto Rico – hit a game-winning home run in the 1964-65 Puerto Rico season against the Arecibo Wolves. This was at Hiram Bithorn Municipal Stadium. Tony hit .303 in his 10 seasons with Santurce including an MVP season in 1966-67. I’ve had several conversations with Tony who is a very nice person. He last played in Puerto Rico in 1982-83 when he was 40.

Q: You have chapters in both books dedicated to Roberto Clemente. Currently there is a movement to have his number 21 to be retired. Agree or disagree?

A: I Agree. I saw Roberto Clemente at a baseball clinic in 1966. A very fine person – a real humanitarian. I had the honor of watching him play for and manage the San Juan Senators, 1967-68 (player); and 1970-71 (manager). Clemente activated himself for the 1970-71 semi-final series against the Santurce Crabbers. I recall that Reggie Jackson, playing RF for Santurce, threw Clemente out at home in a close play. A huge amount of fan excitement at that time. Later, in the 1971 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, Jackson and Clemente hit home runs. Clemente hit .323 lifetime in 15 Puerto Rico seasons.

Q: Thank you very much for your time.

A: You are welcome

Photo courtesy of Amazon Books

(Ismael Valdez is a Puerto Rican sports writer and a BaseballdeWorld Latin Correspondent.)

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Posted in Interviews/Reviews, Latin1 Comment

2010 All-European Team

The 2010 I-BaseballContent.com All-European team is loaded with talent, featuring nine players who played key roles in helping their respective squads reach the championship series in both Italy and the Netherlands.

The 17-man first team, chosen by performances this past season and picked by former European coach and international baseball writer Marvin Moore, features a Triple Crown winner, front-of-the-rotation pitchers, line drive hitters and batters who hit for high averages.

Neptunus veteran slugger Raily Legito was tabbed as the Most Valuable Player. The versatile third baseman batted .340 with 18 extra-base hits, 35 RBIs and 11 stolen bases to help lead the Rotterdam club to back-to-back Dutch Series championships.

T&A San Marino centerfielder Carlos Duran was named the top offensive performer after becoming the first player since 1981 to win the Italian Baseball League (IBL) triple crown. The sweet-swinging lefty from Venezuela topped the league in batting average (.349), home runs (six), RBIs (39), hits (61) and runs scored (37).

Cariparma skipper Gilberto Gerali is the top manager after steering Parma to their first IBL crown since 1997.

The following are the first, second and honorable mention I-BaseballContent.com All-European teams for 2010.

2010 ALL-EUROPEAN BASEBALL FIRST TEAM

CATCHER
Sidney de Jong, L&D Amsterdam (Netherlands)

FIRST BASE
Jairo Ramos, UGF Assicurazioni Bologna (Italy)

SECOND BASE
Davide Dallospedale, Cariparma Parma (Italy)

SHORTSTOP
Tony Granadillo, Pamplona (Spain)

THIRD BASE
Raily Legito, Neptunus (Netherlands)

OUTFIELD
Carlos Duran, T&A San Marino (Italy)
Dirk vant’ Klooster, Corendon Kinheim (Netherlands)
Bryan Engelhardt, Corendon Kinheim (Netherlands)

DESIGNATED HITTER
Maximiliano De Biase, T&A San Marino (Italy)

STARTING PITCHERS
Leon Boyd, Neptunus (Netherlands)
Rob Cordemans, L&D Amsterdam (Netherlands)
Jesus Matos, UGF Assicurazioni Bologna (Italy)
David Bergman, Corendon Kinheim (Netherlands)
Henry Bonilla, T&A San Marino (Italy)
Terence Antonacci, Hoboken Pioneers (Belgium)

RELIEF PITCHERS
Michiel van Kampen, Corendon Kinheim (Netherlands)
Victor Moreno, UGF Assicurazioni Bologna (Italy)
Marco Grifantini, Cariparma Parma (Italy)

MANAGER
Gilberto Gerali, Cariparma Parma (Italy)

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER
Raily Legito, Neptunus (Netherlands)

OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Carlos Duran, T&A San Marino (Italy)

2010 ALL-EUROPEAN BASEBALL SECOND TEAM:

CA – Martijn Meeuwis, Neptunus (Netherlands)
1B – Richard Montiel, Tenerife Marlins (Spain)
2B – Benjamin Dille, Neptunus (Netherlands)
SS – Juan Carlos Infante, UGF Assicurazioni Bologna (Italy)
SS – Marco Yepez, Cariparma Parma (Italy)
3B – Orlando Munoz, Cariparma Parma (Italy)
OF – Bas de Jong, L&D Amsterdam (Netherlands)
OF – Juan Camilo, Cariparma Parma (Italy)
OF – Wuillians Vasquez, Mr. Cocker HCAW (Netherlands)
DH – Jeffrey Arends, Neptunus (Netherlands)
SP – Diegomar Markwell, Neptunus (Netherlands)
SP – Sandy Patrone, Telemarket Rimini (Italy)
SP – Dushan Ruzic, Neptunus (Netherlands)
SP – Patrik Ahearne, AVG Draci Brno (Czech Republic)
SP – Junior Guerra, Sant Boi (Spain)
SP – Tiago Da Silva, T&A San Marino (Italy)
SP – Jim Brower, Telemarket Rimini (Italy)
SP – Trevor Caughey, Technika Brno (Czech Republic)
SP – Roberto Corradini, Cariparma Parma (Italy)
RP – Chris Di Roma, Telemarketr Rimini (Italy)
RP – Dave Draijer, Hoofddorp Pioniers (Netherlands)
RP – Pedro Orta, Cariparma Parma (Italy)
RP – Hector Perozo, Navarra (Spain)
RP – Berry van Driel, Neptunus (Netherlands)
RP – Fabio Milano, UGF Assicurazioni Bologna (Italy)

2010 ALL-EUROPEAN BASEBALL HONORABLE MENTION:

CA – Juan Angrisano, UGF Assicurazioni Bologna (Italy)
CA – Petr Cech, Buchbinder Legionaere (Germany)
CA – Tyson Jaquez, Dohren Wild Farmers
1B – Gary Burnham, Godo Knights (Italy)
1B – Lino Connel, Danesi Nettuno (Italy)
1B – Magnus Pilegard, Stockholm (Sweden)
1B – Jan Drabek, Eagles Praha (Czech Republic)
1B – David Gauthier, Rouen Huskies (France)
2B – Emmanuel Febles, FC Barcelona (Spain)
2B – Martin Schneider, AVG Draci Brno (Czech Republic)
SS – Larry Jose Infante, Navarra (Spain)
SS – Danny Sandoval, Montepaschi Grosseto (Italy)
SS – Matthew Vance, Heidenheim Heidekoepfe (Germany)
SS – Jakub Hajtmar, AVG Draci Brno (Czech Republic)
SS – Dennis Kelly, Mannheim Tornados (Germany)
SS – Aaron Hornostaj, Rouen Huskies (France)
3B – Marc Carrillo, Sant Boi (Spain)
3B – Bart Gabriels, Mr. Cocker HCAW (Netherlands)
3B – Shawn Vance, Sundbyberg Heat (Sweden)
3B – Dominik Wulf, Solingen Alligators (Germany)
OF – Laidel Chapelli, Telemarket Rimini (Italy)
OF – Kenny Berkenbosch, L&D Amsterdam (Netherlands)
OF – Tim Stewart, Savigny Lions (France)
OF – Robert Gruber, Heidenheim Heidekoepfe (Germany)
OF – Steven De Lannoy, Hoboken Pioneers (Belgium)
OF – Lennart Koster, Hoofddorp Pioniers (Netherlands)
OF – Kenji Hagiwara, Rouen Huskies (France)
OF – Kevin Malone, Valencia Astros (Spain)
OF – Sascha Lutz, Mannheim Tornados (Germany)
SP – Enorbel Marquez-Ramirez, Telemarket Rimini (Italy)
SP – Eddie Aucoin, Hoofddorp Pioniers (Netherlands)
SP – Boris Bokaj, Buchbinder Legionaere (Germany)
SP – Juan Jose Lopez, Navarra (Spain)
SP – Jason Enewold, Karlskoga Bats (Sweden)
SP – Andre Hughes, Solingen Alligators (Germany)
SP – Joakim Claesson, Stockholm (Sweden)
SP – Kris Wilson, Danesi Nettuno (Italy)
SP – Markus Winkler, Heidenheim Heidekoepfe (Germany)
SP – Tim Henkenjohann, Bonn Capitals (Germany)
RP – Al Morales, L&D Amsterdam (Netherlands)
RP – Ruben Fente, Sant Boi (Spain)
RP – Remigio Leal, Danesi Nettuno (Italy)
RP – Wayne Ough, AVG Draci Brno (Czech Republic)
RP – Jose Escalona, T&A San Marino (Italy)

TOMORROW: 2010 European Leagues American Import All-Stars

Marvin Moore is a freelance writer at i-baseballcontent.com

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Posted in Europe, News1 Comment

USA Baseball Announces 2011 Collegiate Coaches

Mizzou’s Jamieson to lead ’11 CNT

Walton, Van Horn, Stricklin named asst. coaches

DURHAM, N.C. — USA Baseball announced the four members of the 2011 Collegiate National Team coaching staff on Thursday. Missouri’s Tim Jamieson will manage the club next summer, and he will be joined by pitching coach Rob Walton (Oral Roberts) and assistant coaches Dave Van Horn (Arkansas) and Scott Stricklin (Kent State).

Jamieson and Walton made their Team USA debuts together on the 2005 Collegiate National Team coaching staff, serving as an assistant coach and the pitching coach, respectively, for manager Steve Smith of Baylor. Van Horn and Stricklin will both be wearing the red, white and blue for the first time.

“We are thrilled to announce Tim Jamieson as our 2011 manager,” said Eric Campbell, USA Baseball General Manager of National Teams. “His experience from 2005 — coaching players like David Price, Matt Wieters and Matt LaPorta — will serve him well, and teaming him with Dave Van Horn, Scott Stricklin and Rob Walton will provide our athletes with a unique opportunity to learn from some of the best college coaches in the game. Once again, the college coaching community has rallied around the Collegiate National Team program.”

Tim Jamieson enters his 17th season as the head coach of the Missouri Tigers in 2011. He is the second-winningest coach in Mizzou baseball history and will begin the 2011 campaign with a career record of 544-382-2. In 2009, Jamieson passed legendary head coach John “Hi” Simmons on the university’s all-time win list and trails only Gene McArtor’s 733 victories. While with the 2005 Collegiate Team, Jamieson helped lead Team USA to a 16-4 record, which included games played in Japan and Taiwan. He was accompanied that summer by Missouri players Max Scherzer and Hunter Mense, the first Collegiate National Team representatives for MU since 1991.

ORU’s Rob Walton returns for his third stint with Team USA. In addition to his time with the 2005 club, Walton managed the 2008 USA Baseball Collegiate National Team, which, in finishing an undefeated 24-0, is widely considered one of the greatest U.S. Collegiate Teams of all time. Known as one of the top pitching minds in baseball, Walton helped lead an ’08 staff that featured the likes of Stephen Strasburg, Mike Leake, Mike Minor and Kyle Gibson. Walton will be entering his eighth season as manager of the Golden Eagles in 2011. He owns a 290-120 (.707) record over that span, and he is a four-time Summit League Coach of the Year.

Next spring will mark Dave Van Horn’s ninth season as head coach of Arkansas. In 2010, the Razorbacks made it through to their second consecutive super regional for the first time ever, and they later advanced to Omaha for the sixth time in program history. Four Arkansas players were drafted in the first five rounds of the 2010 Major League First-Year Player Draft, including Zack Cox who went No. 25 overall to St. Louis. Van Horn holds a career record of 319-179 (.641) at Arkansas and an overall record of 904-419 (.683) in 22 years as a head coach.

Scott Stricklin enters his seventh season as head coach of the Kent State baseball program in 2011. The Kent State alum and 2006 Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year has guided his alma mater to a 222-128 overall record, including five MAC championships and three NCAA tournament appearances. The Golden Flashes closed out the 2010 regular season with their fourth MAC East Division crown in five years, and they won five elimination games in three days to capture the MAC tournament title and earn a trip to the NCAA Los Angeles Regional — its second consecutive NCAA berth.

The Collegiate National Team is coming off a 16-3 2010 season which ended in a heart-breaking loss in the gold medal final of the FISU World University Championships in Japan. The U.S. lost 4-3 in extra innings to a Cuban team featuring several players from its top-level National Team. The 2011 schedule is highlighted by five games against Japan, marking the 38th time the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team has met the Japan Collegiate All-Stars in an international friendship series. The complete 2011 schedule has yet to be announced.

Courtesy USABaseball.com

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Posted in College, News1 Comment

Interview: Adrian Burgos, author, Playing America’s Game: Baseball, Latinos, and the Color Line

Interview of Adrian Burgos, author of Playing America’s Game: Baseball, Latinos, and the Color Line
By Ishmael Nunez

1-A single Latin-American was not voted to the all-century team?

Does that still hurt, still mad?

The absence of Roberto Clemente from the all-century team is a major issue on several levels. One matter is a logistical argument about how Major League Baseball (MLB) officials skipped over Clemente in naming Stan Musial the 25th player to the all-century: Clemente had secured more votes among outfielders than Musial. Another more significant issue is that MLB (as well as many voters) chose not to recognize the beyond-the-statistics dimension to what Roberto Clemente represents to the history of the game and as a 20th century figure.

Clemente was a transformative figure who pushed for respect of Latinos and their culture on and off the playing field specifically in his willing to openly denounce racist and cultural bigoted beliefs that predominated during that time inside of baseball circles as well as in US society. Whether Clemente is the greatest outfielder or rightfielder in baseball history is a debatable matter, but whether he is one of the most important baseball figures of the 20th century is without debate. An all-century team without Clemente and all he represented to the game’s history is just not right. The fact that MLB had the discretion to address this oversight and opted not to is telling of the need for an understanding of baseball history through a Latino framework.

2-Focusing on the book, one thing people are not aware is that there were Latinos playing baseball long before Jackie Robinson.  Why we are not given the credit for opening the doors for other peoples of color?

The full story of Latinos in US professional baseball is unknown to the American baseball public. Many do not know that over fifty foreign-born and US-born Latinos performed in the Majors from the 1880s through 1947, when Jackie Robinson began the dismantling of organized baseball’s color line. Fewer realize that the overwhelming majority of Latinos who played in the States during the era of baseball’s segregation performed in the Negro Leagues, over 250 Latinos played in the Black baseball circuit starting in 1900.

In Playing America’s Game I argue that the manner that Major League team officials manipulated racial understandings served as a template for how Branch Rickey would approach the official launch of the racial integration of Major League Baseball: he like they placed fellow owners in the odd position of having to publicly express opposition to the inclusion of these players. Indeed, officials for teams such as the Cincinnati Reds, Boston Braves, New York Giants, and, most notably, Washington Senators, brokered access for lighter-skinned Latinos in the 1900s and by the mid-1930s began to allow increasingly darker, more racially ambiguous Latino players into the Majors. However, these Latino players were not given the same exact treatment as Jackie Robinson did, because these officials were not engaged in trying to overturn the color line system of racial division but rather to manipulate it for their own gain—signing talented Latino players for lower salaries than what they would earn if they were white Americans.

3-In your book you describe the many obstacles Latino Ballplayers had to face.  For example speaking English!  Do they still face these problems?

Language continues to be a prominent obstacle that Latinos encounter as they enter the US playing fields. This especially since MLB organizations continues to scour the Dominican and Venezuelan landscape in search of young, malleable talent. Fortunately, a number of organizations such as the Tampa Rays, Boston Red Sox, and New York Mets have developed more sophisticated approaches to dealing with the cultural adjustment that these teenagers face as they become men as minor leaguers in the United States. Even still the ability to overcome the rigors of cultural adaptation proves just about as significant a challenge as mastering hitting (or throwing) a big league curveball.

Learning to navigate the English-language press remains an extremely challenging obstacle once they “make it” in the United States. It is in the press coverage of Latinos we continue to see how Latino difference as racial beings constantly in production. For example, during last year’s American League Divisional Series Manny Ramirez became embroiled in a controversy after stating that he was not worried whether the Red Sox would defeat Cleveland, because his team had been down before and had overcome a 3-game-to-none deficit in defeating the New York Yankees a few years earlier. Some stated this was another example of “Manny being Manny,” but what really perturbed me was hearing a prominent ESPN reporter stating that Manny did not know what he was saying because he lacked mastery over the English language. What?! Manny came over from the Dominican Republic at ten years old and was schooled in the United States before graduating from George Washington High School in Washington Heights (NYC). But this reporter lumped all Latinos into a familiar stereotype, and then he used that to frame his analysis. And thus continues a practice of portraying Latino players as ignorant, dumb, or not as smart as the white American player, a practice that dates back to the earliest era of Latino participation in organized baseball.

4-Ken Burns “Baseball” documentary didn’t mention anything about the contribution of Latinos.  What should’ve been done, it’s not the first time Latinos have been excluded from his documentaries. True!

A friend once observed that in the entirety of Burns’ “Baseball” approximately five minutes focused on Latinos … and three of those were strictly about Clemente. The analogy I often make is that while the Negro Leagues received about a half inning of focused attention, Latino baseball got a couple warm-up pitches.

However, what Burns missed in 1994 is rightfully receiving its due attention. Next May the National Baseball Hall of Fame will open a permanent exhibit on Latino baseball Viva Baseball! (A project I and a number of other Latino baseball experts consulted on). Also noteworthy PBS aired an episode of American Experience on Roberto Clemente this past April. There are a number of documentaries on Latino baseball that have aired over the last several years on networks such as Spike and ESPN. And there are a few in production that are addressing this gap, including El Beisbol directed by AP Gonzalez and Nancy Ooey. Importantly, Gonzalez and Ooey’s project is seeking to present a historical interpretation of baseball through a Latino-centered focus, much like my book, they are hoping to convey how does baseball history look differently when we see Latinos as central to the story of its evolution and not as tangential where Latinos are presented are newly arrived and lacking a history.

5-In the book you mentioned Alex Pompez, who was elected the Hall of Fame.  Pompez was involved with organize crime figures, gambling.  Yet Pete Rose has been banned, excluded from the Hall.  Is there a difference?

Indeed there are important differences in terms of historical moments, racial status, and baseball.

Rose played his entire career in baseball’s integrated era, and as a white American did not have to endure what those who pioneered integration in organized baseball did or much less deal with the reality of the color line (in the negative sense) as African Americans and the overwhelming majority of Latino players did. On the other hand, Pompez participation in US professional baseball spanned the different eras of baseball. He launched his Cuban Stars team in 1916 and participated in the Negro Leagues until 1950 at which point he disbanded his team and was hired as a scout by the NY Giants, a position that evolved into becoming their director of international scouting and which until his death in 1974.

The rules against gambling were spelled out for Rose by the Major Leagues; he knew them and knowingly broke them—something he admitted to after over a decade of adamant denials. Pompez was not alone among owners in the Negro Leagues in using proceeds from the numbers scene to bankroll his baseball operation; it was a reflection of the impact and pervasiveness of racial segregation in American society and how it so shaped economic opportunities.

6-The New York Cubans won the Negro League Championship in 1947.

Same year which was the start of from 1947-57 a New York City Baseball team would win a title. Hardly no talk about this team why?

The NY Cubans were one of three NYC-based teams to enjoy a banner season in 1947, and yes they are the least discussed in part because the other two were the Brooklyn Dodgers and NY Yankees. So there is the issue of timing. The NY Cubans enjoyed their greatest success in the Negro Leagues during the same year that Jackie Robinson initiated the dismantling of organized baseball’s color line system.

Another part of the reason the Cubans team suffers today from a lack of attention is the misperception that they were not a significant team in the Negro Leagues or in New York. Much to the contrary, a look at two main Black weeklies published in NYC (the New York Age and Amsterdam News) one sees that the Cubans and not the NY Black Yankees were celebrated as “Harlem’s Own”. This also arises in the recovery of Negro League history and in the revival of interest, much of the story of Black baseball is told as just that of African Americans, leaving out the Latinos who participated in the Negro Leagues from its inception and the vital (one can even argue foundational) role that Latin American leagues had in the shaping of Black baseball in the United States. Moreover, the NY Cubans (and its predecessor the Cuban Stars) were trailblazers in bringing in talent from throughout the Americas. While operating these teams, Alex Pompez introduced the first Dominican, Puerto Rican, and Panamanian players to play in either the Negro Leagues or the Majors. The NY Cubans represent a vital part of baseball history in the Americas for they offer a different approach to diversity in US professional baseball long before “Los Mets.”

7-One player on the team you talk about highly is Martin Dihigo?

Many former Negro League Players say he was the best!

Dihigo is quite a unique figure in the annals of baseball history because he was an ace pitcher and a fabulous everyday player (and a pretty good team manager on top of that). Think of someone who was on a Hall of Fame level as a pitcher in Black baseball (the Smokey Joe Williams, Jose Mendez, and Satchel Paige type pitchers) and then think of the very best everyday players from the Negro Leagues, put that together and you begin to imagine El Maestro, El Inmortal, Martin Dihigo.

8- Roberto Clemente’s number 21should it be retired?

I am of two minds on this question. For one, I want Latino players to be a living memorial to the meaning and significance of Clemente to all Latinos. The best memorial is seeing a great Latino player chose to take the number 21, and demonstrate mastery on the field and also grace, dignity, and a willingness to speak for the cause of social justice off the field. However, I am concerned that this generation of Latino players may be losing sight of what Clemente did for them and all of baseball. How many Latinos spoke out on behalf of African American Latroy Hawkins who wanted to honor Clemente by wearing 21 and was being harassed by Yankees fans not for daring to honor Clemente but for wearing what they viewed as Paul O’Neill’s jersey number? I am distressed that Jorge Posada (born and raised in Puerto Rico) did not speak out on Hawkins behalf—what would have Clemente done on behalf of a teammate in such a case.

No greater example has been set for all of those involved in any capacity within organized baseball than what Clemente did, the ability to see beyond himself and speak for those who did not have the platform he could create—and I say could create but indeed it took proactive work. How best do we recognize that vital historical lesson? I am for a living memorial, the Latino players keeping his (and our) story on the field for all to see.

Courtesy Ishmael Nunez

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Posted in Interviews/Reviews, Latin1 Comment

China: South Korea Wins 2010 Asian Games Title

CHINA – Kang Jung-ho smacked a pair of home runs and tallied five RBIs, and South Korea broke open a tight affair with a four-run third to dethrone Taiwan 9-3 Friday and reclaim the championship at the 16th Asian Games in Guangzhou.

The Nexen Heroes third baseman tallied a trio of run-scoring hits. Kang and Lotte Giants slugger Lee Dae-ho both hit two-run blasts in a pivotal fourth frame, and singled home a run in the seventh. The corner infielder capped the gold medal victory with another two-run dinger in the ninth in front of 3,500 spectators at the Aoti Baseball Field.

Major Leaguer Choo Shin-soo, who was one of 10 Korean players to earn a military exemption with the Asian Games title, plated Jung Keun-woo with an RBI single in the first inning to stake the reigning Olympic champion to a quick lead. But, Taiwan answered in the bottom of the same frame off Hanwha Eagles ace
Ryu Hyun-jin on Cheng Yun-chi run-scoring hit.

Trailing 6-1, the defending Asian Games titleholder closed the gap with a pair of scores in the fourth on Hu Chin-lung and Lin Che-hsuan’s RBI singles. However, Ryu and reliever Yoon Suk-min blanked the Taiwanese the last five innings to bag their second tournament win against the baseball-crazed island nation.

Left-fielder Kim Hyun-soo and second baseman Jung Keun-woo combined for six hits and three runs, while Choo and Lee Yong-kyu had two hits apiece.

JAPAN 6, CHINA 2

Kenichi Yokoyama and Ryo Saeki both drive in two runs to help Japan bag the bronze medal with a win over host China on Friday in front of 900 fans at the Aoti Baseball Field in Guangzhou.

The 2006 Doha Asian Games silver medalist took a quick lead in the opening frame when Chinese starter Wang Pei walked Hayata Ito with the sacks full to force in a run. Yokoyama stretched the lead to 3-0 with a two-run double before Saeki plated two scores with a single to finished off the early fireworks.

Japan starter Kota Suda allowed two runs in five innings to notch the win.

PAST ASIAN GAMES CHAMPIONS
1994 – Japan
1998 – South Korea
2002 – South Korea
2006 – Taiwan
2010 – South Korea

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Posted in Asia, Tournaments0 Comments

Interview with Rob Ruck, author, The Tropic of Baseball: Baseball in the Dominican Republic

An Interview with Rob Ruck, author, The Tropic of Baseball: Baseball in the Dominican Republic, and co-writer/producer of the film Republic of Baseball

Ismael Nuñez
Puerto Rican Sun
September 26, 2009

How did you or what got you interested in doing the book?
Rob Ruck, The Tropic of Baseball I had written a book about the role of sport in the black community (Sandlot Seasons: Sport in Black Pittsburgh) that focused on the Negro League teams that made Pittsburgh the center of black baseball in the 1930s and 40s. One of those clubs, the Pittsburgh Crawfords, was torn apart by the Dominican Republic’s volatile politics in 1937 when Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson, Cool Papa Bell and some of their teammates played for Cuidad Trujillo. That, and growing up a fan of the Giants (before I moved to Pittsburgh,) when Felipe Alou, Juan Marichal, Manny Mota and other Dominicans played for the team, got me interested in better understanding the story of baseball on the island.
Did you have to speak Spanish to anyone?
Yes, but so many Dominicans speak English, especially in the common ground that baseball provides between the US and the DR.
Can you tell a little bit about yourself?
I’m a child of the 1960s, now teaching history at the University of Pittsburgh. I teach courses about the history of sport and U. S. history. My wife, Maggie Patterson, and I have just finished a biography of Art Rooney, the founder of the Pittsburgh Steelers and a renaissance sportsman. I’m 59 and love to run and bike.
Going back to the book… a lot of players, people you talked to, anybody tell you their good experiences?
Much, if not most, of this book, is based on people talking to me about their lives and experiences—from working in the canefields and on the banana plantations to efforts to unionize and resist Trujillo. Their stories were about tough times and victories, on the ballfield and in their communities.
Anyone tell you their bad experiences? MLB teams have camps there true: if so do they help the players in anyway possible. Like learning to speak English, What happens if one does not make the MLB?
Most of the young Dominicans who sign with a major league organization will never make the major leagues. The odds are against them. Some of the teams are working with these young men to equip them with some language skills and give them more of an education. I suspect that some teams are better at this than others. It can be devastating to see one’s aspirations crushed at an early age, especially if they do not have much to fall back on.
There’s talk that several players from the Dominican Republic who are playing professionally have no high school diploma, can’t read or write?
True. Many major leaguers from the Caribbean left school before finishing. Some have been quite successful despite that. I do not know if there are any player who are illiterate.
In the movie “The Republic of Baseball” you profile the Alou brothers, Manny Mota, Hall of Famer Juan Marichal, yet no mention of Julian Javier, Rico Carty, Ceasar Cedeño, Ozzie Virgil. Why was it?
Road to the Big Leagues (Rumbo A Las Grandes Ligas) We realized that to finish this documentary, which we began working on in 2000, we needed to focus the story on just a small group of players. We shot interviews with Julian Javier, Rico Carty, and many other men, but were unable to use them in a documentary that runs under an hour. There are many others stories to tell about the Dominican Republic and I hope we’ll get the chance to tell some more of them, especially the saga of the ‘Cocolos’ from San Pedro de Macoris.
With the success of many Dominican players today will we see another documentary again by you and Daniel Manatt.
Find us funding and distribution and we’ll be there.
Vladimir Guerrero and Manny Ramírez when one looks at their performance does one see the great player Tetelo Vargas? By the way does Vargas belong in the “Baseball Hall of Fame”?
I think that both Tetelo Vargas and Horacio Martínez merit consideration for the Hall of Fame. Now that the Hall has opened its “Viva Baseball” exhibit about Latinos in baseball, I hope that they might establish a special committee to consider such candidacies, as they did once before, in 2006.
A lot of the players have created charitable organizations true?
I think it has been a hallmark for Dominican ballplayers to give something back to the country. Manuel Mota and his wife have run a program in a Santo Domingo neighborhood for years, Pedro Martínez built a church for his home town, and Tony Peña, Vladimir Guerrero, and others have done many things to help people and the nation. They take their responsibility seriously and celebrate Three Kings Day by bringing their hard-won gifts back home.
Were they inspired by Marichal and Puerto Rican Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente? By the way there’s a movement to retire Clemente’s number; agree?
Juan Marichal, Roberto Clemente, and Felipe Alou mean much to me, not only for their feats on the field, but the sort of principled lives they have led.

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Posted in Interviews/Reviews, Latin0 Comments

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