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Team Israel Taking Shape for 2017 World Baseball Classic

The roster for Team Israel in the upcoming 2017 World Baseball Classic has been announced, in part. Fifteen players have confirmed with the rest to be finalized at a later date. Israel will travel to Seoul, South Korea to take on Korea, the Netherlands, and Chinese Taipei.

The players that have been confirmed are:

Ty Kelly, IF, New York Mets
Sam Fuld, OF, Oakland Athletics – free agent
Jason Marquis, P, formerly of the Cincinnati Reds – free agent
Ike Davis, 1B, formerly of the NY Mets and Yankees – free agent
Ryan Lavarnway, C, Oakland Athletics
Cody Decker, IF, Milwaukee Brewers
Josh Zeid, P, formerly of the Houston Astros – free agent
Nate Freiman, 1B, Portland Sea Dogs (Boston Red Sox) – free agent
Tyler Krieger, IF, Lynchberg Hillcats (Cleveland Indians)
Nick Rickles, C, Harrisburg Senators (Washington Nationals)
Dean Kremer, P, Great Lakes Loons (LA Dodgers)
Corey Baker, P, Springfield Cardinals (St. Louis Cardinals)
Jeremy Bleich, P, Reading Fightin Phils (Philadelphia Phillies)
Jake Kalish, P, Wilmington Blue Rocks (Kansas City Royals)
Alex Katz, P, Winston-Salem Dash (Chicago White Sox)

The team is pursuing other big leaguers according to Scott Barancik at Jewish Baseball News. Those players include Danny Valencia, Craig Breslow, Joc Pederson, and Jason Kipnis. Several others have already declined an invitation.

Per WBC rules, any athlete can play for Team Israel as long as they are eligible for an Israeli citizenship. This is accomplished by either marrying someone Jewish or having at least one Jewish grandparent.

This is Israel’s first time to play in the main tournament. They open up the WBC against South Korea on March 6 in Seoul.

Posted in Tournaments, News0 Comments

Australian Baseball League: Weekend Schedule and Standings

The Australian Baseball League is heading into the final stretch with just two weekends left before the playoffs begin. The Melbourne Aces have all but sown up the no. 1 seed in the playoffs needing just a win or a Canberra Cavalry loss. The Aces have a 6.5 game lead heading into the second to last weekend.

The bigger race at the moment is for the no. 2 and no. 3 seeds. Only two other teams after Melbourne will advance to play against each other in the first round of the playoffs. The winner of that best-of-3 series would then play the no. 1 seed in the final.

No team is quite fully out of it right now, but three teams are fighting for the last two playoff spots. Only two games separate the Canberra Cavalry, Adelaide Bite, and Brisbane Bandits. The rest of the league is just 3.5 games out of third place.

Melbourne is currently playing Adelaide this weekend with Adelaide already taking Game 1 in 11 innings last night. Perth (currently 12 games out of first) is taking on Brisbane this weekend with the Bandits taking Game 1 of the series as they try to keep pace with Adelaide and fight for one of the final two playoff spots.

Weekend ABL Schedule:

Thursday January 19th
Adelaide 4 at Melbourne 1 (11)
Perth 2 at Brisbane 3

Friday January 20th
Adelaide at Brisbane
Canberra at Sydney
Perth at Brisbane

Saturday January 21st
Canberra at Sydney (DH)
Adelaide at Melbourne
Perth at Brisbane

Sunday January 22nd
Adelaide at Melbourne
Perth at Brisbane
Canberra at Sydney

Current ABL Standings:

Club W L PCT GB Home Away L10 Streak
Melbourne Aces 24 9 .727 13-4 11-5 7-3 L1
Canberra Cavalry 17 15 .531 6.5 10-6 7-9 5-5 L1
Adelaide Bite 17 16 .515 7.0 9-7 8-9 5-5 W2
Brisbane Bandits 15 17 .469 8.5 8-8 7-9 6-4 W2
Sydney Blue Sox 12 19 .387 11.0 9-7 3-12 3-7 L1
Perth Heat 12 21 .364 12.0 8-8 4-13 5-5 L2

Posted in Oceania0 Comments

Congratulations to the Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 2017

First of all, let me say congratulations to the class of 2017. Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, and Ivan Rodriguez are all worthy and deserve this honor. I want to focus on these three for the time being, then I will come back in a later post and talk about those that did not make it in.

Jeff Bagwell

Bagwell joins his fellow “Killer Bees” companion Craig Biggio. While there were others that joined these two in the rotating Killer Bees, these two were the constant force for the Astros for many years. Bagwell had some great years in Houston, but 1994 really stands out.

Even though the season was cut short, Bagwell did some amazing things in just 110 games. That year he was an all-star, Silver Slugger winner, Gold Glove winner, and the National League MVP. In those 110 games, Bagwell scored 104 runs, drove in 116, slugged .750, and had an OPS of 1.201. Not to mention the 39 home runs and while you are at it 15 stolen bases.

With 449 home runs and a lifetime .297 hitter, he was one of the most feared sluggers through the 90s. Bagwell fell just 15 votes shy of induction in 2016, but his 7th time was a charm. If you go back and look through the previous six years of voting, there was a steady climb for Bagwell. He started out with just over 41% of the vote in his first try, then slowly started creeping up. He mixed in a few years with big 15% or more jumps in the voting till finally getting in this year.

Tim Raines

One of the best lead off hitters of all-time was elected in his final year of eligibility by the writers association, and it is well deserved. A 7-time all-star and 3-time World Series champ, Raines set the table for some of the best teams in the game.

For four straight years in the early 80s Raines led the National League in stolen bases, and stole 70+ in six straight years. He ranks 5th all-time in stolen bases and ranks as one of the best all-time in stolen base percentage. But one thing that stands out to me when looking at his stats are that he walked 1330 times and struck out only 966. For a lead off hitter that is exactly what you want. Raines had a lifetime .385 OBP.

Ivan Pudge Rodriguez

Pudge Rodriguez was one of the best catchers to ever play the game, and he becomes only the second catcher of all-time to be elected on the first ballot. The 14-time All-Star, 13-time Gold Glove winner, and 1999 American League MVP was one of the most exciting players to watch both in the batter’s box and on defense.

Making his Major League debut at only age 19, Pudge quickly established himself as a defensive force. He threw out 45% of would be thieves on the bases and led the league seven times in throwing out runners.

While he was known for his defense perhaps first and foremost, Rodriguez was quite the hitter as well. A lifetime .296 hitter, which is more impressive when you realize he didn’t walk much, slugged 572 doubles and 311 home runs over his 21 year career.

All three players are definitely well deserving of this honor. Tomorrow I want to get into those that didn’t make and where they are headed. As always please give us your thoughts either here or on social media somewhere.

Posted in N. America, News, MLB0 Comments

Should the MLB go to London

Last night I couldn’t sleep so as I was trolling through Twitter I cam across an account with a podcast (Bat Flips and Nerds), and I gave it a listen. Now while I was for the most part entertained with some of the talk, especially since it was about the MLB playing in London. So I wanted to address a few issues and give my 2 cents.

The No Way It Will Happen Anytime Soon

So the podcast mentioned how much they would love to see the MLB All-Star Game in London. Yeah that would be nice with so many stars going over there and showcasing their abilities. But I don’t think that will happen, at least in my lifetime. On the other hand, and exhibition series in London with many of the all-stars would be a nice start. That way some of the young stars could be showcased to the British people and perhaps lead to more fans. Let’s face it, baseball is not huge in Great Britain. While it might be growing, many people there do not understand the game since it is not played as widely as other places.

The I Would Be Shocked If It Was the First Series

Red Sox v. Yankees – Yes I know there has been talks between the owners of taking a series to London. I just don’t see it, at least not for the first series. Someone of the podcast mentioned how it would be great for the teams and fans to have the popularity of their team grow in another country. Yes, for the owners. Let me be clear that most Red Sox fans do not care if the Red Sox are popular in Great Britain. That means so little to them. Quite a lot less than missing out on a home series against the evil empire. And the same goes for Yankees fans, who might in fact care less.

Of course that does not go for all fans. I am one in particular that wants to see the sport grow everywhere in the world. But I am in the minority here in the USA.

Yeah But the NFL Sent Their Best Teams to London First

No they didn’t. They sent the New York Giants, coming off an 8-8 year in 2006, and the Miami Dolphins, who went 6-10. In fact, the Dolphins went 1-15 in 2007 the year they played in London. Sure New York won the Super Bowl in 2007 but nobody saw that coming. After all they went just 10-6 in the regular season.

Year two saw the New Orleans Saints the home team. The 2008 Saints that played in London went 8-8. The year prior they went 7-9. They did play the 2007 AFC West Champion San Diego Chargers (11-5 in 2007), but even the Chargers went 8-8 the year they played in London.

Year three, in 2009, was more of the same with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers the home team. A year in which they went 3-13, coming off of a 9-7 campaign in 2008. Not exactly Super Bowl contenders. Their opponent, the New England Patriots, went 11-5 the year prior to London but didn’t make the playoffs.

Not a single year was the home team poised to make a deep run in the playoffs. Typically they are teams that struggle and could use a good payday with a “home” sellout even if it is in London. So the argument that the NFL is sending its best is a fallacy.

However, like the NFL Major League Baseball can send decent teams over to help grow the sport. The NFL would not continue adding games if they were not making money, and I think MLB will follow suit. I would love to see MLB at least send over a young superstar. I really liked the idea of the New York Mets going over with their young pitching staff, especially Noah Syndergaard. Throw in a division rival in say the Atlanta Braves, disclosure my favorite team, and you have a nice combination. A series with Syndergaard, deGroom, and Harvey pitching is quite the start. Throw in Granderson, who is notoriously great for growing the game, and you have some guys that will be a positive. On the Braves side seeing other top prospects like Dansby Swanson, Ender Inciarte, and star Freedie Freeman and you have the makings of a good start. No they are not the best teams with the most stars, but it would be a nice start.

Either that or making sure someone like Mike Trout or Bryce Harper make the trip would be nice too. No matter who goes at least one team really needs a superstar in my opinion, or the very least some young budding stars that the British can follow over the years.

It is about time MLB makes the move to play outside the USA/Canada again. It has been a few years since the Dodgers and Diamondbacks played in Australia.

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2017 World Baseball Classic Pool C & D Preview

Yesterday we took a look at Pools A & B for the 2017 World Baseball Classic and how each team has fared in the past. Today we will take a look at Pools C & D and look at how each team got here and how they have fared in the first three installments of the WBC.

Pool C

Canada is back for its fourth time in the WBC, yet they have surprisingly never made it out of Round 1. They came really close in the first tournament after finishing pool play 2-1 with a victory over the United States losing out on a tiebreaker to the US.

The Dominican Republic is back to defend its title from 2013. After starting off with a spot in the semifinal in the initial WBC, 2009 was a disappointing tournament as they did not make it out of Round 1. However, it was quite the bounce back as the Dominican ran through the 2013 tourney undefeated to take the title.

Colombia is making its first appearance in the WBC after defeating Panama in a qualifier last year to advance. Colombia failed to qualify in 2013 losing to Panama and Brazil in the qualifier. They got a little revenge this go around keeping Panama from advancing. They are one of two teams making their first appearance.

The United States is making its fourth appearance in the WBC. A fourth place finish in 2009 is the best the USA has done so far. The no. 2 World Ranked team has failed to make it out of Round 2 two of the three times, but they look to change that this year. There has been a lot of debate on players playing or not playing, and I look forward to more of that discussion later this year when the final team is announced.

Pool D

Mexico is back again for fourth time, but this time they had to come through a qualifier to pick up their spot. Twice Mexico has made Round 2, but not since 2009. They absolutely rolled through the qualifier outscoring their opponents 25-2. Look for them to once again advance to Round 2 where anything can happen.

Italy is back after a great run in 2013. This is their fourth appearance, but they are still looking for their first medal. Italy defeated both Mexico and Canada to advance in 2013. Their path this time goes through three Latin American teams, but I like their chances.

Venezuela is back for the fourth straight time. In 2009, they finished third defeating the USA in the semifinal. However, after that great run in ’09 they did not advance out of Round 1 in 2013 losing to both the Dominican and Puerto Rico. This might be the most wide open pool.

Puerto Rico is back again after a strong 2013 WBC finishing second to the Dominican. Each time they have made it to at least Round 2, and they stand poised to make another run at that as well. This will be another interesting roster to see once it is finalized.

There are at least three teams in each pool that stand a strong chance to advance to Round 2 which makes this tournament very exciting. I am looking forward to some upsets and surprise teams, but we will get into more of that once the rosters are announced.

Posted in Tournaments, News0 Comments

Alex Bregman to Play for Team USA in 2017 World Baseball Classic

One exciting development for Team USA at the 2017 World Baseball Classic is the announcement by young budding superstar Alex Bregman that he will play.

Bregman made his Major League debut this summer with the Houston Astros. The budding star out of LSU got off to an ice cold start for the Astros before heating up and putting in a fine rookie campaign. In 49 games Bregman hit .264 with 8 home runs and 34 RBI. Not bad after starting off 1-for-32 to begin his career.

Bregman has the tools to be a stellar corner infielder, if that is in fact where he stays during his tenure in Houston. The Astros made Alex the no. 2 overall pick in the 2015 MLB Draft just behind fellow budding infield star Dansby Swanson.

Bregman has some international experience having played with the National Team at the 2014 Haarlem Baseball Week where he helped the USA take the gold medal. He was named MVP of the tournament.

In a Tweet two days ago, Bregman told the world how he is excited to represent his country once again.

Posted in Tournaments, News0 Comments

Team Canada Adds Eric Gagne and Ryan Dempster to 2017 World Baseball Classic Roster

Team Canada has added two retired pitchers to its roster for the 2017 World Baseball Classic. Announced late last week, Eric Gagne and Ryan Dempster will pitch for Team Canada making their first appearance in the Classic.

Eric Gagne, 41, won the Cy Young Award with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2003 recording 55 saves. He ranks second in team history in saves with 161, behind Kenley Jansen. Gagne last appeared in the Major Leagues in 2008 with the Milwaukee Brewers. He also pitched for the Rangers and Red Sox.

Dempster, 39, last played in the Major Leagues with the Red sox in 2013. Over 16 years in the big leagues Dempster compiled a 132-133 record with five teams. His best year came in 2008 with the Chicago Cubs when he went 17-6 earning his second all-star appearance.

The two former big league hurlers will join John Axford, Scott Diamond, and Adam Loewen to try and help Team Canada advance through the 2017 WBC.

Team Canada will compete in Pool C against the Dominican Republic, United States, and Colombia. They kick off the Classic against defending champ Dominican Republic on Thursday March 10 at 6 p.m. ET, at Marlins Park in Miami.

Posted in Tournaments, News0 Comments

2017 World Baseball Classic: A Look at Pool A & B

We are just seven weeks away from the first pitch in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. As teams finalize rosters, players will soon begin reporting to spring training where they will begin preparing for the  fourth installment of the tournament.

In 2013 the Dominican Republic finally dethroned the two-time champion Japanese. The Dominican Republic defeated Puerto Rico in the championship game 3-0.

Each of the four pools have at the very least three strong teams that will compete for the two spots in the second round. So let’s go pool by pool and see how the teams have fared in the past. Today we will look at Pool’s A and B, and tomorrow we will take a look at Pool’s C and D.

Pool A:

Israel – This is Israel’s first time participating in the World Baseball Classic. They qualified through the Brooklyn Qualifier late in 2016. The team went 3-0 in the qualifier defeating Great Britain twice, including 9-1 in the championship game, and Brazil once by a 1-0 score. Israel just missed the 2013 WBC by losing to Spain 9-7 in the championship of a qualifier. They look to surprise someone, and they will need to, to move on.

South Korea – Back for a fourth time, South Korea recently moved up to no. 3 on the WBSC World Rankings which is their highest ranking ever. They look to continue moving up the ranks with some huge wins at the WBC. Korea finished runner-up in 2009 to Japan for its highest finish so far.

Chinese Taipei – This is their fourth time in the tournament as well. Their highest finish so far has been to advance to Round 2 in 2013. They will be searching for their first medal in the tournament and will be poised to move onto Round 2 if they can get passed the Netherlands.

Netherlands – They might have been the surprise of the tournament last go around finishing fourth. This is their fourth venture into the tournament and they look to improve on their high finish last time. They will have a strong showing but will have to defeat either South Korea or Chinese Taipei to move on.

Pool B

Japan – With two titles under their belt they are the most accomplished team in the tournament by far. Ranked no. 1 in the WBSC World Rankings, Japan will look to return to the top spot they lost last time out. A third place finish in 2013 would have been seen as a good thing for any team, except maybe the two-time defending champions. Look for a strong showing from them once again.

Cuba – Once the power in international tournaments, Cuba still has the power to make a run deep in this tournament. Their highest finish was a runner-up in 2006 in the inaugural event. Since then they have not advanced out of Round 2. I look for them to once again advance to Round 2, but go no further even though they are capable.

Australia – This is the wild card team in Pool B to me. If they can get passed a good Cuba team, they can advance to Round 2, which they have never done in the past. They had to get to this point by winning a qualifier, which they did quite easily. However, they just get passed Cuba or stun Japan to advance.

China – This is China’s fourth appearance in the tourney. They have never gotten out of Round 1 in the past but have made strides and have won at least one game in the past two tournaments. They might shock someone and hurt a team’s chances to advance by picking up a win like they did to Chinese Taipei in 2009.

Check back tomorrow for a quick look at the other two pools and soon we will start going over rosters as some of them are announced to see just how far they might be able to go.

Posted in Tournaments, News0 Comments

Australia Wins Inaugural U-12 Oceania Baseball Championship

HAGATNA, Guam – Australia, ranked no. 11 in the world, defeated an unranked Guam 18-0 to claim the first ever U-12 Oceania Baseball Championship. The win qualified Australia for the WBSC U-12 Baseball World Cup in 2017 to be played in Tainan, Taiwan this coming July and August.

Guam, American Samoa, and Australia battled it out in a double-elimination tournament played at Guerrero Field in the capital of Guam.

Guam opened the tournament with a surprise win over Australia 11-5. Then later on had Australia on the brink of elimination before losing 10-9 on an extra-inning, walk-off win that forced the winner-take-all final game.

Joining Australia in Taiwan will be Germany and Czech Republic from Europe. Mexico, Nicaragua, Brazil, and the United States qualified from the Americas, while Japan, Chinese Taipei, and Korea will come out of Asia to compete. The final two spots in the tournament are yet to be decided. Africa will have one representative and there will be a wild card to fill.

Posted in Oceania0 Comments

Movie Review: Spaceman

I have been looking forward to watching Spaceman ever since I saw someone post about it online. Unfortunately I was never able to find a place to watch it, until last night. I was rolling through Amazon Prime and saw it available to watch, so I immediately put it on.

But before I get into the movie itself, let me tell you a little about my fascination with Bill Lee. I had always heard of him from watching old baseball games and reading old stories. I never got to see him play since he played before my time. Then a few years ago I picked up the book, Have Glove Will Travel, and I was hooked. To me he is one of the most interesting people in sports history. A few years back I heard the question asked, “if you could have dinner with three people from history, who would it be?” Well I turned that into three people from baseball history, and my three would be Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, and Bill Lee.

So back to the movie. Spaceman is about Bill Lee, and apparently is based off of his book The Wrong Stuff, which I cannot wait to read. It basically tells of his story of being blackballed from Major League Baseball after he got cut in Montreal sticking up for a teammate. It is an interesting tale of one of the most interesting people ever to climb the mound in a Major League game.

The movie itself was okay. I thought Josh Duhamel played a great Bill Lee, but I felt the overall story line was lacking. To me it was a case of having so many interesting stories to choose from that I was hoping for more. So partly that is my own fault. Regardless of my let down, I still enjoyed it. It has some funny moments and even though I knew the end game I was still rooting for him, especially when he goes to Arizona. I don’t want to give away particulars of the movie to ruin it for anyone that has not seen it.

I think baseball fans might enjoy it, especially if they are Bill Lee fans. It is not the greatest movie in the world, but let’s be honest, most aren’t. Go into it with some optimism and I think you will enjoy it. It is after all a very interesting person/story.

I am not sure how you can see the film other than through Amazon. It is free if you have Prime. So if you do, it is definitely worth the time one lazy weekend to check it out.

While you are at it, if you are interested in Bill Lee check out the documentary about him going to Cuba, Spaceman: A Baseball Odyssey.

Posted in Interviews/Reviews0 Comments

2017 Preseason College Baseball Poll

Collegiate Baseball newspaper released their 2017 Preseason Poll recently with TCU at the top. The Horned Frogs finished 3rd last season and return eight position player starters including five Collegiate Baseball All-Americans. Throw in some key returners on the hill and TCU is poised to make a run at a national title.

Some familiar names are at the top just behind TCU. LSU ranks no. 2 going into the 2017 season, but they will have another tough road through the SEC as fellow conference mates Florida (no. 3), South Carolina (no. 4), Vanderbilt (no. 6), and Texas A&M (no. 20) are all in the Top 20.

The ACC also has a strong showing in the top 20 with Miami (no. 8), Florida St (no. 9), Louisville (no. 11), Clemson (no. 12), North Carolina (no. 15), and Virginia (no. 16). This makes for another exciting year in the ACC where Clemson will look to defend their 2016 conference tournament title.

2017 Preseason NCAA Div. 1 Poll

Rank Team (2016 Record) Points
  1. Texas Christian (49-18) 496
  2. Louisiana St. (45-21) 494
  3. Florida (52-16) 491
  4. South Carolina (46-18) 489
  5. Oregon St. (35-19) 485
  6. Vanderbilt (43-19) 482
  7. Arizona (49-24) 480
  8. Miami, Fla. (50-14) 478
  9. Florida St. (41-22) 475
10. Cal. St. Fullerton (36-23) 472
11. Louisville (50-14) 470
12. Clemson (44-20) 469
13. East Carolina (38-23-1) 465
14. Louisiana-Lafayette (43-21) 463
15. North Carolina (34-21) 460
16. Virginia (38-22) 458
17. Long Beach St. (38-22) 456
18. U.C. Santa Barbara (43-20-1) 454
19. Coastal Carolina (55-18) 450
20. Texas A&M (49-16) 448
21. Washington (33-23) 445
22. Mississippi (43-19) 443
23. Sam Houston St. (42-22) 440
24. Stanford (31-23) 438
25. Arizona St. (36-23) 435
26. Dallas Baptist (44-19) 432
27. Rice (38-24) 429
28. Oklahoma St. (43-22) 426
29. Texas Tech. (47-20) 424
30. Texas (25-32) 420
31. N.C. State (38-22) 417
32. Michigan (36-21) 415
33. Nebraska (37-22) 412
34. Tulane (41-21) 410
35. Houston (36-23) 407
36. Southeastern La. (40-21) 404
37. Gonzaga (36-21) 401
38. Georgia Tech. (38-25) 398
39. Kent St. (44-14) 394
40. Florida Atlantic (39-19) 390


Other Teams Receiving Votes:
New Mexico (39-23), West Virginia (36-22), Utah (26-29), Southern Mississippi (41-20), Wake Forest  (35-27), Fresno St. (36-22), U.C. Irvine (31-25), Maryland (30-27), Central Florida (26-33), Oklahoma (30-27-1), Cal. Poly (32-25), UCLA (25-31), Nevada (37-24), Nevada-Las Vegas (24-32), San Diego St. (21-38), Oregon (29-25), Southern California (28-28), California (32-21), Washington St. (19-35), Auburn (23-33), Mississippi St. (44-18-1), Kentucky (32-25), Georgia (27-30), Tennessee (29-28), South Alabama (42-22), Alabama (32-26), Arkansas (26-29), Missouri (26-30), Georgia Southern (36-24), Troy (32-26), Arkansas-Little Rock (26-28), Texas St. (31-28), Brigham Young (37-17), San Diego (27-29), Pepperdine (29-24), St. Mary’s (33-25), San Francisco (22-34), New Mexico St. (34-23), Oral Roberts (38-21), Seattle (37-21), Grand Canyon (25-28-1), Michigan St. (36-20), Indiana (32-24), Minnesota (36-22), Ohio St. (44-20-1), Illinois (28-23), Iowa (30-26), Western Michigan (22-34), Central Michigan (24-37), Missouri St. (38-21), Southern Illinois (31-25-1), Ball St. (32-26), Louisiana Tech. (42-20), N.C. Wilmington (41-19), Morehead St. (32-27), Kennesaw St. (28-27), Florida Gulf Coast (27-32), North Florida (39-19), Lipscomb (31-27), Rhode Island (31-27), St. Joseph’s (31-23), Virginia Commonwealth (38-19), Xavier (32-30), Creighton (38-17), Seton Hall (38-20), St. John’s (28-26-1), Gardner-Webb (37-21), High Point (32-24), College of Charleston (31-26-1), William & Mary (31-31), Wright St. (46-17), Princeton (24-21), Dartmouth (18-25), Fairfield (32-27), Miami, Ohio (27-29), Florida A&M (31-21), Alabama St. (38-17), Indiana St. (35-21), Wichita St. (21-37), Bryant (47-12), Southeast Missouri St. (39-21), Austin Peay St. (30-23), Jacksonville St. (34-24), Tennessee Tech. (31-24), Navy (43-16-1), Lehigh (25-29), Mercer (38-23), N.C. Greensboro (38-21), Western Carolina (31-31), Lamar (35-19), McNeese St. (31-25).

Posted in N. America, College0 Comments

South Korea Climbs to No.3 in Baseball World Rankings

South Korea has climbed to the no. 3 spot in the WBSC Baseball World Rankings, its highest ranking ever moving passed Chinese Taipei. The top two spots remain the same with Japan leading the way once again, while the United States continues to be a strong no. 2.

South Korea’s climb moves them even closer to the United States in the second spot. Japan still commands a strong lead over the pack. Rounding out the top 5 are Chinese Taipei and Cuba.

The top representative from Europe comes in at no. 9 with the Netherlands, followed closely by Italy at no. 10.

Men’s Baseball Final 2016 World Rankings Top 10:

1. Japan
2. USA
3. South Korea
4. Chinese Taipei
5. Cuba
6. Mexico
7. Venezuela
8. Canada
9. Netherlands
10. Italy

Complete World Rankings

Posted in News0 Comments

Movie Review: Fastball

With so much emphasis on the fastball in today’s game, there is a new documentary out that tries to answer the question of who was the fastest of all-time simply called Fastball. Scouts are looking for kids these days that throw in the mid to high 90s. Bullpens are built with guys that all throw near triple digits. It has simply become a game built on power arms.

The film Fastball does a good job at not only taking a look at the new guys in the game who throw hard. Guys like Craig Kimbrel, Aroldis Chapman, Justin Verlander, David Price and others are looked at and talked to about what it is like to throw hard. But what I liked about the movie was how the film went back in time to discuss the guys that came before the new breed of flamethrowers.

Man for man I do not think there is any doubt that the guys of today throw harder on average than any other time in the game’s history. However, there were guys like Goose Gossage, Walter Johnson, Bob Feller, Bob Gibson, and Nolan Ryan that threw just as, or possibly even harder.

The most interesting thing that they did was some of the video and science behind it all. They compare a 92mph fastball with a 100mph fastball which is an interesting thing to see. If they were both released at the same time, by the time the 100mph pitch reaches the plate, the 92mph pitch still has 4.5 feet to travel. That may not seem like much, but it is a huge difference when hitting.

The film does some scientific calculations based on some old data to determine who exactly is the fastest of all-time. Aroldis Chapman has thrown the fastest recorded pitch at 105mph, but is that the fastest ever? I won’t reveal who they say the fastest of all-time is because I really think you should see the film. You can find it on iTunes, Amazon, or Netflix.

Posted in Interviews/Reviews0 Comments

Haarlem Baseball Week Updates

The Haarlem Honkbal Week (Haarlem Baseball Week) kicked off last Friday in the Netherlands. Five teams are competing for the title in the 28th edition of the event. The teams competing this year are Netherlands, Australia, Japan, Chinese Taipei, and Curacao. There will not be back-to-back titles won since the USA did not return for the event this year having won in 2014.

So far the Netherlands are leading the way with a 4-0 record. Right behind the Dutch is Australia with its only blemish coming form the Dutch yesterday. The two teams will square off once again today as well.

Today’s Games:

Japan vs Chinese Taipei
Netherlands vs Australia

2016 Haarlem Honkbal Week Stadings:

  1. Netherlands 4-0
  2. Australia 3-1
  3. Japan 2-2
  4. Chinese Taipei 1-3
  5. Curacao 0-4

All games can be streamed online at http://www.meridix.com/everywhere.php?liveid=honkbalweek

Posted in Europe, Tournaments0 Comments

ESPN to Show Record Number of Little League World Series Games

We all know the Little League World Series from what is shown on ESPN. But don’t forget that there are other levels of Little League Baseball that have their own World Series, and many of them are just as exciting as the big one shown on ESPN.

Below is the schedule for the tournaments. We will try to bring you updates on the tournaments. ESPN will be televising the championship games of all of them I believe starting August 2nd. They will also be televising 91 of the regional games from the LLWS making it a record number of games that they will be showing this summer.

  • Big League Baseball (15/16/17/18-year-olds)
    • July 26 to Aug. 2 – Easley, S.C. (Easley Recreation Complex)
    • 16th season in Easley; 49th season overall
    • 2015 Champion: Puerto Rico District 13 (Arroyo)
  • Little League Intermediate (50/70) Baseball (11/12/13-year-olds)
    • July 31 to Aug. 7 – Livermore, Calif. (Max Baer Park)
    • 4th season in Livermore; 4th season overall
    • 2015 Champion: West Seoul Little League (Seoul, South Korea)
  • Senior League Baseball (14/15/16-year-olds)
    • July 31 to Aug. 6 – Bangor, Maine (Shawn T. Mansfield Stadium)
    • 15th season in Bangor; 56th season overall
    • 2015 Champion: West University Little League (Houston, Texas)
  • Junior League Baseball (13/14-year-olds)
    • Aug. 14 to Aug. 21 – Taylor, Mich. (Heritage Park)
    • 36th season in Taylor; 36th season overall
    • 2015 Champion: Chung-Shan Little League (Taichung, Chinese Taipei)
  • Little League Baseball® (11/12-year-olds)
    • Aug. 18 to Aug. 28 – South Williamsport, Pa. (Lamade/Volunteer Stadiums)
    • 58th season in South Williamsport; 70th season overall
    • 2015 Champion: Tokyo Kitasuna Little League (Tokyo, Japan)

You can see the full schedule of what ESPN will show and on what channel from the link below. Everything kicks off with television coverage on August 1st.

ESPN to Showcase 137 Little League Baseball and Softball World Series Games, the Most Games ESPN Has Ever Covered for the Tournament

Posted in Tournaments, News0 Comments

Rouen Huskies Take 2016 Challenge de France Title

The Rouen Huskies defeated the Senart Templiers for the 2016 Challenge de France title over the past weekend. Rouen finished the weekend 4-0 sweeping its way to the title.

Rouen won 5-2 on Sunday to claim the title. With the win Rouen booked a ticket to the European Cups in 2017. Rouen scored three late runs to pick up the win and the title. Senart led 2-1 into the eighth inning but couldn’t hold the lead.

Both teams headed into the title game undefeated. Senart advanced with a 6-0 win over Stade Toulousain while Rouen advanced with a 2-0 win over Montpellier.

The two teams will pick back up in the French Division I League this coming weekend facing off with one another in a battle of the top two teams.

Full Results and Box Scores

Photo by Rouen Huskies

Posted in Europe0 Comments

Euro League Games Postponed

Some bad news for the new Euro League Baseball came down from the CEB (European Federation) notifying the league that players competing in the ELB will not be able to participate in the European Champions Cup. So the games this coming weekend between Amsterdam Baseball and Draci Brno will have to be postponed since some of the L&D Amsterdam Pirates play for Amsterdam Baseball.

The players will be allowed to play after the European Champions Cup, but scheduling may be an issue for the ELB since the teams already have a full slate of league games.  The ECC will take place the first week of June. The league has not announced if/when the games will be rescheduled.

Press Release Euro League Baseball

(Amsterdam)- The management of Euro League Baseball and Team Amsterdam have decided to postpone the games of Team Amsterdam which were scheduled for May 15 and 16.

The reason for this, is the odd move of CEB (European Federation) to inform L&D Amsterdam that its players may not be eligible to play European Cup (EC) games if they participate in the ELB.

Rule:
All the players participating in the European Cups shall be:
– regularly registered with their club.
– regularly registered in the national competition with their club the running year, with which they participate in the European Cup competition. The player is not allowed to play for another team in the running year till the start of the European Cups.
In case of a complaint, the information received by C.E.B. from the National Federation, will rule.

The original reason for the introduction of the rule was to ban competition fraud, which is not the case in this particular situation. In the past, there has been similar situations which didn’t lead to disqualification. It’s comparable with college players returning to their parent club in Europe.

Despite we’re convinced that the rule is misused to put pressure on L&D Amsterdam to drop out, we can’t ask the team’s management to take the risk of losing players’ eligibility.

This is a big disappointment since the KNBSB (Dutch Federation) recently informed all involved parties that it agreed on the participation of its members in Team Amsterdam.

It’s still not clear why the turnaround in the approach of the CEB came so unexpected and not before this weekend, while they previously informed us that they would follow the National Federations.

We’ll keep you informed about any developments regarding team Amsterdam and are grateful for the big support we’ve received. We still believe the team would be a great addition for European baseball and its fans.

Posted in Europe0 Comments

The Independent San Rafael Pacifics Will Have First Woman Manager

The San Rafael Pacifics will make history this summer when Justine Siegal manages two games this June. It will be the first time a woman has managed a game in professional baseball.  San Rafael plays in the Pacific Association.

Siegal created the national organization “Baseball for All” and has done many other things in the past including being the first woman coach in a Major League organization when she became a guest instructor with the Oakland A’s.

You can read more about the games and about Siegal through the Pacifics official press release.

Pacifics Will Make History This Summer

Posted in N. America, Women, News, Minors0 Comments

2016 China Baseball League Schedule Announced

The schedule for the 2016 season of the China Baseball League has been announced. Over at Chinese Baseball, William Chu has posted the schedule and format for the season.

The league will start later this month and continue through the end of August with the championship series coming in early September. The top two teams will face off in a best-of-five series to determine the winner.

The teams for 2016 are as follows:

Beijing Tigers
Shanghai Golden Eagles
Jiangsu Pegasus
Guangdong Leopards
Tianjin Lions
Sichuan Dragons

You can see the whole schedule over at Chinese Baseball.

Posted in Asia0 Comments

Germany: Stuttgart Reds Keep Lead in South Division

This past weekend in the German Bundesliga South Division the Stuttgart Reds held onto the top spot with a weekend sweep over the Bad Homburg Hornets. With the wins they hold a half game lead over three teams. All three teams tied for second place swept their weekend series as well.

The Reds took care of the Hornets 12-6 in Game 1 coming back after trailing 4-0 after two innings. Hagen Ratz settled down and allowed only one more run over the next four innings as the Reds bats came alive. The game was tied 6-6 going into the eleventh inning when the Reds exploded for six more runs to pick up the win.

The Reds pounded out 16 hits and walked eight times against Hornets pitching. Both Xavier Gonzalez (3-for-5) and Quinn Tiernan (3-for-6) led the way with three hits apiece. Marcel Hering pitched five innings in relief to pick up the win.

Game 2 was a close one as well as once again the Hornets jumped out early to a 2-0 lead. Xavier Gonzalez again had three hits in the contest as did Gavin Ng (3-for-5) who also stole two bases. David Rider pitched well to earn the victory going seven strong allowing just two runs, one earned.

The Reds (7-2) will face off with Heidenheim (9-3) the weekend after next. This series will start to possibly help separate the division leaders from the rest of the pack. Mainz will have the weekend off while Regensburg will play Mannheim.

Current German Budesliga South Division Standings:

  1. Stuttgart Reds 7-2
  2. Regensburg Leagionaire 9-3
  3. Mainz Athletics 9-3
  4. Heidenheim Heidekopfe 9-3
  5. Mannheim Tornados 4-4
  6. Haar Disciples 3-9
  7. Bad Homburg Hornets 1-9
  8. Tubingen Hawks 1-10

Posted in Europe0 Comments

Germany: Paderborn Sweeps Solingen; Bonn alone atop North Division

The Paderborn Untouchables swept the German Bundesliga North Division leading Solingen Alligators over the weekend. The two losses by Solingen dropped them from the top of the standings as they fell to 7-3. The wins for Paderborn were huge bringing them back to .500 and put them in the playoff hunt.

The Bonn Capitals stayed atop the standings after sweeping the Hamburg Stealers over the weekend winning 7-4 and 4-3. The wins gave the Capitals a two game lead in the division over the Alligators.

Bonn jumped out early in Game 1 against the Stealers with three runs in the first inning. Wilson Lee homered and drove in a pair of runs for Bonn in the win. Sascha Koch picked up the win for Bonn going six strong innings. Koch gave up two runs on five hits while striking out eight. Nathan Poff homered in the loss for the Stealers.

Game two was a closer match with Bonn picking up a run in the top of the seventh to break a 3-3 tie. They held onto the lead for the sweep and a two game lead in the division. Wilson Lee again drove in two runs while Eric Brenk set the table from the top of the lineup going 2-for-3 and scoring twice. Lee also picked up the win on the hill tossing seven innings.

Bonn will travel to Solingen on the 21st of the month as the top two teams in the division will square off. Bonn will look to extend its lead while Solingen looks to end its losing streak. The league is off the next weekend and will pick back up May 20-21.

Upcoming North Division Schedule:

Bonn Capitals @ Solingen Alligators

Hamburg Stealers @ Cologne Cardinals

Current German Bundesliga North Division Standings:

  1. Bonn Capitals 9-1
  2. Solingen Alligators 7-3
  3. Paderborn Untouchables 5-5
  4. Hamburg Stealers 4-4
  5. Hanover Regents 4-6
  6. Cologne Cardinals 3-7
  7. Dortmund Wanderers 2-8

Posted in Europe0 Comments

2016 Independent Leagues

With the Major League Baseball season underway and the minor leagues already going strong, I thought we’d take a look at the independent leagues that will get going soon. Every year there seem to be new players and old ones going by the wayside. This year there are still a few strong leagues poised to have strong seasons.

Atlantic League

Easily the most successful league, the Atlantic League has been strong for years featuring many former MLB players. The eight team league has already kicked off the season with the league’s defending champion off to a 14-4 start as the Somerset Patriots continue to field a strong team. The league has also conditionally approved a 9th franchise for 2017 in the Virginia Beach Neptunes.

Frontier League

This coming week the longest running independent league will kick off its 2016 season. The league will feature 12 teams located around the mid-west all the way from Missouri to Pennsylvania. The Traverse City Beach Bums look to defend the franchise’s third title, but the first since the team moved from Richmond in 2006. The league has been going since 1993.

Empire Professional Baseball League

The newest entry into the independent game is the Empire League with four teams from the Northeastern US. The league is a replacement for the North Country Baseball League that lasted a single season. Three of the teams from the NCBL will play in the Empire League this summer starting in June.

Pecos League

The Pecos League is back for its 6th season with teams in the Southwestern USA.  The league will feature 10 teams with the Roswell Invaders looking to defend their 2015 title and third overall.  The league will kick off its season this coming week.

Pacific Association

The Pacific Association is back for its 4th season. The league has four teams around California. The season will begin in just under a month with the San Rafael Pacifics look to defend their 2015 title. The Pacifics are the two-time defending champs.

Canadian American Association

The Can-Am League kicks off its 12th season in just under two weeks time. The six team league looks to build on its experience and the support it has built up in Canada and in places like New York and New Jersey. The Trois-Rivieres Aigles look to defend their 2015 title and first in franchise history. The New Jersey Jackals will look to break through into the championship column after finishing runner-up for the past five seasons. The Jackals have won four championships in franchise history back in the old Northeast League Days of the last 90s early 00s.

American Association

The AA is back as well for its 11th season as the Laredo Lemurs look to defend their title from a year ago. The 12 team league has had some strong teams in recent years and has former MLB talent running several teams including last years champion Laredo with Pete Incaviglia. The league will kick off its 2016 season later this month.

We hope to bring you some updates on the leagues as the season progresses. We intend to take another look at the managers in the different leagues and highlight some of the up and coming stars there. We also hope to bring you some interviews and photos from some of the stadiums as we travel and take in a few games.

Posted in N. America, Minors0 Comments

Spain: Division de Honor News and Notes

The Spanish Division de Honor is through six weeks of play so far after today. So far the Astros Valencia are leading the way with a 10-2 record after sweeping their weekend series with San Inazio Bilbao. Right behind the Astros are the Tenerife Marlins at 9-3. The Marlins were leading the league but dropped two over the weekend to CB Barcelona who sites right behind the Marlins in third place at 8-4.

It appears the league will be a three team race as no other club is above .500 at this point in the season. However, there is a lot of baseball left to be played with eight more weeks to go.

The game of the week might have been the first game between the Marlins and CB Barcelona. Barcelona used two errors in the bottom of the ninth to stun the Marlins and pick up the win.

Both teams picked up great pitching performances from their starters. Elian Leyva tossed eight strong innings giving up just a single run while striking out eleven for Barcelona, but he did not factor into the decision. Eric Paez picked up the win for Barcelona pitching a scoreless ninth. Yorfrank Lopez pitched great for the Marlins giving up only two runs, both unearned, while striking out nine taking his first loss of the season.

Current Division de Honor Standings:

  1. Astros Valencia 10-2
  2. Tenerife Marlins PC 9-3
  3. CB Barcelona 8-4
  4. CBS Sant Boi 6-6
  5. San Inazio Bilbao 6-6
  6. Baseball Navarra 5-7
  7. CD Pamplona 4-8
  8. CB Viladecans 0-12

Posted in Europe0 Comments

France: Division 1 Schedule and Standings

With six weeks in the book so far in the French Division 1 season, the Senart Templiers are out in front of the standings at 12-0 after a weekend sweep of the Cubs last weekend. Right on the Templiers tail are the ever powerful Rouen Huskies who sit at 11-1 setting up a showdown this next weekend of the top two teams in the division.

The lone loss for the Huskies came in Week 6 with a 4-3 loss in Game 1 of their series with the Montpellier Barracudas. The Barracudas are the only other team in the league that are over .500 as they sit in third place at 8-4.

Senart will travel to Rouen this weekend in hopes of stretching their lead in the division. Montpellier will face off with Clermont at home hoping to push Clermont under .500 and move closer to one of the top two teams.

Both Rouen and Senart are getting it done on both sides of the ball. Rouen leads the league in both hitting at a .330 clip and ERA at just 1.60. Meanwhile, Senart is close behind in both categories as the only other team hitting over .300 at .304. The Templiers team ERA sits at a very good 2.02 which is a run better than the next best team.

Week 7 Schedule (5/15):

Senart Templiers @ Rouen Huskies

Clermont @ Montpellier Barracudas

Paris UC @ Chartres French Cubs

Savigny Lions @ State Toulousain

Current Standings:

  1. Senart Templiers 12-0
  2. Rouen Huskies 11-1
  3. Montpellier Barracudas 8-4
  4. Clermont 6-6
  5. Stade Toulousain 5-7
  6. Savigny Lions 3-9
  7. Chartres French Cubs 2-10
  8. Paris UC 1-11

Posted in Europe0 Comments

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