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2017 World Baseball Classic Rules Announced

World Baseball Classic, Inc. today announced the rules and rule modifications for the 2017 World Baseball Classic, which will begin on Monday, March 6th when Korea hosts Israel at the Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul, South Korea. Final rosters for each of the 16 participating countries will be unveiled tomorrow evening at 6:00 p.m. (ET) on MLB Network.

Please see the attached document for 2017 WBC rules and rule modifications. Notable rules include:

  • Tie-Breaker Game: If at the end of pool play in the First and Second Rounds of the Tournament, teams within a pool are tied with an identical winning percentage, then the tie shall be broken in the following order of priority with the higher ranked Federation Team serving as the home team.
    • First and Second Place Teams Tied: In the event that the first and second-place teams are tied for Pool Winner designation, the Team that defeated the other tied Team in that Round shall be ranked higher in the pool standings for that Round.
    • Three Teams Tied 2-1: If there are three teams 2-1, then the tiebreaker rules would be applied to rank the three, and the first-ranked team would advance. The second and third-ranked teams would play an additional game to determine who the second-place team is. The tiebreaker rules applied would be as follows:
      • Step 1: The tied Teams shall be ranked in the standings for that Round according to fewest runs allowed divided by the number of innings (including partial innings) played in defense in the games in that Round between the Teams tied.
      • Step 2: The tied Teams shall be ranked in the standings according to fewest earned runs allowed divided by the number of innings (including partial innings) played in defense in the games in that Round between the Teams tied.
      • Step 3: The tied Teams shall be ranked in the standings according to highest batting average in games in that Round between the Teams tied.
      • Step 4: Standings shall be determined by the drawing of lots, conducted by WBCI.
    • Three Teams Tied 1-2: If there are three teams tied 1-2, then the tiebreaker rules would be applied to rank the three, and the first two ranked teams would play a tiebreaker game, the winner of which would advance. The tiebreaker rules will be applied using the same four steps listed above.
    • Championship Round: The Semi-final game and Final game of the Tournament shall be conducted in a single elimination format. Each Semi-final game shall match a winner of a Second Round pool against a runner-up of the other Second Round pool. The winners of each Semi-final game shall meet in the Championship game of the Tournament.
  • Extra Innings: For any inning beginning with the 11th inning, the Federation Team at bat shall begin the inning with runners on first and second base. The batter who leads off an inning shall continue to be the batter who would lead off the inning in the absence of this extra-innings rule. The runner on first base shall be the player (or a substitute for such player) in the batting order immediately preceding the batter who leads off the inning. The runner on second base shall be the player (or a substitute for such player) in the batting order immediately preceding the runner on first base.
  • Designated Pitcher Pool: Each Federation Team may identify a designated pool of 10 pitchers who are eligible to participate in one or more consecutive rounds. The list is submitted to WBCI at the time the Provisional and Final rosters are due. For the Federation Team to utilize the Designated Pitcher Pool, the Federation Team’s Final Roster shall include one or two pitchers from the pool. If no pitcher is listed from the pool, on their submitted roster to WBCI, the Federation Team is prohibited from using the Designated Pitcher Pool for the remainder of the Tournament. Once the pool pitcher is named on a Tournament roster and subsequently removed prior to the next round, the pitcher is no longer eligible to participate. After each round of the Tournament, any pitcher from an advancing Federation’s Designated Pitcher Pool may be replaced on the Federation’s Final Roster with another pitcher from that Federation’s Designated Pitcher Pool, provided that no member of the Designated Pitcher Pool may be added back to his Federation’s Final Roster once he has been replaced by another member of the Designated Pitcher Pool. Affiliated members of the Designated Pitcher Pool who are not included on their federation’s Roster for a given round of the Tournament should report to or remain with their Major League Club, as directed by the Club. If the pitcher being replaced is an affiliated pitcher, he must return to his Major League Club’s spring training camp once he is no longer an active member of the Federation’s 28-man roster.
  • Video Replay Review: In the First and Second Rounds, video replay review by umpires shall be available to assist the umpires only in regard to plays involving home runs or potential home runs. If the umpire crew chief determines that video replay review is appropriate, the umpire crew chief shall conduct the review himself with participation from at least one other member of the umpire crew. For the Championship Round, video replay review by the umpires shall be available to assist the umpires in the same manner as used during the Major League Baseball championship season, with the exception of manager challenges.

Tickets for the Championship Round at Dodger Stadium, which includes two semi-final games and the final game, are available at www.worldbaseballclassic.com. Tickets for WBC games played at Marlins Park in Miami, Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul, Estadio Charros de Jalisco in Jalisco and Petco Park in San Diego are also available at www.worldbaseballclassic.com. In addition, a special three-game ticket pack is available for Pool F in San Diego, and individual team ticket packs are available for Pool C in Miami.

In the United States, tournament games will air live exclusively in English on MLB Network and on an authenticated basis via MLBNetwork.com/watch; while ESPN Deportes and WatchESPN will provide the exclusive Spanish language coverage. Internationally, leading global media rights agency, MP & Silva has teamed with WBCI to distribute the tournament across all forms of television, internet, mobile and radio – all territories excluding the U.S., Puerto Rico and Japan.

World Baseball Classic Rules

Posted in Tournaments, News0 Comments

College: Pitcher of the Year Watch List

Press Release by College Baseball Hall of Fame

LUBBOCK, Texas — Miniscule earned-run averages and double-digit wins highlight the statistics of players on the newest watch list for the 2016 National Pitcher of the Year Award, presented by the National College Baseball Hall of Fame.

The award, sponsored by Diamond, will be presented on July 2 in Lubbock as part of the annual Night of Champions event.

St. John’s right-hander Thomas Hackimer continues to lead the watch list candidates with a 0.21 ERA in 43 1/3 innings. He also has eight saves and 59 strikeouts.

Michael Rucker, a junior right-hander at BYU, and Ryan Foster, a senior right-hander at UNC Wilmington, lead the watch list in wins with 10 each. Rucker is 10-0 with a 2.58 ERA and 76 strikeouts in 80 1/3 innings. Foster is 10-1 with a 2.49 ERA with 49 strikeouts in 83 innings pitched.

“This process is already becoming difficult,” said Brian Melakian, Pitcher of the Year Award co-chair. “With so many pitchers having great seasons, it was difficult to get the list down this far. We are already splitting hairs. It’s obvious that the semi-finalists and finalists will be both deserving and the best of the best.”

Southeast Missouri State’s Joey Lucchesi, a senior left-hander, leads the country in strikeouts with 115. In 80 2/3 innings, Lucchesi is 8-4 with a 2.01 ERA.

Navy’s Luke Gillingham leads the watch list and the country in complete games with eight. In 11 starts this season, the senior left-hander is 8-2 with a 1.32 ERA and 80 strikeouts through 75 innings.

“It’s amazing to see how consistent these young men have been through this point in the season,” said Raymond Richardson, Pitcher of the Year Award co-chair. “Some of the numbers they have put up are already very impressive, and there’s still time left in the season. It will be fun to watch how the rest of the season plays out.”

For more information on the Night of Champions event, visit www.collegebaseballhall.org.

2016 PITCHER OF THE YEAR AWARD WATCH LIST

Name

School

Conference

Sam Donko

VCU

A10

Pat Krall

Clemson

ACC

Jim Voyles

Florida State

ACC

Drew Harrington

Louisville

ACC

Kade McClure

Louisville

ACC

Brendan McKay

Louisville

ACC

Bryan Garcia

Miami

ACC

Adam Haseley

Virginia

ACC

Connor Jones

Virginia

ACC

Andrew Beckwith

Coastal Carolina

Big South

Kyle Nelson

UC Santa Barbara

Big West

Jack Anderson

Penn State

Big Ten

Tyler Buffett

Oklahoma State

Big 12

Thomas Hatch

Oklahoma State

Big 12

Luken Baker

TCU

Big 12

Dalton Horton

TCU

Big 12

Hayden Howard

Texas Tech

Big 12

Davis Martin

Texas Tech

Big 12

Thomas Hackimer

St. John’s

Big East

Ryan Foster

UNC Wilmington

Colonial Athletic

Adam Atkins

Louisiana Tech

Conference USA

Glenn Otto

Rice

Conference USA

Eric Lauer

Kent State

MAC

Jimmy Lambert

Fresno State

MWC

Joey Lucchesi

Southeast Missouri State

OVC

Troy Rallings

Washington

Pac-12

Luke Gillingham

Navy

Patriot

Thomas Burrows

Alabama

SEC

Shaun Anderson

Florida

SEC

Logan Shore

Florida

SEC

Josh Reagan

South Carolina

SEC

Clarke Schmidt

South Carolina

SEC

Brigham Hill

Texas A&M

SEC

Kyle Simonds

Texas A&M

SEC

Patrick Raby

Vanderbilt

SEC

Jordan Sheffield

Vanderbilt

SEC

Kyle Wright

Vanderbilt

SEC

Adam Oller

Northwestern State

Southland

Kevin Hill

South Alabama

Sun Belt

Joseph Camacho

Alabama State

SWAC

Tyler Howe

Alabama State

SWAC

Michael Rucker

BYU

West Coast

A.J. Puckett

Pepperdine

West Coast

Corbin Burnes

St. Mary’s (Calif.)

West Coast

Posted in N. America, News, College0 Comments

College: First Pitcher of the Year Watch List Released

Press Release College Baseball Hall of Fame

LUBBOCK, Texas — As conference play begins to wind down for many schools, the National College Baseball Hall of Fame released today the initial watch list for the Pitcher of the Year Award.

The award, sponsored by Diamond, will be presented on June 29 in Lubbock as part of the annual Night of Champions.

There are eight schools with multiple representatives on the watch list, led by TCU with three — right-handers Preston Morrison and Riley Ferrell and left-hander Alex Young. Morrison is 8-1 on the season with a 1.81 earned run average. Ferrell has a 0.95 ERA and 10 saves. Young has the most strikeouts among the three Horned Frogs, with 56 in 54 innings.

“To have three pitchers from one school make the watch list is a sign of their dominance on the mound,” said Raymond Richardson, Pitcher of the Year committee co-chair. “Those three guys have been impressive all year, both in early action and in conference play.”

Vanderbilt’s Carson Fulmer, 7-1, leads the watch list in strikeouts with 90 in 64 innings, while Texas Tech’s Corey Taylor brings the lowest ERA at 0.36 in 50 innings pitched.

“Each of the pitchers on this list has some strong numbers this season,” said Chris Snead, Pitcher of the Year Award co-chair. “There’s still a lot of baseball to be played so it will be interesting to see how things sort out toward the end of the season.”

For more information on the Pitcher of the Year Award or the College Baseball Hall of Fame’s Night of Champions, visitwww.collegebaseballhall.org.

 

PITCHER OF THE YEAR AWARD WATCH LIST

Name

School

Conference

Matthew Crownover

Clemson

ACC

Kyle Funkhouser

Louisville

ACC

Brendan McKay

Louisville

ACC

Nathan Kirby

Virginia

American Athletic

Nolan Blackwood

Memphis

American Athletic

Tommy Peterson

South Florida

American Athletic

Carson Cross

UConn

American Athletic

Anthony Kay

UConn

American Athletic

Eddie Muhl

George Washington

American Athletic

Kevin Duchene

Illinois

Big Ten

Tyler Jay

Illinois

Big Ten

Mike Shawaryn

Maryland

Big Ten

Josh Roeder

Nebraska

Big Ten

Michael Freeman

Oklahoma State

Big 12

Riley Ferrell

TCU

Big 12

Preston Morrison

TCU

Big 12

Alex Young

TCU

Big 12

Corey Taylor

Texas Tech

Big 12

Austin Kerr

Coastal Carolina

Colonial

Tyler Peitzmeier

Cal State Fullerton

Big West

Dillon Tate

UCSB

Big West

James McMahon

Southern Mississippi

C-USA

Taylor Clarke

College of Charleston

Colonial

Jeff Degano

Indiana State

Missouri Valley

Adam Whitt

Nevada

Mountain West

Bubba Derby

San Diego State

Mountain West

Ryan Burr

Arizona State

Pac-12

Andrew Moore

Oregon State

Pac-12

David Berg

UCLA

Pac-12

James Kaprielian

UCLA

Pac-12

Luke Gillingham

Navy

Patriot

Jett Meenach

Navy

Patriot

Alex Lange

LSU

SEC

Jesse Stallings

LSU

SEC

Tanner Houck

Missouri

SEC

Grayson Long

Texas A&M

SEC

Carson Fulmer

Vanderbilt

SEC

Matthew Milburn

Wofford

Southern

Trevor Belicek

Texas A&M Corpus Christi

Southland

Stuart Holmes

Nicholls State

Southland

Justin Sinibaldi

Nicholls State

Southland

Evan Challenger

Georgia Southern

Sun Belt

Josh Burchell

Alabama A&M

SWAC

Joseph Camacho

Alabama State

SWAC

J.D. Busfield

Loyola Marymount

West Coast

David Hill

San Diego

West Coast

Posted in N. America, News, College0 Comments

College: First Brooks Wallace Award Watch List Released

Press Release College Baseball Hall of Fame

LUBBOCK, Texas — Although big-name schools often dominate the college baseball conversation, they don’t rule the initial watch list for the 2015 Brooks Wallace Shortstop of the Year Award.

The award, sponsored by Mizuno, recognizes the nation’s top shortstop and will be presented during the National College Baseball Hall of Fame’s Night of Champions on June 29 in Lubbock.

Small-school representatives on the watch list include Lipscomb’s Grant Massey, who leads the watch list with a .386 batting average and a .994 fielding percentage. Morehead State’s Robby Spencer leads the list with 48 RBIs and is tied for the lead in home runs at eight. Alex Bregman, 2013 Wallace Award winner, also has eight homers on the season.

“Some of the small and mid-major schools don’t get the same publicity as a lot of the larger schools do, but they definitely play some high-caliber baseball,” said Tyler Young, Wallace Award co-chair. “Those guys have quality numbers and they deserve to be on this list.”

Several conferences have multiple players on the list, led by the SEC and Pac-12, each with five. The West Coast Conference has four players on the list. The ACC, Big South and Big West conferences each have three players on the list.

“Those are all definitely well-known conferences within Division I baseball,” said Larry Wallace, co-chair of the Wallace Award committee. “But there are 23 conferences represented on the list. There’s great baseball being played all across the country, and it’s great to be able to recognize that.”

 

BROOKS WALLACE AWARD WATCH LIST

Name

School

Conference

Eli White

Clemson

ACC

Sutton Whiting

Louisville

ACC

Daniel Pinero

Virginia

ACC

Danny Mendick

UMass Lowell

America East

Hunter Allen

East Carolina

American Athletic

Dylan Moore

UCF

American Athletic

Matt Maul

Saint Joseph’s

Atlantic 10

Cole Peterson

St. Bonaventure

Atlantic 10

Grant Massey

Lipscomb

Atlantic Sun

Adam Walton

Illinois

Big Ten

Sheldon Neuse

Oklahoma

Big 12

Keaton Jones

TCU

Big 12

Eric Lowe

Villanova

Big East

Michael Paez

Coastal Carolina

Big South

Ryan Hodge

Gardner-Webb

Big South

Tommy Houmard

UNC Asheville

Big South

Peter Van Gansen

Cal Poly

Big West

Garrett Hampson

Long Beach State

Big West

Mikey Duarte

UC Irvine

Big West

Mitch Roman

Wright State

Horizon

Matt Parisi

Dartmouth

Ivy

Bobby Sheppard

Buffalo

MAC

Camden Duzenack

Dallas Baptist

Missouri Valley

Joey Hawkins

Missouri State

Missouri Valley

Danny Sheehan

San Diego State

Mountain West

Robby Spencer

Morehead State

Ohio Valley

Dylan Bosheers

Tennessee Tech

Ohio Valley

Kevin Newman

Arizona

Pac-12

Colby Woodmansee

Arizona State

Pac-12

Trever Morrisson

Oregon State

Pac-12

Tommy Edman

Stanford

Pac-12

Kevin Kramer

UCLA

Pac-12

Mikey White

Alabama

SEC

Richie Martin

Florida

SEC

Nick King

Georgia

SEC

Alex Bregman

LSU

SEC

Dansby Swanson

Vanderbilt

SEC

Connor Lloyd

McNeese State

Southland

P.J. Biocic

Alabama State

Southwestern

Robert Garza

Texas Southern

Southwestern

Clayton Taylor

Omaha

Summit

Blake Trahan

Louisiana Lafayette

Sun Belt

Kodie Tidwell

Louisiana Monroe

Sun Belt

David Fletcher

Loyola Marymount

West Coast

Logan Steinberg

Saint Mary’s

West Coast

Kyle Holder

San Diego

West Coast

Jose Vizcaino Jr.

Santa Clara

West Coast

Posted in N. America, News, College0 Comments

College: Initial 2015 Olerud Award Watch List Released

Press Release College Baseball Hall of Fame

LUBBOCK, TexasWith just about a month until the postseason rolls around, the National College Baseball Hall of Fame announces its watch list for the 2015 John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award, which honors the nation’s top player both on the mound and at the plate.

A total of 36 players representing conferences and schools large and small are on the watch list. Included on the list are players from traditional powers such as Arizona, Virginia and Louisville, as well as smaller schools such as Bradley, Akron and Austin Peay.

“This year’s Olerud watch list is shaping up to be a competitive group of talented players from across the nation,” Olerud Award co-chairman Chris Curbo said. “It will be exciting to watch.”

The award is named for the former Washington State University standout who achieved success both as a first baseman and left-handed pitcher during the late 1980s, and who was inducted into the National College Baseball Hall of Fame in 2007. The award will be presented as part of the Hall of Fame’s Night of Champions celebration, June 28-29 in Lubbock.

The wide-open field has some very talented players putting up incredible numbers. In terms of offense, Wake Forest’s slugging infielder Will Craig leads the way, topping the rest of the field in batting average (.407), home runs (12) and RBIs (58) in games played through April 15. Hot on his heels, however, is Arizona infielder Bobby Dalbec, with 10 home runs and a .343 average.

In terms of pitching, Bradley’s Elliot Ashbeck and Oklahoma’s Robert Tasin pace the field with seven wins each, followed closely by Brandon Gold at Georgia Tech and Brendan McKay at Louisville, who are 5-1. Cole Hallum at Campbell has a miniscule 0.52 ERA, ahead of St. Bonaventure’s Thad Johnson at 0.58.

“This year’s watch list includes some tremendously talented players who are putting up incredible numbers,” Olerud award co-chair George Watson said. “It’s going to be extremely difficult paring this list down to find an eventual winner, as everyone is deserving of the recognition that comes with the award.”

For more information on the Olerud Award or the College Baseball Hall of Fame’s Night of Champions, visitwww.collegebaseballhall.org.

JOHN OLERUD TWO-WAY PLAYER OF THE YEAR WATCH LIST

Name

School

Conference

Elliot Ashbeck

Bradley

Missouri Valley

Carmen Benedetti

Michigan

Big Ten

Trenton Brooks

Nevada

Mountain West

Jeff Campbell

North Dakota

WAC

Quinn Carpenter

Texas Tech

Big 12

Austin Christiansen

Nebraska

Big Ten

Conor Costello

Oklahoma State

Big 12

Will Craig

Wake Forest

ACC

Jacob Cronenworth

Michigan

Big Ten

Bobby Dalbec

Arizona

Pac-12

Kevin Doherty

Virginia

ACC

Matt Fielder

Minnesota

Big Ten

Anthony Gonsolin

St. Mary’s

West Coast

Brandon Gold

Georgia Tech

ACC

Josh Graham

Oregon

Pac-12

Cole Hallum

Campbell

Big South

Anthony Herrera

Louisiana-Monroe

Sun Belt

Thad Johnson

St. Bonaventure

Atlantic 10

Curtis Jones

Houston Baptist

Southland

Jake Kalish

George Mason

Atlantic 10

Sean Keselica

Virginia Tech

ACC

Kenny Koplove

Duke

ACC

Matt LaRocca

Akron

Mid-American

Adam Lau

Alabama-Birmingham

Conference USA

Andrew Lee

Tennessee

SEC

Kyle Marsh

Central Florida

AAC

Brendan McKay

Louisville

ACC

Alex Perez

Virginia Tech

ACC

Tyler Peyton

Iowa

Big Ten

Alex Robles

Austin Peay

Ohio Valley

Jayson Rose

Utah

Pac-12

Anthony Sequera

Oral Roberts

Summit

Logan Sherer

UNC-Charlotte

Conference USA

Robert Tasin

Oklahoma

Big 12

Andrew Utterbeck

Alabama A&M

SWAC

J.C. Wilhite

Alabama

SEC

Posted in N. America, News, College0 Comments

The Best Baseball Sim Game is Back for 2015 – Out Of The Park

Press Release from OOTP Developments

March 23, 2015

Out of the Park Baseball 16 Available Now on Steam and OOTP Developments Web Site

Official Licensee of MLB.com & MiLB.com, Featuring Opening Day Rosters, Revamped Systems, New Leagues, and More

Out of the Park Developments, an official licensee of MLB.com, today announced the worldwide release of Out of the Park Baseball 16 on its web site and Steam. The $39.99 baseball management game runs on PC/Mac/Linux and features a major milestone in its history: The inclusion of official MLB.com and MiLB.com licenses. OOTP 16 includes official league logos, team logos and jerseys for all 30 MLB teams, over 150 MiLB league and team logos, and historical MLB logos.

A bundle of four screenshots, along with the official OOTP 16 logo, can be downloaded here:

http://tinyurl.com/ootp16screens

The company’s mobile game, MLB Manager 2015 (formerly iOOTP Baseball), also will include an official MLB.com license, along with other new features. It will be available soon for Android and iOS.

“This promises to be the biggest year in the history of OOTP, thanks to our fruitful partnership with MLBAM,” said lead developer and lifelong baseball fan Markus Heinsohn. “OOTP 16 is the best version of the game yet, and we have more great features in the works. Stay tuned, baseball fans.”

For more comments from Markus about how the license came to be, please see this post on the OOTP Developments blog:

http://blog.ootpdevelopments.com/?p=523

“OOTP is an astonishing accomplishment,” Boston Red Sox principal owner John Henry told OOTP Developments during an interview conducted last month for the company blog:

http://blog.ootpdevelopments.com/red-sox-principal-owner-john-henry/

OOTP 16 can be found here:

Buy OOTP Baseball 16 PC & Mac

Steam link:

http://store.steampowered.com/app/333820/

New Features

OOTP 16’s full list of new and improved features include:

2015 Opening Day Rosters

The brand new 2015 roster sets includes all Opening Day MLB rosters, via a free update to be released shortly after Opening Day, as well as the complete minor league system down to the rookie leagues. All major league (and certain minor league) player ratings are based on Baseball Prospectus’ industry-leading player forecasting system, PECOTA. The thousands of remaining minor league players are rated manually by OOTP’s established research team.

New international and independent leagues added

Last year, OOTP 15 introduced seven international leagues in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Mexico, Cuba, Italy and The Netherlands. This year, OOTP 16 adds the Australian Baseball League to that list, along with several independent leagues in the US and Japan. All of those leagues feature real rosters, with countless hours of work invested in researching realistic player biographical information, statistics, and ratings.

New team owner goals

Team owners now give short- and long-term goals, which may include: winning the World Series within X seasons; fixing a certain weakness on the roster; extending the contract of a star player; and much more. Players’ abilities to meet those goals not only decides if they’ll be fired but also determines if their contract will be extended at a higher salary, another new feature added this year. (The “cannot be fired” option still exists in OOTP 16.)

Improved team finances and reporting

The team finance system has been redesigned, including new season ticket sales, a team finances screen based on widgets, a new accounting screen, and much more. In addition, the finance-related AI was recoded, resulting in more realistic player contracts and negotiations, as well as more stable long-term team finances.

Completely redesigned manager and coaches system

Managers and coaches have certain personalities and special skills or preferences, which will result in plenty of interesting choices. Managerial choices include easy-going stat-heads and hard-nosed veterans, while some pitching coaches excel at working with power pitchers and others are better suited at overseeing finesse pitchers.

Recoded team strategy system

Players can set their teams’ in-game strategies faster and easier than ever before, but if they play in GM-only mode, they may find that some managers won’t allow certain strategies to be dictated.

Better playoff coverage

A new Pennant Chase screen displays the strength of the remaining schedule and the chance for each team to make the playoffs. The related news coverage was also improved.

Improved 3D ball flight

OOTP 15 introduced support for 3D stadiums and realistic 3D ball flight, which was a big step-up for the series. OOTP 16 improves on that 3D presentation and includes great-looking 3D models of all 30 MLB ballparks.

Much more

  • New play modes (Manager only, GM only, and GM + Manager)
  • An improved simulation engine that incorporates the latest research and trends, such as infield shifts and pitcher usage
  • Rainouts with automatic rescheduling (including double-headers), adding the realism that comes with rain-shortened and cancelled games
  • Better in-game sound effects
  • An enhanced interface, such as a player info pop-up when resting the mouse pointer over a button which links to a player, or automatic syncing between lineups and depth charts when making changes to either of them.
  • Player profile icons that let the user easily see how many times he has won certain awards, been a World Series winner, and more
  • A new Find-A-Player feature: Define certain criteria (ratings, stats, salary etc.) and find the right player
  • Recoded All-Star Game features with real voting (including online league support)
  • Realistic OOTP Hall of Fame selection process, including simulated voting and new stats like JAWS, HoF Standards, Black & Grey Ink Tests
  • More player awards: for example, Most Valuable Player, Playoff Series MVPs, best hitters by position, and Reliever of the Year
  • Better playoff history tracking, including career playoff stats for all real players in the database and playoff leaderboards
  • Alternate currencies (Euro, Pounds Sterling, Yen, etc.)
  • The option to define background pictures for teams and leagues
  • And more

About Out of the Park Developments 

Out of the Park Developments is the developer of the award-winning OOTP and MLB Manager series of baseball management simulations, Franchise Hockey Manager, and Beyond the Sideline Football. German-based OOTP Developments was founded by Markus Heinsohn and Andreas Raht in 1999. OOTP Developments has consistently produced games that have met with critical acclaim, including winning Metacritic’s coveted “Game of the Year” for the 2007 edition of OOTP, which remains the second highest-rated PC game on Metacritic of all time. Further information on the company and its games is available from the OOTP Developments website, http://www.ootpdevelopments.com

Major League Baseball trademarks and copyrights are used with permission of MLB Advanced Media, L.P. Minor League Baseball trademarks and copyrights are used with the permission of Minor League Baseball.  All rights reserved.

Posted in News0 Comments

New Baseball Facility Coming to Austria

Press Release by WBSC

LAUSANNE, Switzerland — Austria is the latest nation to invest in the future and growth of baseball worldwide, as ground has broken for the construction of an international standard baseball facility in Wels, northern Austria, neighboring the Czech Republic and Germany.

The planned baseball facility and training center is part of a new sports complex with an overall budget of €7 million (US $7.6 million), which will also see the creation of three new football (soccer)/multipurpose fields.

The new baseball stadium, projected to be completed by the end of the year, will be the home of the Jumpin’ Chickens Baseball Club that was founded in 1991.

The new venue that will serve Austria’s northern community can potentially play host to future international competitions, given its strategic Central European location and the plans of the facility to meet international standards.

Austria has made some of the biggest gains of WBSC’s 141 member states in terms of their status among baseball’s official world rankings, surging from being No. 55 in the world in 2012 to their current rank of No. 39.

Among WBSC’s nearly 40 member nations in Europe, the nation of approximately 8.5 million people is ranked No. 11 within Europe.

In late July, Austria will be hosting the six-nation 2015 CEB European Championship “B Pool” Qualifier in Vienna, where the host nation, No. 22 Israel, No. 53 Sweden, No. 57 Lithuania, No. 61 Poland and No. 62 Belarus will unite.

With baseball and softball’s steady rise in popularity around the globe, in addition to the planned ballpark in Austria, new baseball/softball facilities are being rolled out in such nations as the Bahamas, Brazil, China, Netherlands, South Africa, Spain and the United Kingdom.

In 2014,  there was historic growth for baseball and softball across Africa, with first-ever national stadiums erected in Ghana and Uganda.

Also new-builds are planned for established baseball territories like Canada, Colombia, Mexico, Nicaragua and Venezuela – and in South Korea and Taiwan, where the first-ever domed baseball stadiums are currently taking shape in those countries.

Based on data compiled, the WBSC, the world governing body of baseball and softball, estimates that over 65 million athletes, from over 140 countries, practice either the sport of baseball or softball, with younger populations and females making up key segments of the participation-demographic.

Copyright © 2014 -2015 WBSC. All rights reserved.

Posted in Europe, News0 Comments

USA wins Women’s Baseball Pan Am Qualifier

Press Release WBSC

SANTIAGO, Dominican Republic — World No. 2 USA won the first-ever Women’s Baseball Pan American Games Qualifier in the Dominican Republic, defeating Venezuela, 3-0, in the finale.

The 2015 Toronto Pan American Games will be the first-ever multi-sport “mega-event” to stage women’s baseball. In total, four baseball/softball disciplines will be featured at the 2015 Pan American Games: men’s baseball and men’s softball, and women’s baseball and women’s softball. Baseball and softball are two of the 36 sports on the Toronto 2015 program.

The 2015 Pan American Women’s Baseball Championship/Pan Am Games qualifier ran from 8-12 March and featured the Women’s National Teams of USA, No. 5 Venezuela, No. 8 Cuba, No. 10 Puerto Rico and unranked host Dominican Republic.

In additional to USA, Venezuela, Cuba, and Puerto Rico all made the cut to be at the historic debut of Women’s Baseball at the Pan Am Games, while hosts Dominican Republic were eliminated.

No. 4 Canada automatically secures a place in the 2015 Pan Am Games, which will be staged in July at the new baseball/softball complex just outside Toronto.

USA was the only country from the Americas region to medal at last year’s WBSC Women’s Baseball World Cup VI, taking the silver medal in Miyazaki, Japan.

The 2015 Pan American Women’s Baseball Championship is being organised by the Dominican Baseball Federation (FEDOBE), in conjunction with the Pan American Baseball Confederation (COPABE) — the World Baseball Softball Confederation’s baseball arm for the Americas.

Copyright © 2015 WBSC. All rights reserved.

Posted in N. America, Tournaments0 Comments

Europe gets historic victory, defeats No. 1 Japan 6-2 in global baseball showing in Tokyo

Press Release WBSC

TOKYO – Debuting in a two-game series at the Tokyo Dome against the top-ranked nation in the world, Europe recorded its historic first victory for the continent, defeating Japan 6-2 to split the two-game series.

Like in Game 1, Europe managed to get out of the gates early, tagging Samurai starter Takahiro Matsuba for back-to-back doubles in the second inning, authored by Italy’s Mario Chiarini and Spain’s Blake Ochoa, which put Europe up 2-0.

A towering three-run home run by the Netherlands’ Yurendell Decaster in the bottom of the third gave Europe a 5-0 lead. (VIDEO: Decaster HR)

With the cushion, Europe starter Diegomar Marwell (Netherlands) kept Japan’s bats quiet through three innings, only allowing three hits.

In the 5th, Tetsuto Yamada launched a solo home run and Yoshitomo Tsutsugo’s RBI single cut Europe’s lead to 5-2.

Europe manager Steve Janssen handed the ball to Germany’s Luke Sommer, who pitched a clean 6th to 8th innings.

Dutch flamethrower Tom Stuifbergen pitched the final inning, using a 95 mph/153 kmh fastball close out the game and register the save for Europe.

Sommer was credited with the win. Japan starter Matsuba took the loss.

The historic win for Europe follows the announcement by baseball’s world governing body, WBSC, to establish Team Europe. Europe was immediately pitted against the world No. 1 Japanese National Team, “Samurai Japan”, made up of top stars from Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB). The majority of players on Japan’s current roster were part of the Samurai selection that faced Team MLB in a best-of-five series, won by hosts Japan, last November.

Both WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari and NPB Commissioner Katsuhiko Kumazaki went down on the field Wednesday night to congratulate the European team, following their 6-2 win and two exciting contests in as many nights.

“These two highly competitive games send another message to the world that Europe can compete with anyone and that our sport is more global than ever,” President Fraccari said.

Two European countries, No. 5 Netherlands and No. 11 Italy, are among the elite field heading to the inaugural Premier 12™ that will unite baseball’s top twelve countries.

Samurai Japan manager Hiroki Kokubo said, “We have to give them credit. They’ve come a long way and played the game at a high level.”

“The victory was a historic one, as it was the debut of the multinational Team Europe,” The Japan Times reported.

Head coach Janssen (Netherlands National Team manager) and bench coach Marco Mazzieri (Italy National Team manager) compiled a roster of 28 European players from six countries: (by world rank) Netherlands, Italy, No. 17 Spain, No. 18 Germany, No. 20 Czech Republic and No. 27 France.

No. 36 Belgium and No. 39 Austria were also represented as part of Europe’s coaching staff.

Yokohama BayStars rising star Tsutsugo, 23, was one of the bright spots for the Samurai in the series, collecting a pair of hits and RBIs. “I would like come up with positive results during the [NPB] season [that are] worthy of a Samurai Japan member,” he said.

Over 44,000 people attended the historic matches, with an increase in attendance of approximately 2,000 more fans for Game 2, following Samurai Japan’s thrilling 4-3 come-from-behind victory in Game 1 Tuesday night.

The two-game series was broadcast free-to-air nationally across Japan by the Tokyo Broadcasting System (TBS), while Eurosport 2 transmitted the games live to potentially 73 million households across more than 50 European nations.

Prior to the start of Game 2 there was a moment of silence to honor the victims and raise awareness of ongoing recovery efforts four years after the 11 March 2011 Tsunami devastated the Fukushima region.

NPB — the second highest-attended major sports league in the world in 2014 (approx. 23 million) and WBSC Associate Member — hosted the Europe versus Japan two-game series.

Umpires from the Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL; WBSC Associate Member) officiated the two games.

Leading sports performance brand Asics backed Europe as the official kit sponsor.

The game ball that marked Europe’s first-ever pitch in Game 1 Tuesday night will be going to Japan’s Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, along with Team Europe’s official game jersey.

In the two-game series, Japan outhit Europe 16 to 13. Japan played spotless defense with the glove, committing no errors on defense. Europe also flashed the leather, executing a pickoff and making only one error on defense.

Copyright © 2015 WBSC. All rights reserved.

Posted in Asia, Europe0 Comments

College Baseball Hall of Fame Announces 2015 Inductees

Press Release College Baseball Hall of Fame

LUBBOCK, TexasOne of only three men to twice win a recognized college player of the year award plus two men who led their teams to the World Series at both the collegiate and Major League levels highlight the 2015 National College Baseball Hall of Fame induction class.

“This class features players and coaches with some incredible superlatives,” said Mike Gustafson, executive director of the College Baseball Hall of Fame. “There are some unique and outstanding accomplishments by the individuals in this class.”

This year’s class, which will be inducted as a part of the annual celebration of college baseball on June 28-29 in Lubbock, Texas, is headlined by Lance Berkman, who led Rice to its first College World Series appearance before embarking on a stellar Major League career; and Frank Viola, the talented left-hander who led his St. John’s club to Omaha in 1980 and went on to a 15-year Major League career that included winning the 1988 American League Cy Young Award.

The switch-hitting Berkman was named National Player of the Year by the NCBWA in 1997 on the strength of a .431 batting average, 41 home runs and 143 RBIs. During his three years at Rice, the Owls made their first NCAA tournament appearance in 1995 and their first College World Series appearance in 1997.

Viola registered a 26-2 career record at St. John’s, leading the Redmen in 1980 to Omaha, where he opened the CWS with a 6-1 victory over eventual national champion Arizona. However, it was another postseason win, a 1-0, 12-inning thriller in the 1981 NCAA regional over Yale and Ron Darling for which he is best remembered.

Also included in the class are Joe Arnold, a two-time NJCAA All-American pitcher at Miami-Dade who also earned Most Valuable Player honors at the 1966 NJCAA World Series; former Lubbock Christian and Texas Tech coach Larry Hays, one of only eight coaches at any level of college baseball with 1,500 wins; Al Holland, who shattered records in his four years at North Carolina A&T; Bill Holowaty, the third-winningest coach in NCAA Division III history; Mike Kelly, who was the consensus national player of the year in 1990 and winner of the Golden Spikes Award in 1991; and Rick Reichardt, who won the first recognized collegiate national player of the year award in 1964.

As a junior college player at Miami-Dade, Arnold played for the legendary Demie Mainieri. He is one of only two junior college players to twice be named NJCAA All-American as well as MVP of the NJCAA World Series in Grand Junction, Colorado. He later attended Arizona State where he won 11 games, finishing his collegiate playing career with a 40-5 record. He later enjoyed a stellar coaching career, leading Florida Southern to two NCAA Division II national championships before assuming the reins at the University of Florida, where he twice took the Gators to Omaha.

Hays coached Lubbock Christian to 695 wins and the 1983 NAIA national championship before moving across town to Texas Tech, where he assumed a program that had a losing record throughout its history. In his 22 years on campus, he led the Red Raiders to 813 wins and all four of their con­ference championship titles, as well as their first nine NCAA tournament appearances. In 2008, he became only the fourth coach in NCAA history to win 1,500 games.

Holland rode a blazing fastball to a record-setting career in which he tossed four no-hitters and twice led the nation in strikeouts per nine innings. His microscopic 0.26 ERA in 1975 also led the nation and is the third best ERA in NCAA Division I history.

Holowaty led Eastern Connecticut State to four NCAA Division III national championships and was honored four times as the national coach of the year. His 1,404 wins trail only 2009 inductee Gordie Gillespie and 2013 inductee Don Schaly on the Division III list.

Kelly’s three years at Arizona State rank as three of the most illustrious in school history. He is on a list with 2006 inductees Robin Ventura and Brooks Kieschnick as the only NCAA Division I players to twice take home player of the year honors. He finished his career in Tempe with a .376 batting average, 46 homers and 194 RBIs.

Reichardt was the first player in Big Ten history to repeat as batting champ. His 1964 batting aver­age of .443 in Big Ten play earned him The Sporting News National Player of the Year recogni­tion, plus All-America honors from ABCA.

“Our voting committees consists of longtime college baseball media members, active and former coaches, retired umpires, past inductees, college baseball historians and in several cases they are also former players,” Gustafson said. “I commend them on another outstanding job.”

Tickets for the 2015 induction will be available in May on the Hall of Fame’s website at www.collegebaseballhall.org.

For more information, contact Mike Gustafson, National College Baseball Hall of Fame president and CEO, atgus@collegebaseballfoundation.org.

2015 NCBHOF INDUCTEE EXTENDED BIOS:

Joe Arnold, Miami-Dade/Arizona State, 1965-67 (Pitcher)

As a pitcher at Miami-Dade College, he was a two time All-American. In 1965 and ’66, he finished with a combined record of 29-4, while being named the MVP of the 1966 Junior College World Series. In 2006, he was recognized as a member of the 50th Anniversary NJCAA World Series Team. His record of 30 2/3 innings pitched at the 1966 Junior College World Series still stands.

After Miami-Dade, Arnold played for Arizona State University. In one year he compiled an 11-1 record, giving him a total of 40 wins and 5 losses in three years of collegiate competition.

As the Florida Southern head coach from 1977 to 1983, he led the Moccasins to a 316-69 record for a .821 winning percentage. Arnold’s Moccasins teams won Regional titles in six of his seven years and NCAA Division II National Championships in 1978 and 1981. From 1984 to ’94 he served as head coach of the Florida Gators and led them to 434 wins and a .640 winning percentage. In addition, his Gator teams appeared in 1988 and ’91 College World Series.

Lance Berkman, Rice, 1995-97 (First baseman/Outfielder)

Berkman hit .322 with six home runs and a Southwest Conference-leading 26 doubles as a freshman. Rice went 43-19 overall and finished one game behind Texas Tech in the SWC, which was good enough to make the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history.

As a sophomore, he led the SWC with 20 home runs and finished fourth in the batting race with a .398 average. The Owls finished at 42-23 and won the final SWC post-season tournament.

Berkman turned in one of the greatest seasons in Division I history in 1997, winning the WAC Triple Crown with a .431 average, 41 homers and 134 RBIs. He also led the conference in runs and hits. Overall, he was 11th in the nation in batting, second in runs, third in hits, second in slugging, and first in total bases, RBIs and home runs. In the NCAA Tournament, Rice swept through the Central Regionals, and Berkman was named the Most Outstanding Player. The Owls’ subsequent trip to the College World Series was the first in school history. For his efforts, he was named National Player of the Year by the NCBWA and was unanimous All-American at first base.

Berkman’s final career stats: .385 batting average, 67 home runs with 272 RBIs.

Larry Hays, Lubbock Christian/Texas Tech, 1971-2008 (Coach)

The first 16 of his 38 seasons as head coach were spent coaching the Lubbock Christian (NAIA) baseball program. From 1971 to 1986, Hays had 10 seasons with 40 or more wins with the Chaparrals, winning the NAIA national championship in 1983. He went 695-381 while coaching the Chaps.

When he took over at Texas Tech, the Red Raiders had an overall losing record, but Hays put out a winning product in two years. The best times, however, came in a stretch from 1995 to 2004. In that span, Tech won two Southwest Conference championships and two Big 12 Conference championships. He won a tournament title in each conference. Tech made nine NCAA tournament appearances, including eight straight from 1995 to 2002.

Hays’ season honors included being named coach of the year following nine different seasons. The highlight was the 1997 season when he was selected Big 12 Conference Coach of the Year by the Big 12 coaches, The Dallas Morning News and the Austin American-Statesman.

On April 2, 2008, Hays won game No. 1,500. He left with a career total of 1,509 wins – good for 5th among coaches at four-year schools at the time, behind only Gordie Gillespie, Augie Garrido, Gene Stephenson and Mike Martin.

In 1991, Hays was inducted into the NAIA Hall of Fame, and in 2001 he became the first collegiate baseball coach to be inducted into the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame.

Al Holland, North Carolina A&T, 1972-1975 (Pitcher)

Holland pitched at North Carolina A&T from 1972-1975 before beginning a 10-year Major League Baseball career. He threw four no-hitters in college, one in each year he pitched. His no-hitter in 1972 against North Carolina Central included 25 strikeouts.

As a freshman in 1972, Holland led the nation in strikeouts (143) and was second in ERA (0.54). The following year, NC A&T’s last in the NAIA, he recorded an ERA of 1.03 and added another 102 strikeouts. Though the Aggies moved up to NCAA status, Holland continued to dominate the competition during the next two years with a 0.95 ERA and 105 strikeouts in 1974, and a nation-leading 0.26 ERA and 118 strikeouts in 1975.

Holland was a two-time NAIA All-American in 1972 and 1973. He was named to the MEAC Hall of Fame in 1993.

Bill Holowaty, Eastern Connecticut State, 1969-2013 (Coach)

One of the most successful coaches in NCAA Division III history, Holowaty retired with a 1,404- 525-7 career record. Holowaty led Eastern to four national championships and was national coach of the year four times. He finished third on the NCAA Division III wins list behind Gordie Gillespie and Don Schaly, both previous inductees of the National College Baseball Hall of Fame. He has the most victories of any coach – in any sport – in New England intercollegiate history.

Having been named national coach of the year four times and regional coach of the year 14 times, Holowaty’s legend was built upon consistency. In addition to winning four national championships, the Warriors posted at least 30 wins 28 times in the last 40 seasons under the head coach and brought a streak of 11 straight 30-win seasons into 2012, when they fell one win shy of extending that streak. Only one Holowaty-coached team in 44 seasons ever won less than 60 percent of its games. Despite winning “only” 58.5 percent of its game, that 1989 team came within an acrobatic outfield catch by its opponent of reaching the national tournament. The following year, the Warriors recorded the first of four 40-win campaigns, and advanced to the national tournament, where they proceeded virtually unchallenged to a second national title.

Under Holowaty, Eastern either won the Little East Conference regular-season or post-season championships or both in the same season 14 times in 16 years. The Warriors are the only program to win back-to-back LEC tournament titles – having done it twice – and are the only program to win consecutive outright LEC regular-season titles, having captured four straight between 2002 and 2005. Eastern won or shared LEC regular-season titles eight times in the first nine seasons of LEC competition.

Mike Kelly, Arizona State, 1989-91 (Outfielder)

Kelly put together one of the best three-year careers in the illustrious history of Arizona State baseball. He was a career .350 hitter with 197 runs scored, 46 doubles, 194 RBIs and 46 home runs. His 46 home runs rank third in ASU career history.

At the time of his induction into the ASU Hall of Fame in 2014, Kelly also ranked sixth in RBIs (194) and ninth with in runs scored (197). He was a three-time All-American during his playing career, including winning the 1991 Golden Spikes Award and was the consensus 1990 National Player of the Year. He was also the 1990 Pac-10 Player of the Year after a season when he hit .376 with 17 doubles, six triples, 21 home runs and 82 RBIs, which ranks among the top individual efforts in college baseball history.

Kelly was the second overall selection in the 1991 major league draft by the Atlanta Braves and went on to play parts of six seasons in the major leagues with four different teams.

Rick Reichardt, Wisconsin, 1963-64 (Outfielder)

A native of Steven’s Point, Wisconsin, he enrolled at Wisconsin to play football. During the 1963 baseball season, he led the Big 10 in home runs (5) and batting average and recorded a .429 average in conference games. He also was a third-team All-Big Ten selection.

During the 1963 football season, Reichardt led the Big Ten in receptions with 26 catches for 383 yards and one touchdown for the conference champion Badgers.

In the 1964 baseball season, he finished second in the nation with a .443 batting average in conference games, also a school record. He was the first Big Ten player to repeat as batting champion and recorded 15- and 17-game hitting streaks. On the season, he also scored 28 runs and stole nine bases, which led the conference. Following that season, he was named first-team All-Big Ten and first-team All-American by ABCA and The Sporting News.

He finished his Wisconsin career with a .394 batting average, a school record, and was named the 1964 National Player of the Year by The Sporting News. Reichardt signed the largest Major League Baseball bonus contract at the time with the LA Angels.

Frank Viola, St. Johns, 1979-81 (Pitcher)

Viola recorded a 6-1 record with a 2.09 ERA during his first season at St. John’s. He followed that up in 1980 with a 10-1 record and a 2.16 ERA in 87.2 innings and recorded his best season in 1981, finishing with a 10-0 record and a 0.87 ERA in 83 innings pitched.

St. John’s appeared in NCAA post-season play in each of his three years and in game one of the 1980 College World Series, Viola helped defeat eventual national champion Arizona, 6-1. His most memorable victory was a 1981 Regional victory of Yale and Ron Darling, in which Viola pitched 11 scoreless innings. Following the 1981 season, Viola was named first-team All-America by Baseball America.

NATIONAL COLLEGE BASEBALL HALL OF FAME INDUCTEE NOTES:

Mike Kelly joins Brooks Kieschnick and Robin Ventura as the only players to win an ac­knowledged national player of the year award in two separate years.

Larry Hays is one of only eight coaches in the history of college baseball at any level with 1,500 wins, joining Augie Garrido, Gordie Gillespie*, Gene Stephenson*, Mike Martin, Lloyd Simmons, Wayne Graham*, Mark Marquess and Larry Hays*.

* National College Baseball Hall of Fame inductee

Lance Berkman will be the fifth-youngest inductee at 39 years, 4 months (Brooks Kieschnick was the youngest at 34 years, 1 month, followed by Nomar Garciaparra, John Olerud and Robin Ventura at 38 years, 11 months)

Frank Viola’s 1981 NCAA regional win over Yale and Ron Darling was detailed by legend­ary New Yorker scribe Roger Angell, who covered the anticipated matchup during the 1981 MLB strike and watched the game with 92-year old Smokey Joe Wood.

Both Larry Hays and Bill Holowaty played and coached collegiate basketball.

Rick Reichardt won the first acknowledged national player of the year recognition when he was named The Sporting News Player of the Year in 1964.

Joe Arnold was named to the JUCO World Series 50th Anniversary Team in 2007.

This is the first induction class since 2012 in which every member is living.

The three pitchers (Arnold, Holland, Viola) in this class combined to go 96-12 in their collegiate careers.

The three coaches in this class (Arnold, Hays, Holowaty) combined to win seven national championships, with a total of 3,723 wins.

The three position players in this class combined to win seven national player of the year recognitions.

With the induction of the 2015 class, the National College Baseball Hall of Fame will have 93 inductees

Posted in N. America, News, College0 Comments

MLB, MLBPA Announce Pace of Game Initiatives and Replay Modifications

Press Release by Major League Baseball

Baseball Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr., Major League Baseball Players Association Executive Director Tony Clark and Atlanta Braves President John Schuerholz, the Chairman of Major League Baseball’s Pace of Game and Instant Replay Committees, today jointly announced additions to the sport’s pace of game program, which will be effective in Spring Training, the regular season and the Postseason, and a series of modifications to the instant replay system. The World Umpires Association also has given its assent to the new efforts, which will be reviewed by the parties following the conclusion of the 2015 World Series.

PACE OF GAME

  • The pace of game program will enforce the batter’s box rule, requiring that all batters must keep at least one foot in the batter’s box unless one of a group of exceptions occurs. The new rule at the Major League level mirrors 6.02(d), which was in place in Minor League Baseball in 2014.
  • A second new component to the pace of game program is the addition of timers that will measure non-game action and break time between innings and pitching changes during each Major League game. One timer will be installed on or near the outfield scoreboard, and a smaller timer will be installed on the façade behind home plate near the press box. Immediately following the third out of each half-inning, the timer will count down from 2:25 for locally televised games and from 2:45 for nationally televised games. An MLB representative attending each game will operate the timers from the ballpark and will track the following events:

Time Remaining

Activity

40 Seconds

PA announces batter and begins to play walk-up music

30 Seconds

Pitcher throws final warm-up pitch

25 Seconds

Batter’s walk-up music ends

20 Seconds-5 Seconds

Batter enters the batter’s box

20 Seconds-0 Seconds

Pitcher begins motion to deliver pitch

  • Pitchers will be permitted to throw as many warm-up pitches as they wish prior to the point when 30 seconds remain on the clock; however, pitchers will be deemed to have forfeited any of their traditional eight warm-up pitches that they are unable to complete prior to the 30-second deadline. Exceptions to these rules will be made in a variety of circumstances, including if the pitcher or catcher ended the prior half-inning at bat or on base.
  • Batters will be encouraged to get into the batter’s box with 20 seconds remaining on the timer. This is the same time that the broadcasters return from commercial. The pitcher is expected to begin his motion to deliver the pitch as soon as the batter gets into the batter’s box and becomes alert to the pitcher. Batters who do not enter the box prior to five seconds remaining on the timer and pitchers who do not begin the motion to deliver the pitch prior to zero seconds remaining on the timer will be deemed to have violated the break timing rules.
  • These rules will be enforced through a warning and fine system, with discipline resulting for flagrant violators. No fines will be issued in Spring Training or in April of the 2015 regular season. Donations will be made to the Major League Baseball Players Trust charitable foundation based on the level of adherence to the new rules.

Commissioner Manfred said: “These changes represent a step forward in our efforts to streamline the pace of play. The most fundamental starting point for improving the pace of the average game involves getting into and out of breaks seamlessly. In addition, the batter’s box rule will help speed up a basic action of the game.”

Clark said: “The Players believe that enforcing the rules that currently exist regarding between inning breaks and plate appearances is the best way to address the issue of pace of play. We’re confident that today’s announcements will have a positive impact on the pace of the game without jeopardizing the integrity of the competition.”

Schuerholz said: “The Pace of Game Committee wants to take measured steps as we address this industry goal to quicken the pace of our great game. It is not an objective of ours to achieve a dramatic time reduction right away; it is more important to develop a culture of better habits and a structure with more exact timings for non-game action.”

Brian Lam, who represents the Major League Umpires, stated: “These strides to hone the pace of game over time will improve the natural rhythm of baseball, and we applaud and support the Players Association and the Commissioner’s Office as we all move toward this goal.”

INSTANT REPLAY MODIFICATIONS

  • Managers may now invoke instant replay from the dugout and will no longer be required to approach the calling umpire to challenge a call. Managers may hold play from the top step of the dugout by signaling to players and the home plate umpire that he is considering a challenge. A decision can be communicated verbally or with a hand signal. To challenge an inning-ending call, managers will be required to leave the dugout immediately in order to hold the defensive team on the field.
  • Whether a runner left the base early or properly touched a base on a tag-up play will be reviewable.
  • A manager will retain his challenge after every call that is overturned. Last year, a manager retained his challenge only after the first overturned call.
  • A manager must use a challenge in order to review whether a play at home plate included a violation of the rule governing home plate collisions. However, in the event that a manager is out of challenges after the start of the seventh inning, the Crew Chief may still choose to review whether there was a violation of the rule.
  • During Postseason games, regular season tiebreaker games and the All-Star Game, managers will now have two challenges per game.
  • Instant replay will not be utilized during 2015 Spring Training, but it will be in place for exhibition games at Major League ballparks prior to the start of the 2015 regular season.

Posted in N. America, News, MLB0 Comments

USA Baseball to Host Cuba in Friendship Series

Press Release USA Baseball

DURHAM, N.C. — USA Baseball and the Cuban Baseball Federation announced on Wednesday that the two international baseball powers will continue their home-and-home international friendship series in the U.S. this July. 2015 will mark the fourth consecutive year the two countries have met on the baseball diamond for a five-game series. The U.S. hosted in 2013, while Cuba hosted the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team in 2012 and 2014.

Co-hosted by the Charlotte Knights and the Durham Bulls, the 2015 series will be contested entirely in the state of North Carolina. The two nations will open and close the series at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, N.C., on July 1 and 6, while the Durham Bulls will host games on July 2 and 3 at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park, and the Charlotte Knights will host play on the Fourth of July at BB&T Ballpark in uptown Charlotte.

“It is a thrill to bring the Cuban National Team to North Carolina for five competitive, entertaining games in Cary, Durham and Charlotte, this summer,” said Paul Seiler, USA Baseball’s executive director/CEO. “Building on the success of the first three years of this renewed friendship series should make for an incredible experience for the players, coaches, fans and the international baseball community.”

After a 16-year hiatus, USA and Cuba resumed a yearly international friendship series on the baseball field in 2012 with the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team traveling to Havana for an intense five-game series that saw the host nation score a 3-2 series victory. In 2013 (in the U.S.) and 2014 (in Cuba), the host nations dominated play with five-game sweeps. In three years of renewed rivalry, Cuba leads the series 8-7.

“It’s exciting to be entering the fourth consecutive year of international friendship series between these two historic baseball countries,” said World Baseball Softball Confederation Ambassador, Antonio Castro. “The games in Cuba in 2014 were an incredibly positive experience for the players and fans, and we look forward to the same kind of atmosphere this year in the United States.”

The USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, N.C., which opened in 2007, has been a friendly home to the Collegiate National Team program. The Collegiate National Team sports a 16-1-1 all-time record at the NTC, including a 3-2 victory in its only previous match up against Cuba in Cary.

The Durham Bulls Athletic Park has also been good to the Collegiate National Team. Since opening in 1995, and becoming an unofficial yearly home to the team in 2003, the Collegiate National Team has posted a 44-7 record in 51 contests there. The Collegiate National Team and Cuba have met once before at the DBAP, with Team USA winning the final game of the 2013 series, 5-3, in front of a joyous hometown crowd.

July 4, 2015 will mark the first game USA Baseball has played in the Charlotte Knights new home, BB&T Ballpark. Opened prior to the 2014 season, the Collegiate National Team was scheduled to play the Chinese Taipei National Team in the ballpark last July, but inclement weather forced a postponement and the game was ultimately made up in Durham. USA and Cuba did meet at the Knight’s previous home, Knights Stadium in Fort Mill, S.C., in August of 1988, with the Red, White and Blue winning both contests.

Since USA Baseball began keeping official records following the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games, the Collegiate National Team is 35-65 in 100 meetings with the Cuban National Team; however, Team USA holds a 22-20 advantage in games hosted in the U.S., most recently winning all five games of the 2013 international friendship series.

The 2015 USA Baseball Collegiate National Team will be managed by St. John’s University skipper, Ed Blankmeyer. The remainder of the coaching staff and players invited to the Collegiate National Team and Collegiate National Team Training Camp will be announced throughout the spring.

For more information on the Collegiate National Team, please visit USABaseball.com.

Posted in N. America, Latin America, College0 Comments

USAB, MLB announce International Prospect Series

Press Release USA Baseball

DURHAM, N.C. — USA Baseball and Major League Baseball announced the creation of the International Prospect Series in a joint announcement on Thursday. The inaugural event, which will be held March 27 and 28 at the USA Baseball National Training Complex, is expected to feature high school-aged athletes from Aruba, Colombia, Curacao, Dominican Republic, Panama and Venezuela, against two North Carolina high school baseball teams.

“Major League Baseball is proud to stand alongside USA Baseball on the launch of the International Prospect Series,” said Baseball Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr. “In the years ahead, our global game will aim to develop more players – at all levels and from all communities. This event promises to be a strong showcase of amateur talent in a format that can help advance the careers of many players.”

The two-day event will include games between the International All-Star Prospects and two local North Carolina high schools, South Caldwell High School and Providence High School. The International All-Star Prospects roster, which will be comprised largely of July 2, 2015 free agent-eligible international athletes, is selected by personnel from Major League Baseball.

“Continuing to grow the game globally has always been important to USA Baseball, and partnering with Major League Baseball on the International Prospect Series is another opportunity to continue that drive,” said Paul Seiler, USA Baseball’s executive director/CEO. “It is also exciting to shine the spotlight on our local community and the great baseball hosted in Cary, North Carolina, each year. We look forward to two competitive days of baseball at the National Training Complex.”

The event runs simultaneously with the USA Baseball National High School Invitational, which brings together 16 of the top high school baseball programs in the U.S. each March. The two events represent a major opportunity to the amateur scouting community as the top U.S. and international high school players will be competing in one location.

The schedule for the 2015 International Prospect Series is as follows:

Thursday, March 26

International All-Star Prospects pro-style workout
USA Baseball National Training Complex, Cary, N.C.

Friday, March 27

International All-Star Prospects vs. South Caldwell High School
USA Baseball National Training Complex, Cary N.C.

Saturday, March 28

International All-Star Prospects vs. Providence High School
USA Baseball National Training Complex, Cary N.C.

For more information on the International Prospect Series, please visit the event page HERE.

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USA Baseball Unveils 2015 50-Player Golden Spikes Watch List

Press Release by USA Baseball

DURHAM, N.C. — USA Baseball released its 50-player preseason USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award watch list on Tuesday, beginning the organization’s journey to naming the top amateur baseball player in the country in a trophy presentation on Tuesday, June 23 in Los Angeles. Sponsored by Major League Baseball, and presented in partnership with the Rod Dedeaux Foundation, 2015 marks the 38th year of the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award.

The preseason watch list features 50 of the nation’s top amateur players, and will be a “rolling” list until May 22 — when the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award semifinalists are announced — ensuring that athletes can play themselves into consideration for the award throughout the collegiate and high school seasons.

“It is hard to believe that we will be presenting the Golden Spikes Award for the 38th time this June,” said USA Baseball’s executive director/CEO, Paul Seiler. “2015 looks to be another outstanding year for amateur baseball and we can’t wait to follow the competition across all levels of the game this season.”

Six players on the watch list have previously been named semifinalists for the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award in their careers. Nathan Kirby (LHP, junior, Virginia), Michael Murray (RHP, junior, Florida Gulf Coast) and DJ Stewart (OF, junior, Florida State) were all semifinalists for the award in 2014, while David Berg (RHP, senior, UCLA), Alex Bregman (SS, junior, LSU) and Thomas Eshelman (RHP, junior, Cal State Fullerton) earned the recognition in the 2013 season.

Players on the list represent 17 different collegiate athletic conferences, led by Southeastern Conference with 12 players named to the watch list. The Atlantic Coast Conference has 10 athletes on the list, while the Pac 12 has eight. 2014 NCAA Division I national champion, Vanderbilt, leads all institutions with three players on the preseason watch list, while Cal State Fullerton, Florida, Miami (Fla.), TCU, UCLA and Virginia all placed a pair of athletes on the list.

Also appearing on the list are three non-NCAA Division I athletes. Phil Bickford (RHP, sophomore, College of Southern Nevada) is the lone junior college representative after winning the Robert A. McNeese Award in the Cape Code League last summer. Two-time Division III national player and pitcher of the year, Chris Haddeland (RHP, senior, Linfield), returns to the watch list after receiving consideration for the Golden Spikes Award late into the 2014 season. Brendan Rodgers (SS, senior, Lake Mary (Fla.) HS) is the only high school athlete on the preseason watch list. Bryce Harper (2010) and Alex Fernandez (1990) are the only two non-NCAA Division I winners of the award.

On April 9, USA Baseball will release its 60-man midseason watch list, shaped by the Golden Spikes Award committee. On May 22, USA Baseball will announce the semifinalists for the 2015 Golden Spikes Award. The semifinalists list will be sent to a voting body consisting of past USA Baseball National Team coaches and press officers, members of the media that follow the amateur game closely, select professional baseball personnel, current USA Baseball staff and the 37 previous winners of the award, representing a group of more than 200 voters.

Fan voting will once again be a part of the Golden Spikes Award in 2015. Friday, May 22, marks the day when amateur baseball fans across the country will be able to vote for their favorite semifinalists at GoldenSpikesAward.com. As part of this selection process, all voters will be asked to choose three players from the list. On Tuesday, June 3, USA Baseball will announce the finalists, and voting will once again commence that same day.

The 2015 Golden Spikes Award winner will be named on Tuesday, June 23, at a presentation in Los Angeles. The finalists and their families will be honored at the Rod Dedeaux Foundation Dinner that evening at the Jonathan Club in downtown Los Angeles.

Last year, University of Kentucky’s two-way star, A.J. Reed, took home the prestigious award, joining a group of recent winners that includes Kris Bryant (2013), Mike Zunino (2012), Trevor Bauer (2011), Bryce Harper (2010), Stephen Strasburg (2009) and Buster Posey (2008).

The anticipated timeline for the 2015 Golden Spikes Award announcements is:

  • Tuesday, February 10: 2015 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award 50-man preseason watch list
  • Thursday, April 9: 2015 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award 60-man midseason watch list
  • Thursday, May 7: 2015 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award 30-man preliminary list
  • Friday, May 22: 2015 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award semifinalists, voting begins
  • Friday, May 29: 2015 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award semifinalists voting ends
  • Tuesday, June 3: 2015 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award finalists, voting begins
  • Friday, June 12: 2015 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award finalists voting ends
  • Tuesday, June 23: 2015 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award trophy presentation

A complete list of the 50-player USA Baseball preseason Golden Spikes Award watch list is as follows:

Name, Position, Class, School, Conference
David Berg, RHP, Senior, UCLA, Pac 12
Phil Bickford, RHP, Sophomore, CC of Southern Nevada, Scenic West (JC)
Alex Bregman, SS, Junior, LSU, SEC
Walker Buehler, RHP, Junior, Vanderbilt, SEC
Austin Byler, 3B, Senior, Nevada, Mountain West
Shaun Chase, C, Senior, Oregon, Pac 12
Zack Collins, C, Sophomore, Miami, ACC
Wil Crowe, RHP, Sophomore, South Carolina, SEC
Tyler Davis, RHP, Senior, Washington, Pac 12
Steven Duggar, OF, Junior, Clemson, ACC
Thomas Eshelman, RHP, Junior, Cal State Fullerton, Big West
Riley Ferrell, RHP, Junior, TCU, Big 12
Blake Fox, LHP, Junior, Rice, C-USA
Carson Fulmer, RHP, Junior, Vanderbilt, SEC
Kyle Funkhouser, RHP, Junior, Louisville, ACC
Justin Garza, RHP, Junior, Cal State Fullerton, Big West
Eric Gutierrez, 1B, Junior, Texas Tech, Big 12
Chris Haddeland, RHP, Senior, Linfield, Northwest Athletic (DIII)
Ian Happ, OF, Junior, Cincinnati, American Athletic
Tyler Jay, LHP, Junior, Illinois, Big 10
Casey Jones, OF, Senior, Elon, CAA
James Kaprielian, RHP, Junior, UCLA, Pac 12
Nathan Kirby, LHP, Junior, Virginia, ACC
Jake Lemoine, RHP, Junior, Houston, American Athletic
Brett Lilek, LHP, Junior, Arizona State, Pac 12
Richie Martin, SS, Junior, Florida, SEC
Tate Matheny, OF, Junior, Missouri State, Missouri Valley
Michael Matuella, RHP, Junior, Duke, ACC
Andrew Moore, RHP, Junior, Oregon State, Pac 12
Preston Morrison, RHP, Senior, TCU, Big 12
Michael Murray, RHP, Junior, Florida Gulf Coast, Atlantic Sun
Sheldon Neuse, 3B, Sophomore, Oklahoma, Big 12
Kevin Newman, SS, Junior, Arizona, Pac 12
Connor Panas, 3B, Senior, Canisius, MAAC
Cal Quantrill, RHP, Sophomore, Stanford, Pac 12
Brendan Rodgers, SS, Senior (High School), Lake Mary (Fla.), High School
Chris Shaw, OF, Junior, Boston College, ACC
Logan Shore, RHP, Sophomore, Florida, SEC
DJ Stewart, OF, Junior, Florida State, ACC
Christin Stewart, OF, Junior, Tennessee, SEC
Andrew Suarez, LHP, RS-Junior, Miami, ACC
Dansby Swanson, SS, Junior, Vanderbilt, SEC
Keegan Thompson, RHP, Sophomore, Auburn, SEC
Trent Thornton, RHP, Junior, North Carolina, ACC
Blake Trahan, SS, Junior, Louisiana-Lafayette, Sun Belt
Christian Trent, LHP, Junior, Ole Miss, SEC
Robert Tyler, RHP, Sophomore, Georgia, SEC
Brandon Waddell, LHP, Junior, Virginia, ACC
Colin Welmon, RHP, Senior, Loyola Marymount, West Coast
Mikey White, SS, Junior, Alabama, SEC

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WBSC appoints Kenyon & Kenyon LLP’s Colbert as General Counsel, Cuba’s Castro as Global Ambassador

Press Release by WBSC

LAUSANNE, Switzerland – The WBSC, baseball and softball’s world ruling body, at its executive meeting in the Olympic Capital this past Saturday, appointed Edward Colbert of the Washington D.C. office of law firm Kenyon & Kenyon LLP as WBSC General Counsel and Dr. Antonio Castro as WBSC Global Ambassador.

Colbert, a partner at Kenyon, considered by Fortune 500 companies as one of the most elite intellectual property law firms in the world, has significant experience in international intellectual property licensing and acquisitions, and manages the trademark portfolios of leading retailers, companies and organizations worldwide.

Colbert helped create and shape the United States Olympic Committee licensing program and was involved in the licensing and enforcement of Olympic marketing rights in the United States and certain related global rights for the U.S. Olympic Teams. He serves as an arbitrator on the International Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne and for the American Arbitration Association.

WBSC Global Ambassador Castro, who has been a strong advocate of sports diplomacy and baseball and softball’s bid to return to the Olympic stage, has served as an executive committee member of the International Baseball Federation since 2009 and will have an expanded role within the WBSC, particularly as the geopolitical landscape evolves, and will have a seat (without vote) on the WBSC Executive Board.

Castro, who was present for WBSC’s meetings in Lausanne, was also a member of WBSC’s official presenting team in which baseball and softball finished second in voting – only behind wrestling – for a place in the 2020 and 2024 Olympic Games, a vote that took place at the International Olympic Committee session in Buenos Aires, Argentina in September 2013.

The WBSC Executive Committee also appointed Italy’s Vincenzo La Rocca as a member of the WBSC Legal Commission. La Rocca oversaw legal proceedings at the first-ever WBSC Congress last year, which formalised the historic union of baseball’s and softball’s two independent international sport federations.

Castro, Colbert and La Rocca will assume their positions within the WBSC leadership immediately.

Copyright © 2014 WBSC. All rights reserved.

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USA: ABCA Officially Supports Pitch Smart

Press Release USA Baseball

The American Baseball Coaches Association board of directors votes unanimously

DURHAM, N.C. — USA Baseball, Major League Baseball and the American Baseball Coaches Association announced on Tuesday that the ABCA is officially supporting USA Baseball and MLB’s joint youth arm care safety initiative, Pitch Smart. The announcement follows the ABCA’s board of directors unanimously voting in favor of supporting the initiative that was launched in late 2014.

“Major League Baseball is pleased that the ABCA has endorsed the Pitch Smart pitching safety program,” said MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, who received the 2015 ABCA Honor Award on January 4, 2015 at the ABCA Convention. “Keeping pitchers healthy should be a common goal of everyone in baseball. Pitch Smart is a great example of the entire baseball community, professional and amateur, coming together to make our game better.”

The Association is involved in numerous programs that promote the integrity of the profession and the development of the game of baseball, and, each January, the ABCA hosts the largest baseball convention in the world. Approximately 4,000 coaches attend the convention, which is held at various locations around the country. The 2015 iteration was attended by commissioner, Rob Manfred, as he continues to further engage the amateur baseball community.

“With its endorsement of Pitch Smart, it is clear that the American Baseball Coaches Association is making player health and safety a priority in everything it does,” said USA Baseball’s executive director/CEO, Paul Seiler. “It is the support of the ABCA and other organizations that confirms our belief that baseball has united in protecting our young athletes.”

The ABCA is committed to the success and growth of baseball through youth baseball. In the past 12 years, thousands of young people have gone through ABCA sponsored youth clinics. Each year, several hundred young players attend ABCA clinics in Montgomery, Alabama; Lewiston, Idaho; and Grand Junction, Colorado.

“The ABCA is proud to endorse Pitch Smart along with Major League Baseball and USA Baseball,” said ABCA executive director, Craig Keilitz. “Education is one of our organization’s cornerstones and the health and safety of our young players is a major priority. Pitch Smart provides clear guidelines for our coaches, particularly those who are new to the profession, and we look forward to being involved in the further development of this initiative for years to come.”

The ABCA, founded in 1945, is the primary professional organization for baseball coaches at the amateur level. Its over 6,600 members represent all 50 states and 24 countries. Since its initial meeting of 27 college baseball coaches in June 1945, Association membership has broadened to include eight divisions: NCAA Division I, II and III, NAIA, Junior College, Pacific Association Division, High School and Youth.

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USA Baseball Forms Golden Spikes Award Committee

Press Release USA Baseball

13-man selection committee will be responsible for identifying candidates for the nation’s premier amateur baseball award

DURHAM, N.C. — USA Baseball announced today the formation of the Golden Spikes Award committee that will select the watch lists and semifinalists for the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award, given annually to the top amateur baseball player in the U.S.

“As the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award continues to grow, it is important to have the top voices in the game assist in the process of honoring amateur athletes,” said Cody Wilcoxson, USA Baseball’s director of communications, who oversees the Golden Spikes Award for the organization. “The committee members are all dedicated to their coverage and support of the amateur game, and their presence on the committee continues to make the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award the preeminent amateur honor.”

In aggregate, the committee members have more than 250 years of playing, coaching, scouting and reporting experience in amateur baseball. The group includes six former NCAA college baseball players, three of which played in the College World Series, and two committee members that coached teams to the College World Series.

The committee is responsible for selecting the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award preseason watch list, the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award midseason watch list, the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award preliminary list and the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award semifinalists.

Once the committee selects the semifinalists for the award, USA Baseball will have its Golden Spikes Award voting committee, comprised of past USA Baseball national team coaches and media, USA Baseball’s board of directors, members of the media that closely follow the amateur game, select professional baseball personnel, and past winners of the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award, representing a group of more than 200 voters in total, vote for the finalists and, eventually, the winner of the prestigious award.

Fan voting will once again be a part of the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award in 2015. Beginning with the semifinalists on May 22, amateur baseball fans all across the country are encouraged to vote for their favorite candidate on GoldenSpikesAward.com. As part of this selection process all voters will be asked to choose three players from the list of names. On Tuesday, June 2, USA Baseball will announce the finalists, and voting will once again commence that same day.

Since 2013, the presentation of the award is held each summer in Los Angeles is partnership with the Rod Dedeaux Foundation. The finalists for the award and their families are honored at the Rod Dedeaux Foundation Dinner following the presentation of the trophy.

The members of the Golden Spikes Award committee are:

  • Jim Callis, senior writer for MLB.com, draft and prospect expert who has been covering the amateur baseball landscape since 1988
  • Eric Campbell, USA Baseball’s general manager of national teams, former head coach at the U.S. Air Force Academy has selected national team athletes for USA Baseball since 2000
  • Shaun Cole, USA Baseball’s director of the 18U National Team, responsible for the selection of the USA Baseball 18U National Team after five seasons as pitching coach at the University of Arizona, a 2012 NCAA national champion
  • Justin Dedeaux, Rod Dedeaux Foundation board of directors, former coach and player at the University of Southern California, a 1963 NCAA national champion
  • Aaron Fitt, editor and national writer for D1Baseball.com, has covered the college baseball beat since 2004
  • Nick Herfordt, Division II, Division III and NAIA correspondent for Perfect Game USA, founder of College Baseball Lineup and the Tino Martinez Division II Player of the Year Award
  • Tim Kay, USA Baseball’s director of video scouting, provides scouting analysis for national team selection after previously working in advanced scouting for the Washington Nationals
  • John Manuel, editor-in-chief for Baseball America, has covered all levels of baseball for the publication since 1996
  • Jonathan Mayo, senior writer for MLB.com, has served as a draft and prospect expert for MLB.com since 1999
  • Ben McDonald, winner of the 1989 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award, college baseball hall of fame class of 2008, currently serves as color analyst for ESPN college baseball broadcasts
  • Kyle Peterson, baseball analyst for ESPN, has covered college based since 2003, recognized as the 1995 and 1997 Pac-10 Pitcher of the Year, played in two College World Series at Stanford
  • Nathan Rode, national supervisor for Prep Baseball Report, has covered high school baseball and the MLB First-Year Player Draft since 2007
  • Kendall Rogers, national writer and editor for D1Baseball.com, has covered college baseball since 2000

The anticipated timeline for the committee’s announcements is:

  • Tuesday, February 10: 2015 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award 50-man preseason watch list
  • Thursday, April 9: 2015 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award 60-man midseason watch list
  • Thursday, May 7: 2015 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award 30-man preliminary list
  • Friday, May 22: 2015 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award semifinalists, voting begins
  • Friday, May 29: 2015 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award semifinalists voting ends
  • Tuesday, June 3: 2015 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award finalists, voting begins
  • Friday, June 12: 2015 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award finalists voting ends
  • Tuesday, June 23: 2015 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award trophy presentation

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USA Baseball: 18U National Team Staff Named

Press Release USA Baseball

David Eckstein joins Greg Moore and Eric Kibler in assisting manager, Glenn Cecchini

DURHAM, N.C. — USA Baseball named its 2015 18U National Team coaching staff Thursday, led by Barbe (La.) High School head coach, Glenn Cecchini. Cecchini, a veteran of Team USA identification events, has worked the 18U National Team Trials each of the past two seasons.

“The 2015 18U National Team is in great hands heading into the World Cup,” said USA Baseball’s executive director/CEO, Paul Seiler. “Our 18U director, Shaun Cole, has assembled an impressive staff of coaches with experience with our organization and a pedigree of success with a World Series MVP, a successful division I head coach and two nationally recognized high school coaches.”

Cecchini led Lake Charles, La.’s Barbe High School to the 2014 Baseball America national championship after posting a 39-2 record and winning the Louisiana 5A state championship for the seventh time. Both of Cecchini’s sons, Garin and Gavin, won gold medals as players with the 18U National Team in 2009 and 2011, respectively.

Cecchini will be joined in the dugout by assistant coaches, David Eckstein and Eric Kibler, as well as pitching coach, Greg Moore, and certified athletic trainer, Josh Cohen.

David Eckstein, the 2006 World Series MVP with the St. Louis Cardinals, joins the 18U National Team staff after serving in various roles with USA Baseball over the last few years. A 10-year veteran and two-time MLB All-Star, Eckstein has worked with the USA Baseball Tournament of Stars and the USA Baseball 18U National Team Trials since 2012.

As a player, Eckstein won two World Series rings while posting a career batting average of .280 in 5,705 big league plate appearances. Playing most of his career at shortstop, Eckstein had a career .982 fielding percentage in more than 10,600 MLB innings.

Eric Kibler has the most USA Baseball experience of the group having been the manager of the 2010 USA Baseball 16U National Team that posted a perfect 9-0 record en route to winning the gold medal at the COPABE Pan American 16U Youth Championships in Lagos de Moreno, Mexico. Kibler also served as an assistant coach on the 2009 16U National Team and worked as the lead field coordinator for the USA Baseball National Team Development Program from 2012 to 2014 – winning the USA Baseball Coach of the Year Award in 2010 and the USA Baseball Developmental Coach of the Year in 2012.

Kibler is the head coach at national power, Horizon High School in Scottsdale, Ariz., where he has led the Huskies to six state championships and 18 regional titles. Under Kibler’s tutelage, Horizon has 28 players drafted by Major League clubs, including three first round selections.

Greg Moore, the head coach at Cal State Northridge, coaches on his first national team staff after assisting with the 2014 USA Baseball Tournament of Stars and the 2014 USA Baseball 18U National Team Trials in Houston.

Moore took the head coaching job at Cal State Northridge following three successful seasons as associate head coach at the University of San Francisco where he was named by Baseball America as one of the Top 10 Assistant Coaches in College Baseball. During his tenure with the Dons, Moore coached three first-round draft picks and eight top-10 round selections.

Moore played collegiately at the University of San Francisco and was named the West Coast Conference All-Academic Team in 2001. As a player, he won the team’s “Most Inspirational” award in back-to-back season and the award now bears his name.

Certified athletic trainer, Josh Cohen, rounds out the on-field staff. In his 10th season as athletic trainer for the Texas A&M Aggies baseball program, Cohen is known for his wealth of baseball-specific and sports medicine knowledge and experience.

The staff will look to defend the 18U National Team’s gold medal from the 2013 WBSC 18U/’AAA’ World Cup, when it competes in the 2015 WBSC 18U/’AAA’ World Cup in Nishinomiya, Japan. The 18U National Team has won gold medals in each of the last four years, including back-to-back World Cups in 2012 and 2013.

For more information on the 18U National Team program, please visit USABaseball.com and follow@USABaseball18U on Twitter.

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Great Britain: British Baseball Hall of Fame Announces Inductees

Press Release Project Cobb

On the customary second Tuesday in October, the sixth annual class of new inductees into the British Baseball Hall of Fame recognizes three more of the game’s greats: Alan Smith, Cody Cain, and Josh Chetwynd.

Alan Smith is the second most successful player in the British game’s history, as assessed by national titles, and he remains the holder of several modern top-tier pitching records. Off the field, he was a key administrator for the London Warriors , one of the country’s all-time best teams, and he provided instrumental support for Team GB’s silver medal at the 2007 European Championships.

Cody Cain was one of the truly great two-way players in modern British baseball history and featured consistently among the leaders of pitching and batting statistical categories throughout his time in the game. His 18-strike-out game in 2004 is still a modern record, and his 0.00 earned-run average in 1993 remains an unmatched top-tier feat.

Josh Chetwynd’s contribution to the sport in Britain has comprised a unique mix: prominent media roles; deep involvement in intitiatives to grow the game and chronicle its history; and consistent success as a player, both domestically and internationally. Across the first decade of wood-bat baseball in the modern era (2001-2010), Chetwynd not only had the highest batting average (.440) but was also the hardest player to strike out.

To see full biographies of the three 2014 inductees as well as the 22 other individuals enshrined in the British Baseball Hall of Fame, please visit: http://www.bbhof.org.uk/.

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USA: Blankmeyer to Manage Collegiate National Team

Press Release USA Baseball

Five-time BIG EAST Coach of the Year will guide team in international play this summer

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DURHAM, N.C. — USA Baseball officially named St. John’s University head coach, Ed Blankmeyer, as the manager for the 2015 USA Baseball Collegiate National Team on Tuesday. Blankmeyer previously served as an assistant coach on the 2010 Collegiate National Team that posted a 16-3 record and captured the silver medal at the FISU World University Baseball Championships in Tokyo, Japan.

“We are thrilled to have Ed lead the Collegiate National Team program in 2015,” said Paul Seiler, USA Baseball’s executive director/CEO. “He has Team USA experience in 2010, as well as an impressive resume in two decades at St. John’s, and, most importantly, a passion for coaching student-athletes to succeed.”

The winningest coach in St. John’s baseball history, Blankmeyer is in his 20th season at the helm of the Red Storm baseball program and has posted a 647-405-3 (.615) record. Blankmeyer has guided the Red Storm to three BIG EAST Tournament crowns as well as four BIG EAST regular season titles, and has led the squad to the NCAA Tournament eight times, including one NCAA Super Regional appearance.

“I am extremely honored and excited to be selected to manage the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team,” said Blankmeyer. “We have an outstanding schedule lined up and I am looking forward to both working with and learning from the amazing coaching staff that we have assembled. Above all else, I feel privileged to represent the United States of America.”

Also the winningest coach in the history of BIG EAST play with 287 conference victories, Blankmeyer has earned BIG EAST Coach of the Year honors a conference-record five times and has been named the American Baseball Coaches Association Northeast Region Coach of the Year four times. Blankmeyer, who has guided St. John’s to six 40-win seasons, has had 88 All-BIG EAST selections and has seen 65 of his players drafted and/or signed to professional contracts, including 2014 World Series champion Joe Panik.

In 2010, Blankmeyer assisted University of Utah coach, Bill Kinneberg, with a Collegiate National Team roster that included future Major League players Matt Barnes, Jackie Bradley, Jr., Gerrit Cole, Sonny Gray, Brad Miller and George Springer. The club posted a 16-3 record for the summer, including a five-game sweep of the Korean National Team in a series hosted in the U.S., before falling in a heart-breaking 4-3 extra-inning affair to Cuba in the championship game 2010 FISU World University Baseball Championships.

The complete 2015 USA Baseball Collegiate National Team coaching staff and schedule will be released in announcements later this spring on USABaseball.com.

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Baseball United Foundation Teams Up with Doc Gooden For Fundraising Luncheon

Press Release Baseball United Foundation

Former Star Pitcher Will Speak at Event in February

White Plains, NY – November 28, 2014 – The Baseball United Foundation has announced plans for a fundraising luncheon to benefit their programs to grow youth baseball programs in regions of the world where baseball is not traditionally played.

The luncheon – which is being called “Lunch with Doc” – will be held on February 21, 2015 at Graziella’s Italian Bistro in White Plains, NY. The event will feature a talk and Q&A session with former Mets and Yankees star Dwight “Doc” Gooden.

Gooden is a three-time World Champion, four-time All-Star, as well as a Cy Young and Rookie of the Year Award winner. He pitched for five MLB teams, including the New York Mets and Yankees. In 2010, he was inducted into the New York Mets Hall of Fame.

The Baseball United Foundation was created by documentary filmmaker John Fitzgerald in 2006 and is headquartered in Westchester County, NY. In the past year, the foundation has sent American coaches and over 1,000 lbs of baseball equipment to Ireland to conduct baseball training clinics. In July 2014, the foundation launched it’s “Baseball Exchange Program,” by bringing a 14-year old Irish baseball player to New York for a week of advanced baseball training and activities.

“We are very excited to welcome Doc Gooden to our fundraising luncheon,” explained Baseball United Foundation founder John Fitzgerald. “Doc’s presence and the support of local baseball fans will help us continue our current programs to help kids all over the world who want to play baseball.”

For more information on the “Lunch with Doc” event and to purchase tickets, visit www.LunchwithDoc.com.

About the Baseball United Foundation

The Baseball United Foundation is a 501c3 organization based in New York. The foundation assists teams, leagues, and players in countries where the game of baseball is relatively new. In January 2014, the foundation sent 1,000 lbs. of baseball equipment to Ireland, along with professional coaches, to conduct a series of baseball clinics for kids.
####
Contact: John Fitzgerald
Baseball United Foundation
John@BaseballUnitedFoundation.org
www.BaseballUnitedFoundation.org
914-468-3108

flyerlunchwithdoc-copy

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Baseball Bloggers Alliance Recommends Seven for the Hall of Fame

Press Release by Baseball Bloggers Alliance

BBA Binary Ballot Recommends Seven For Cooperstown

Seven players from the 2014 Baseball Writers of America ballot were recommended for enshrinement in the Baseball Hall of Fame by the members of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance on Friday.

Given the backlog of quality players on the ballot, this year the BBA adopted the plan suggested by St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Derrick Goold of a binary ballot.  Each player on the ballot was given a yes or no vote by the BBA voters and those receiving over 75% were then recommended.

With this format, pitcher Randy Johnson received 100% of the vote while pitcher Pedro Martinez was close behind at 95%.  Others that topped the 75% mark were catcher/second baseman/outfielder Craig Biggio (90%), pitcher John Smoltz (89%), catcher Mike Piazza (85%), first baseman Jeff Bagwell (77%) and outfielder Tim Raines (77%).

Those that just fell short of the mark were designated hitter Edgar Martinez (71%) and pitcher Curt Schilling (68%).

The rest of the voting was as follows:

Mike Mussina 67%
Barry Bonds 65%
Roger Clemens 63%
Alan Trammell 53%
Jeff Kent 44%
Gary Sheffield 38%
Larry Walker 37%
Fred McGriff 33%
Mark McGwire 33%
Don Mattingly 31%
Lee Smith 31%
Sammy Sosa 23%
Carlos Delgado 19%
Nomar Garciaparra 13%
Cliff Floyd 4%
Brian Giles 4%
Rich Aurilia 3%
Darin Erstad 3%
Troy Percival 3%
Aaron Boone 1%
Jason Schmidt 1%
Jermaine Dye 0%
Tom Gordon 0%
Eddie Guardado 0%

Using this binary method, only 13% turned in a ballot with less than 10 names selected.  40% turned in a ballot with 15 or more names selected, with a high of 20.

The official website of the BBA is located at baseballbloggersalliance.wordpress.com. The BBA can be found on Twitter by the handle @baseballblogs and by the hashmark #bbba.  For more information, contact Niko Goutakolis at baseballbloggersalliance@gmail.com.

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USA Baseball Reveals Field for 2015 National High School Invitational

Press Release USA Baseball

The field for the fourth annual USA Baseball National High School Invitational announced

DURHAM, N.C. — USA Baseball announced the 16 teams that will compete in the fourth annual USA Baseball National High School Invitational, held March 25 to 28, at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, N.C. The premier event on the high school baseball calendar again features some of the top teams and individual talents from across the nation. Baseball America, the Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance and the Town of Cary are partnering with USA Baseball in hosting and presenting the event.

“The National High School Invitation continues to bring together some of the top programs and talents from around the U.S. for a one-of-a-kind high school baseball experience,” said Paul Seiler, USA Baseball’s executive director/CEO. “In just three years, the NHSI has quickly become the premier event on the high school baseball calendar and we are thrilled to partner with the Town of Cary, the Greater Raleigh Sports and our media partner, Baseball America, on the 2015 edition.”

Local powerhouse, Leesville Road High School in Raleigh, N.C., will serve as the host of the tournament for the first time. The Pride finished 2014 with a 17-6 overall record and advanced to the second round of the NCHSAA 4A state playoffs.

De Soto Central High School (Southaven, Miss.), Loyalsock Township High School (Williamsport, Pa.) and Puyallup High School (Puyallup, Wash.) represent, for the first time ever, the states of Mississippi, Pennsylvania and Washington at the National High School Invitational.

A. Crawford Mosley High School (Lynn Haven, Fla.), St. Thomas Aquinas High School (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) and Trinity Preparatory School (Winter Park, Fla.) will look to bring the trophy back to the Sunshine State after The First Academy (Orlando, Fla.) claimed the NHSI title in 2014.

The state of California will be well-represented again with four schools traveling to Cary: College Park High School (Pleasant Hill, Calif.), Huntington Beach High School (Huntington Beach, Calif.), JSerra Catholic School (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) and San Clemente High School (San Clemente, Calif.).

Rounding out the field are a pair of schools from Georgia in Lambert High School (Suwanee, Ga.) and Whitewater High School (Fayetteville, Ga.), as well as representatives from Arizona: Horizon High School (Scottsdale, Ariz.); Tennessee: Farragut High School (Knoxville, Tenn.); and Texas: College Station High School (College Station, Texas).

The NHSI will be a single-elimination championship tournament, with each participating team guaranteed to play four games. An event schedule will be announced as part of an eight-week video series, beginning on January 8, detailing the first round matchups with analysis from USA Baseball’s panel of baseball experts.

For more information on the 2015 National High School Invitational, coaches education and general USA Baseball information, please visit USABaseball.com.

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Baseball’s Rise Marked By New Stadiums Worldwide

Press Release IBAF.org

“Our sport has entered into a new era of globalisation.” WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari

LAUSANNE, Switzerland — A fresh wave of planned or recently completed baseball and softball construction projects is set to boost the growing popularity and globalisation of the bat-and-ball sports, as well as local economies, World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) officials reported. The latest developments follow historic growth for baseball and softball across Africa, with first-ever national stadiums erected in Ghana and Uganda in early 2014.

Now, as baseball and softball’s global footprint deepens, new facilities are being rolled out in the Bahamas, the Netherlands, South Africa, Spain and the United Kingdom, in addition to new-builds in mature markets like Mexico — and South Korea and Taiwan, where the first-ever domed baseball stadiums are currently taking shape.

Bahamas 

In 2015, a new national baseball stadium in the Bahamas — Andre Rodgers National Baseball Stadium — will be completed and “heralds rapid expansion of the game of baseball in the Bahamas,” reads a statement posted in November on the official website of the Government of the Bahamas.

Prime Minister of the Bahamas Perry Christie told reporters at the groundbreaking ceremony:”This is a result of the extraordinary progress of baseball in the [Bahamas], without government support, sponsored by people who had an interest, who stimulated young people…to get involved in baseball. We are now talking a benefit to the economy of the Bahamas.”

Government officials in the Bahamas indicate the state-of-the-art facility “will support the nation’s current energies to fully develop its sports tourism.”

Netherlands

Europe’s first state-of-the-art baseball and softball complex just outside Amsterdam in Hoofddorp, Netherlands was inaugurated for the 2014 season and has already hosted its first international competition. As well as attracting major baseball and softball events to the region and providing a new and exciting athlete-/fan-experience, the venue’s strategic location makes it very attractive as a regional training centre to further strengthen the development of baseball and softball in the Netherlands and in Europe.

In 2013, the Royal Dutch Baseball and Softball Association unveiled Europe’s first baseball and softball urban playground. The innovative “urban” concept was rolled out in Rotterdam and aims to take organised baseball and softball to the street, increasing the sports’ pathway and connection with young people in non-traditional settings.

New Zealand

Last month, the Auckland Council unveiled a new crown jewel baseball facility, cited by Auckland city officials as “the first of its kind in New Zealand.” Baseball New Zealand and McLeod Park Baseball Diamond have since been awarded the hosting rights of the U18 Baseball Oceania Championship, which serves as the qualifier for the 2015 U18 WBSC Baseball World Cup. Following McLeod Park’s opening ceremonies, officials in New Zealand have already been assessing the feasibility of building baseball’s first-ever national stadium in New Zealand.

Spain

The Instituto Barcelona Deportes (Barcelona Sports Institute) announced last week that it is set to begin construction on a new sports/community project, including the roll out of a new softball field next to baseball’s Estadio Carlos Perez de Rozas on Pierre de Coubertin Street in Barcelona.

“Sport is fundamental in Barcelona, so we are committed to providing the city with sports facilities necessary to ensure constant sport and of quality,” Deputy Mayor for Quality of Life, Equality and Sports, Ms. Maite Fandos, said in a statement.

South Africa

In a joint venture, the City of Cape Town and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport announced last month the unveiling of the rebuilt Bishop Lavis Softball field, which included laser-levelling of the pitch, installation of irrigation, construction of a backstop and fence, as well as installation of floodlights to hold training and competitions in the evenings.

“We are committed to providing facilities which will encourage communities to participate in sport and will nurture young talent. Sport encourages young people to live healthy and keeps them involved in wholesome activities and off the street,” the Mayoral Committee Member for Community Services, Alderman Belinda Walker, said in a statement.

United Kingdom

Following the first-ever dedicated baseball/softball stadium in the U.K. with Farnham Park Baseball and Softball Complex built last year in Slough, BaseballSoftballUK (BSUK) recently announced plans to build a new baseball and softball facility in Manchester to promote the sports and bolster participation numbers in the North of England. As growth has taken off in the U.K., including the newest facility inaugurated in Essex, John Boyd, BSUK Joint CEO, announced in November a project to expand the Farnham complex to include another international-standard baseball field.

WBSC on Baseball/Softball’s Continued Trend of Global Growth

WBSC president Riccardo Fraccari hailed the wave of initiatives as a major boost for the positioning of baseball and softball as one of the world’s leading global sports, particularly as WBSC and its partners continue working toward a return of baseball and softball in the Olympic Games.

“Our sport has entered into a new era of globalisation,” said the world governing body president. “More and more clubs, communities, cities and nations are investing in the development of baseball and softball because it is being recognised that baseball and softball are proven and popular sporting and fan activities that engage young people across both genders as well as sponsors and broadcasters, and can help to stimulate economies.

“WBSC, our National Federations, our professional league partners and the youth leagues are heavily invested in promoting our sport around the world to attract and reach — and remain relevant to — the next generation of athletes and sport fans, alike. This recognition and support from governmental institutions to help drive growth marks a significant breakthrough for our sport in terms of universality and evolving into a truly global sport.”

Based on data compiled, the WBSC estimates that over 65 million athletes practice the sport of baseball and softball in over 140 countries, with youth and females making up the majority of the participation-demographic.

Copyright © 1999-2014 IBAF . All rights reserved. Permission to cite from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to ibaf.org as the source.

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