Tag Archive | "Canada"

WBC Pool C: Team USA with Walk-Off Win


The Dominican Republic pounds Canada; Team USA walk-off win.

Pool C in Miami, Florida began on Thursday in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. Participating in the pool will be the USA, Canada, Dominican Republic, and Colombia. The Dominican Republic is the defending WBC champion after going undefeated in 2013.

Canada 2, Dominican Republic 9

The Dominican got the pool off with a bang and a huge 9-2 win over Canada. The bats really came alive early for the defending champs, which doesn’t bode well for the rest of the pool With 4 runs in the 2nd inning, everything after that was just gravy. Right fielder Jose Bautista hit a 3-run home run in the 6th inning giving the Dominican an 8-2 lead.

Welington Castillo got the big bats going with a 2-run shot in the 2nd inning making it 3-0. The Dominican would pound out 15 total hits, including 5 for extra bases. Bautista finished 3-for-4 with 4 RBI. Jose Reyes set the table from the lead off spot going 3-for-5 with a double, stolen base, and 2 runs scored.

As good as the bats looked for the Dominican, the arms were just as overwhelming. Carlos Martinez started and went 4.0 innings giving up just a single unearned run. After that it was a steady stream of great arms from the bullpen that shut down Team Canada.

Full Box Score

Colombia 2, USA 3 (10)

Team USA needed an extra frame to hold off Colombia in its first game of the tournament. Chris Archer got the start for the USA and pitched great. He tossed 4.0 scoreless innings. He didn’t give up a hit or a walk and struck out 3. Tyler Clippard picked up the win in relief, but the biggest problem, other than the cold bats, for Team USA was that they used 6 relief pitchers and now they have to bounce back to face the defending champs.

Both teams combined for only 11 total hits. Adam Jones and Ian Kinsler both had 2 hits for Team USA, but Jones would be the hero in the 10th inning with an RBI single to finish off Colombia.

Colombia played really well in the game. Jose Quintana pitched great going 5.2 innings. He gave up just 1 run on 1 hit, and he struck out 4. Guillermo Moscoso took the loss in relief.

Full Box Score

Colombia 4, Canada 1

With the loss Canada is all but eliminated after starting off 0-2. Colombia got a good start from Julio Teheran who went 5.0 innings allowing just 1 run on 2 hits. Yohan Pino pitched great in relief as well going 3.0 scoreless innings allowing just 1 hit.

The Canada bats were cold once again. The team combined for just 5 hits, 2 of which came from Freddie Freeman. He also had the lone RBI for Team Canada.

Colombia now has a must win game coming up against the defending champion Dominican Republic on Sunday. Canada will finish up with Team USA on Sunday evening. While Canada might not advance, they could get hot and ruin any plans the USA has to make it to Round 2.

Full Box Score

Pool C Standings:

  1. Dominican Republic 1-0
  2. USA 1-0
  3. Colombia 1-1
  4. Canada 0-2

Team USA Walk-Off Win

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2017 World Baseball Classic Predictions


Predictions are usually not right, but they are fun and thus we are going to do some 2017 World Baseball Classic Predictions.

I’ve done predictions for many years, and very rarely do they come to fruition. However, that doesn’t take away from the fact that they are fun to do and fun to talk about. So with that, I am going to go through each pool and predict what will happen. A lot of this is based on rosters, but not all of it. Some of it is just a gut feel which may help others to see why I am doing what I am doing. I do not think everyone will agree with me either. Of course, that is half the fun. So here we go.

Pool A

Pool A will consist of the following teams: South Korea (host), Chinese Taipei, Netherlands, and Israel.

My Standings:

  1. Netherlands 3-0 (50:1 odds)
  2. South Korea 2-1 (15:1 odds)
  3. Israel 1-2 (200:1 odds)
  4. Chinese Taipei 0-3 (120:1 odds)

I am probably following most predictions in that the two teams I see advancing are South Korea and the Netherlands. However, I am going to predict a few things that others may not like. First, I see the Netherlands winning this pool. I think this comes down to Game 3 on Tuesday March 7th between these two clubs, and I feel that the Dutch will outscore Korea in a shootout. The other “out on a limb” prediction I am going to make is that Israel beats Chinese Taipei, and I think they come within a few innings of advancing but fall to South Korea in their match up. They are one team that will be overlooked and under appreciated, and that is why I think they make a run. I think they will come out and shock South Korea by nearly beating them in Game 1 of pool play.

Pool B

Pool B consists of Japan (host), Cuba, China, and Australia.

  1. Japan 3-0 (3:1 odds)
  2. Cuba 2-1 (12:1 odds)
  3. Australia 1-2 (200:1 odds)
  4. China 0-3 (200:1 odds)

In Tokyo I feel Japan will dominate only having a contest with Cuba. They are the class of Pool B and a title contender. The rest of the field I think will be fun and interesting to watch. Japan is one of the favorites (3rd best odds according to Vegas Insider) with Cuba not being too far behind. I think 3rd place comes down to Australia vs China and fear that is really all they are playing for. Australia could make a run with a shock against Cuba, but I don’t see that happening. China is really the unknown here, but don’t look for them to finish higher than third.

Pool C 

Pool C consists of United States (host), Dominican Republic, Colombia, and Canada.

  1. Dominican Republic 3-0 (5:2 odds)
  2. United States 2-1 (11:5 odds)
  3. Canada 1-2 (60:1 odds)
  4. Colombia 0-3 (120:1 odds)

This is one pool I am really excited to see. The USA is favored by many to win the whole thing. I am not convinced. I think they struggle to make it out of pool play just getting past both Canada and Colombia. I see the Dominican to dominate the pool and win easily against all three opponents.

Pool D

Pool D consists of Mexico (host), Puerto Rico, Venezuela, and Italy.

  1. Puerto Rico 2-1 (10:1 odds)
  2. Venezuela 2-1 (6:1 odds)
  3. Mexico 1-2 (40:1 odds)
  4. Italy 1-2 (120:1 odds)

This might be the most wide open pool. It is the only one where I am going to predict the host country doesn’t make it out of the round. I think it all comes down to the final game between Mexico and Venezuela, and I am going with Venezuela. I think Italy will shock a team (perhaps Mexico) and create havoc in the pool play, and don’t look for anyone here to go undefeated. It is going to be a wide open pool. This also might be the only pool where the first round tiebreaker game is needed, although I could see it possibly used in Pool C as well.

Round 2

Pool E in Tokyo, Japan will consist of Cuba, Netherlands, Japan (host), and South Korea.

This pool will be a great one to watch. I see Japan and the Netherlands coming out of it to advance to the semifinal round. This will be a hotly contested round, but I see it going down in the following fashion:

  1. Japan 2-1
  2. Netherlands 2-1
  3. Cuba 1-2
  4. South Korea 1-2

Pool F in San Diego will consist of USA, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, and Puerto Rico.

A lot of people are high on Puerto Rico, and rightfully so. However, I think this is where they fail to advance. There will be a lot of talent here and this will come down to the final games in the pool, and very well might need a tiebreaker game for a team to advance.

  1. Dominican Republic 2-1
  2. USA 2-1
  3. Puerto Rico 2-1
  4. Venezuela 0-3

Finals 

The Finals will take place in Los Angeles. And while I think we will see a new team garner a medal, I do not think we have a team win its first championship. Instead, I think we have a match up of the only two winners so far in Japan and the Dominican Republic.

Semifinals:

Dominican Republic 5,  Netherlands 2

Japan 3, USA 1

Championship

Japan 3, Dominican Republic 2 (11 Innings)

So there you have it. I am calling for an extra inning championship game where Japan reclaims its title. The Vegas favorite is the USA, but I see them coming up short in their quest for the title.

Now don’t get me wrong, I will be pulling for the USA in any game they play. At the same time I will be pulling for teams like Italy, Israel, and Australia to win since it will only help those countries going forward. I would love to see one of them advance to Round 2, but I just do not see it happening just yet. Italy advanced in 2013, but I feel their pool this go around will be stronger. But it is not out of the realm of possibility.

I’d love to hear what you think and who you think will win it all.

2017 World Baseball Classic Predictions

 

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Where are they now: 2012 18U Team Canada


A few years ago, when I was living in Daegu, South Korea, I had the chance to go up to Seoul to see the 2012 18U World Baseball Championship. It was something special for me being my first international baseball tournament, and I have had an affinity to many of the players that I got to see play. As I was writing about international players in the MLB Top 100 Prospects List, I noticed a few players I got to see in that tournament. So I wanted to go back and see where they were now since many of them have been drafted this past summer after playing college ball.

I am going to do a series based on the teams that played and try to track down many of the players in it. So let’s begin. I will start with a team I saw play a few times and was very impressed with, Canada.

Team Canada 2012 18U World Baseball Championship:

Pitching Staff

Brock Dykxhoorn – Brock went to Central Arizona College before being drafted by the Houston Astros in the 6th Rond of the 2014 MLB Draft. He spent the 2016 season in the California League (High-A) pitching for the Lancaster JetHawks.

Dayton Dawe – Drafted in the 15th Round in 2012 out of high school, Dawe pitched in the New York Yankees system for 3 seasons.

Cal Quantrill – After high school Quantrill went on to pitch at Stanford University. This past year he was drafted no. 8 overall by the San Diego Padres and already appears on the MLB Top 100 Prospects list.

Logan Seifrit – Drafter in 2012 in the 33rd Round by the Seattle Mariners, Seifrit pitched for 3 seasons in the minors making it as high as low-A ball in the Northwest League before hanging up his spikes. He last pitched in the minors in 2014.

Myles Vincent – All I could find was a story from a Canadian newspaper saying Vincent had given up the chase to the big leagues after pitching for a few years for a team in western Canada.

Christian Botnick – He has been pitching at the University of British Columbia where it appears he will be again this year.

Ryan Kellogg – Easily one of the most impressive pitchers I saw in the tournament, Kellogg posted a 2.08 ERA in 17.1 innings. He was drafted in the 5th Round by the Chicago Cubs in 2015. Last season he made 24 appearances, 23 starts, for the South Bend Cubs in A-ball pitching well with a 3.03 ERA over 130 + innings.

Jacob Marks – The last I can see is he played college ball at the University of Maine through 2016.

Travis Seabrooke – Travis tossed 5.2 innings in the tournament picking up a save. Today he is pitching in the minor leagues for the Baltimore Orioles. Drafter in 2013, Seabrooke has pitched the past 2 seasons in the New York Penn League which is short season Single-A.

Position Players

Jesse Hodges – Hodges tore up the 2012 18U WBC hitting .484 with 4 doubles, 1 home run, and an OPS of 1.278. He has played in the Chicago Cubs system since 2013. He climbed all way to the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (High-A) but struggled. He has put up solid numbers the past two seasons with the South Bend Cubs of the Midwest League.

Daniel Pinero – Pinero went on to play at the University of Virginia where he was drafted in 2016 by the Detroit Tigers in the 9th round. Played 7 games in rookie ball and 43 games in the New York-Penn League a short-season A league.

Jacob Robson – Robson went on to play at Mississippi State University before being drafted in the 8th round in 2016 by the Detroit Tigers. He played in the New York-Penn League with the Connecticut Tigers where he was a teammate of Daniel Pinero.

Mitchell Triolo – I have found it hard to find out where exactly he landed. A few stories say he went to this college or that one, but I do not see much else.

Kyle Hann – After spending a few years at Mississippi State, Hann transferred to a junior college, and then moved on to Oklahoma State although I do not see that he ever made it onto the field with the Cowboys.

Brett Siddall – Drafted in the 13th round of the 2015 draft by the Oakland A’s, Siddall had played his college ball at Canisius. In 2016 he played 135 games in the Midwest League for the Beloit Snappers hitting 9 home runs and driving in 60 while playing right field.

Owen Spiwak – Drafted out of Odessa College in 2015 by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 10th round. Spiwak spent last season between short-season A ball and rookie league playing in only 25 games.

Josh Naylor – With the 12th overall pick in the 2015 MLB Draft the Miami Marlins drafted Naylor and so far he has not disappointed. Last season between the California League (High-A) and the South Atlantic League Naylor blasted 12 home runs, 25 doubles, and stole 11 bases. He played in the 2016 MLB All Futures Game and will suit up for Team Canada once again in this years World Baseball Classic.

Chris Shaw – Shaw played his college ball at Oklahoma University before being drafted in the 15th round in 2015 by the Baltimore Orioles. The 2017 season will be his 3rd in the pros having played 23 games last year in the New York-Penn League.

Nathan Desouza – Drafted out of high school in 2012 by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 26th round, Desouza played 3 seasons in the minors ending in 2014.

Gareth Morgan – Morgan was drafted in 2014 by the Seattle Mariners 74th overall. He spent most of the 2016 season with the Arizona Mariners in the Arizona League, a rookie league.

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International Players on the MLB Top 100 Prospects List – No. 91-100


One of my favorite days of the year is when MLB releases its Top 100 Prospects list. I love to see which teams have the most on the list (Braves/Yankees with 7 each), and I love to see who is moving and of course the top 10.

However, one exercise that I love to do is look at the foreign players on the list. After all, most of what we cover here are foreign leagues. So I will leave the debate up to  you as to whether or not Andrew Benintendi should be no. 1 or not, and I will take a look at the foreign players on the list starting with 91-100. Each day over the next week or so we will look at another set of players from the MLB Top 100 Prospects list. In total there are 27 that come from international markets.

MLB Prospects 91-100:

No. 97 Cal Quantrill, RHP/San Diego Padres – Quantrill, out of Port Hope, Ontario, Canada) might be a name you already know. His father, Paul Quantrill, pitched in the big leagues for 14 seasons. But despite Paul’s solid career, Cal’s might overshadow dad’s one day. Cal was drafted this summer 8th overall out of Stanford University despite not pitching in 2016 due to Tommy John surgery. He showed why the Padres drafted him so high late in the summer when he returned to the mound finishing the year in A-ball after a few starts in Rookie League and Low-A. While he might not project to be a no. 1 starter, he has the chance to have a long solid career with his solid three-pitch-mix. I got to see him in 2012 at the 18U World Baseball Championship in Seoul, and while he did not have the best tournament (1-1, 5.63) he did enough to impress upon me that he has a long future ahead of him.

No. 96 Jeimer Candelario, 3B,1B/Chicago Cubs – Candelario was born in New York but was raised in the Dominican Republic where his father ran a baseball training center. Signed in 2010, Candelario made his MLB debut this past July. However, he remains hopelessly blocked by 2016 NL MVP Kris Bryant. A switch-hitter with some pop, and the ability to walk, he has the bat to make it in the big leagues but where will he play. He has had some time at first base as well, but is blocked there as well by Anthony Rizzo. He could possibly be moved to a corner outfield spot, or he might be trade bait later in the year should the Cubs need a piece to make a run at a second title. Jeimer moves up from no. 100 on the list in 2016.

No. 94 Richard Urena, SS/Toronto Blue Jays – Urena comes out of San Francisco de Macoris, Dominican Republic. He will turn 21 in just under a month. Signed in 2012, Urena reached AA at the age of 20. After fellow Blue Jays short stop prospect Franklin Barreto was traded away in the Josh Donaldson deal, Urena appears to be the heir to the shortstop thrown north of the border. Lack of focus at times causes Urena to commit a few too many errors. He does have the range and arm to stick to shortstop and has been a switch-hitter for just three years now. Despite falling from no. 74 on the list in 2016, Urena might be ready for his MLB debut in 2018.

No. 91 Delvin Perez, SS/St. Louis Cardinals – Delvin Perez comes in this year at no. 91 on the list. A newcomer on the list, Perez was drafted just last summer (1st Rd, no. 23) out of the International Baseball Academy in Ceiba, Puerto Rico. He played in just 43 games after signing, but already showed flashes of why he is in the top 100. With the Gulf Coast League Cardinals (Rookie), Perez hit .294 with 8 doubles, 4 triples, and 12 stolen bases. Despite his good offensive showing, his defense is where he will impact the game more right now. His speed allows him to cover a lot of ground defensively, and when  you add in his strong arm he will be a solid short stop where he projects to stay. However, he is already been the talk of controversy having tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs prior to the draft.

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2017 World Baseball Classic Pool C & D Preview


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

Pool C

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

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

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

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

Pool D

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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Canada: Five to be Inducted into Hall of Fame for 2015


The Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame has announced its inductees for 2015. Three of the inductees were players all having stared on the diamond for the Toronto Blue Jays. One was the longest tenured manager in Montreal Expos history and the last covered both teams during a storied writing career.

Carlos Delgado, Corey Koskie, Matt Stairs, Felipe Alou, and Bob Elliott will all be inducted in a ceremony to take place on June 13 in St. Marys, Ont.

For information on all, check out the article on the Hall of Fame’s website. Here you will find a brief bio on all of the well deserving inductees for 2015.

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Canada: Preliminary Roster Set for 18U Baseball World Cup


By Baseball Canada

OTTAWA- Baseball Canada announced 25 players that have been invited to the team’s final selection camp at Palm Meadows Baseball Complex in Gold Coast, Australia from August 16-26.

At the conclusion of the selection camp, 20-players will be selected to represent Canada at the 18U Baseball World Cup August 30th-September 8th in Taichung, Taiwan.

Players, coaches and staff will depart for Australia on August 13th and practice on August 16th and 17th before opening a 10-game exhibition series against the Australian Junior National Team and Reseisha Medical College from Japan. The exhibition series will see the juniors play six games against Australia and four games against Reseisha Medical College including a doubleheader on August 22nd.

“This camp will allow the coaching staff an opportunity to evaluate players before making final roster decisions,” said Junior National Team Head Coach, Greg Hamilton. “The World Cup is the culmination of a year of hard work and preparation for our Junior National Team program. Our coaches and players are looking forward to this opportunity to represent Canada and intend on being a competitive club in Taichung.”

The Junior National Team pre-worlds selection camp roster features:

-Five players that were members of 2012 Junior National Team that won silver at the 2012 18U Baseball World Cup in Seoul, Korea (Gareth Morgan, Josh Naylor, Cal Quantrill, Travis Seabrooke, and Owen Spiwak)

-Ten players chosen in June’s MLB First Year Player Draft (Malik Collymore-Cardinals; Lachlan Fontaine-Mariners; Morgan Loftstrom-Reds; Tyler O’Neill-Mariners; Daniel Procopio-Mets; Cal Quantrill-Yankees; Sean Ratcliffe-Blue Jays; Travis Seabrooke-Orioles; Owen Spiwak-Mets; Chris Thibideau-Padres)

-Six of the drafted players have since signed professional contracts (Collymore, Fontaine, Loftstrom, O’Neill, Ratcliffe and Seabrooke)

-The coaching staff is led by Head Coach Greg Hamilton (Ottawa, ON) along with Pitching Coach Chris Reitsma (Calgary, AB) and Coaches Hyung Cho (Scarborough, ON) and Corey Eckstein (Abbotsford, BC)

In Taichung, Canada will be joined in Pool A with Japan, Mexico, Czech Republic, Venezuela and host Chinese Taipei.

Pool B will consist of reigning gold medalists the United States along with Australia, Colombia, South Korea, Italy and Cuba.

Teams will play a round-robin style format in round one with the top three records in each pool advancing to round two.

Following round two, the top two records will meet for gold, while the third a fourth best records will play to decide the bronze medal.

Roster
Schedule

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WBC: USA Rallies Late, Defeats Canada to Advance


U.S. Escapes Canada, Advances to WBC Second Round

By Gabriel Fidler (@gabrielfidler)

The United States, ranked second in the global baseball charts, survived a tenacious Canadian team and piled on two big innings late in the game in a 9-4 victory. The Pool D finale was a winner-take-all event, and it was the U.S. who will advance to Miami to join Italy, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico as the top seed from the pool.

Both countries received battling efforts from their starters, each of whom gave up two runs in a single inning, but faced several threats. Sixth-rated Canada’s relief pitchers could not keep up with talents of the U.S. all-stars.

It appeared that the Americans would strike first when David Wright led off the top of the second with a booming double to the wall in right centre. He moved to third on a fielding error that put runners on first and second. Adam Jones bunted Wright and Ben Zobrist over, but Wright was caught in a rundown on a sharply struck ground ball off the bat of Eric Hosmer and the U.S. failed to score.

It was Canada who first claimed the lead against U.S. starter Derek Holland. In the bottom of the frame, Justin Morneau led off with a double on the first offering from Holland, and two pitches later, left-handed hitting Michael Saunders blasted a two-run homer off the southpaw. The four-bagger to the right field corner gave Canada a 2-0 lead. Holland gave up two more hits in the inning but kept the margin at two.

After the rough second inning, Maple Leaf starter Jameson Taillon settled in for the third, striking out two in the 1-2-3 frame. The Pittsburgh Pirates’ top prospect caught both Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Braun looking.

Canada failed to add to their lead in the third and the U.S. figured out Taillon. Joe Mauer started things off with a hit and moved over on a walk to Wright. Ben Zobrist tapped a bouncer between the pitcher’s mound and third base, and beat out a wild throw from Taylor Green. The throwing error caused Mauer to score and Zobrist moved to third with no outs. Jones had another sacrifice to drive in a run, this time of fly ball variety, and the score remained 2-2 through four.

Both teams were retired 1-2-3 in the fifth, with Dustin Molleken taking over for Taillon, who allowed one earned run on four hits and a walk. Holland went five innings, retiring the final seven batters he faced, though he had to settle for the no decision. He struck out four and surrendered two runs, also allowing four hits and a base on balls.

Canada took back the lead in the sixth. Joey Votto walked and went to second on Justin Morneau’s second safety of the game. New U.S. pitcher Glen Perkins looked like he might work out of the predicament after catching Saunders looking at strike three and inducing a fly ball for the second out, but Adam Loewen ripped a RBI-single to make it 3-2.

A pressing American offence got two hits in the seventh and had runners on second and third with one out, but PhillippeAumontretired Brandon Phillips and Ryan Braun. The Philadelphia Phillies’ pitcher pumped his fists in exultation after Braun grounded out and Canada needed only two more outs to advance.

Desperate for an insurance run, Heath Bell registered a three-up, three-down inning for Canada in the seventh and turned the ball over to the U.S. hitters for the eighth.

Joe Mauer bounced a ball up-the-middle to lead off the frame, going to second on a walk to Wright. Zobrist tried unsuccessfully to bunt the runners over, popping out to the catcher for the first out. Jones picked up his teammate with a two-run double to deep left centre and gave the U.S. its first lead in the game. Shane Victorino made up for back-to-back strikeouts with runners on with a single through the hole into left field to make it 5-2.

David Hernández, rusty from over a week without use, was the recipient of some bad luck in the bottom of the eighth, giving up a run on two infield singles and one safety to the outfield on a 10-pitch at bat to plucky Canadian catcher Chris Robinson. The RBI went to Loewen, who scored Votto on a groundball. U.S. manager Joe Torre once more used his bullpen well, inserting Steve Cishek with two outs and runners on second and third and getting a ground ball out to end the threat.

With the score now 5-4, the red, white, and blue looked to regain the momentum and add an insurance run to the score, but they got their best offensive output of the tournament. Phillips started with a double and came around to tie the game on a Jonathan Lucroy safety. A third walk to Wright and an infield hit to Zobrist loaded the bases, and Hosmer, a late addition to the squad, roped a long double to centre to make it 9-3. The two-bagger was his third hit of the game.

Craig Kimbrel, the U.S. closer, exhibited filthy stuff in the bottom of the ninth, averaging 95/153 on a late-tailing fastball to catch two batters looking, including slugger Votto to end the game.

The win went to Bell and the loss to Henderson, who started the disastrous eighth inning. Both Torre and Team Canada skipper Ernie Whitt used six pitchers in the game.

Canada left eight men on base and hit .273 with runners in scoring position, while the US stroke a .353 mark in the same situations. Zobrist had three infield singles to pace the American team in hits. Jones and Hosmer each drove in three and Wright crossed the plate on three different occasions. Braun and Rollins both had stolen bases.

Canada is eliminated from the World Baseball Classic with a 4-2 record in all rounds, leaving them at 9-5 all-time. The United States will face the loser of the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico contest on Mar. 13 at 1 a.m. GMT. Stay tuned for more recaps, news, and analysis.

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WBC: USA vs Canada Pitching Match Up


Today Canada and the USA play for all the marbles. The winner goes on to the second round and the loser goes home. So who will they start in the big game? Let’s take a look.

USA

Derek Holland of the Texas Rangers gets the start for Team USA. He had an up and down year in 2012 going 12-7 with a 4.67 ERA in 29 games.

He is best remembered by Rangers fans for his Game 4 performance in the 2011 World Series. He tossed 8.1 innings of shutout ball en route to the win over the St. Louis Cardinals.

This is his first time pitching in the WBC.

Canada

Jameson Taillon gets the start for Team Canada. He was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates. The 21-year old hard throwing right-hander is one of the top pitching prospects in baseball.

In 2012, he pitched in the minor leagues mostly for Single-A Bradenton. He did pitch in three games at the Double-A level having some success.

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Brawl Breaks Out Between Canada and Mexico at the World Baseball Classic


The game turned ugly between Canada and Mexico on Saturday night in Phoenix.

Leading 9-3, catcher Chris Robinson bunted for a single to lead off the inning. Mexico didn’t seem to like that. The next batter was sent a message with a brush back pitch from Arnold Leon. After both teams were warned by the home plate umpire, the next pitch drilled Rene Tosoni in the back.

Robinson had been the center of several plays throughout the game including a collision at the plate with former Major League Karim Garcia. Garcia was out and there was really nothing Robinson could do on that play but hold his ground.

That’s when things got interesting. Several fights broke out after the main scuffle at home plate. Punches were thrown. Players wrestled, and then the dust settled. Or did it?

Even after the fighting was over on the field, some Mexico fans sitting behind the Canada dugout weren’t finished. They threw a water bottle hitting pitching coach Denis Boucher in the back. He had to be restrained from climbing over the dugout while a player fired the water bottle back into the stands.

It got even more dangerous with reports of fights in the stands. Then a baseball was thrown at, and nearly hit, Canada first base coach Larry Walker.

Who said nobody was taking these games seriously?

Below is a video from YouTube. Oh and Canada won 10-3.

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WBC: Canada vs Mexico Pitching Match Up


Italy has turned things upside down in Pool D with their two wins. Canada is coming off an embarrassing defeat at the hands of Italy, while Mexico rebounded from its loss to down the USA. With a win, Mexico could put itself in a good position to advance.

Both teams start pitchers who were with MLB clubs in 2012.

Canada

Chris Leroux will get the start for Canada on Saturday. Leroux split his time in 2012 between the minors and the Pittsburgh Pirates where he pitched in 10 games, all in relief. He did start eight games at the minor league level, mostly at Triple-A Indianapolis. He was 4-1 with a 3.10 ERA in that minors last season and needs to bring some of that success into today’s game.

Internationally Leroux was part of the Junior National Team from 2001-02 pitching in the 2002 IBAF 18U World Championship. He also appeared in the 2007 World Cup and in the 2009 WBC. He pitched in two games in 2009, pitching just 1.2 innings.

Mexico

Marco Estrada gets the call for Mexico. Estrada spent the 2012 season with the Milwaukee Brewers pitching in 29 games, including 23 starts, going 5-7. He threw 138.1 innings posting a 3.64 ERA.

Estrada was drafted in 2005 by the Washington Nationals out of Long Beach State. He struggled at the Major League level for a few years pitching in only a handful of games before finding his way to Milwaukee where he spent most of 2011 out of the bullpen.

Estrada is making his National Team debut for Mexico in what could turn out to be a huge game for the club win or lose.

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International Players on the Baseball America Top 100 Prospect List – Numbers 81-90


Last time we took a look at #91-100 on the Baseball America Top 100 Prospect List which featured three international players. Today we take the next step down the list with #81-90.

Hak-Ju Lee, ss, TB – #90

Born in South Korea, Lee was signed as a free agent by the Cubs in 2008. He was later traded to Tampa Bay in the deal that sent Matt Garza to the Cubs.

Lee spent the 2012 season in Double-A Montgomery where he put up solid numbers, but the slipped a bit as he moved up against tougher competition. This is his third time on the Top 100 List starting at #92 in 2011. He then jumped up a lot after a nice 2011 season to #44 before falling back to #90 this year.

Lee has a lot of speed stealing 37 bases in 2012 in Double-A and hitting 10 triples. His on-base-percentage fell quite a bit this past season as his strikeout numbers jumped to over 100, but look for him to settle in with more at-bats against the higher competition. He is a plus defender at shortstop and has consistently been ranked among the top Rays prospects for the past couple seasons.

James Paxton, lhp, SEA – #87

Paxton hails from Canada but played his college ball at the University of Kentucky. He is a hard throwing lefty who has averaged more than a strikeout per inning over his brief career. Drafted by the Blue Jays in 2009, Paxton didn’t sign and elected to return to school. However, the NCAA deemed him ineligible due to his contract with agent Scott Boras. Instead, he signed with the independent Grand Prairie Airhogs before being drafted again in 2010. This time he was drafted in the 4th round by Seattle and signed.

In his first season of affiliated ball, Paxton struck out 131 batters in 95 innings. He spent all of the 2012 season at Double-A Jackson where he posted a line of 9-4/3.05 in 21 starts. He throws hard and has a good breaking ball, but like many young pitchers can struggle with his control at times. In 2012, he walked 54 batters in 106 innings. Look for him to get a little more seasoning in the minor leagues this upcoming season.

Yordano Ventura, rhp, KC – #85

This is the first appearance on the Top 100 for Ventura who hails from the Dominican Republic. While Ventura may be small in stature, 5’11” and 150 lbs, he has shown a live arm and the ability to get hitters out.

Ventura spent 2012 split mostly between Single-A and Double-A, but he posted good numbers at both. In 109.1 combined innings he struck out 130 batters. After his move up to the higher level he struggled a bit, but he is still only 21. For the past two seasons he has ranked #1 in the Kansas City Royals organization for the best fastball.

He will need more seasoning in the minors, but he could have a big future ahead of him, especially if he harnesses that fastball and learns to throw more strikes.

Arodys Vizcaino, rhp, CHC – #83

Vizcaino is no stranger to the Top 100 List as this is his fourth appearance on it. Out of the Dominican Republic, he was once a top prospect with the Yankees and then Atlanta.

He is still  young at only 22, but he has has injury problems. He had Tommy John surgery in March of 2012 and missed the entire season. He has a great fastball, once clocked at 101 mph, and has had a top rated curve ball in every minor league system he has been apart of.

In 2011, Vizcaino got a taste of the big leagues pitching in 17 games for the Atlanta Braves. While he struggled with his control at times (he walked 9 in 17 innings), he also showed how he can be overpowering striking out a batter per inning.

He will look to come back from injury this season and reclaim the form that made him one of the top prospects. He has a strong arm, is still very young, and with some time already in the big leagues he will look to eventually help the Cubs at the big league level sometime in the near future.

Martin Perez, lhp, TEX – #81

Perez comes out of Venezuela and is a highly thought of pitching prospect for the Texas Rangers. At the age of 21, Perez got a taste of the big leagues making six starts in Texas and getting into six other games in relief.

Perez has been talked about for several years now within the Rangers organization. He is a left-handed pitcher with good off speed stuff having ranked at the top of the Rangers minor league system as having the best curve ball and change up and one point or another. His biggest problem it seems so far has been control. He has continually walked more than three batters per nine innings pretty much everywhere he has gone. He is not going to blow hitters away and rack up strikeouts, so he has to learn better control.

Perez has a shot at the Rangers rotation this year if he can come away with a big spring. The team is hurting for starters as a few of their regulars are on the DL with injuries to start the season. He could just make it in as the number five starter if he pitches well enough.If not, look for him to start the year in Triple-A Round Rock.

Next up we will take a look at the international players from #71-80.

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Interview: London Majors Player Cleveland Brownlee


This week we bring you an interview with Cleveland Brownlee who has played baseball professionally for the past few years in London, Canada. Brownlee originally hails from Atlanta, but over the past few years has put up some very nice numbers in the Intercounty Baseball League for the London Majors.

He was nice enough to sit down and answer a few questions for us.

First of all, can you give us a little background into your baseball career and how you wound up in Canada?

I started playing at the age of four. Played all the way through high school and college. Played varsity for three years in high school at Cedar Grove High School in Ellenwood, Ga. thats about 15 minutes outside of downtown Atlanta.  I went to Clark Atlanta to play baseball. There I played four years and hold our College record for most home runs in the 4 Years. We did not have a great college team. I played division 2 baseball in the SIAC (Southern Intercollege Athelitic Conference.) I hit over .300 all four years with a total of 46 hrs in those four years. We had a struggle program that sometimes we only played 30 game seasons. I earned All Conferece first team player and school MVP. After graduating from Clark Atlanta University in 2007, I went to a few open workouts and that was where i signed my first pro independent contract . From that I was invited to spring training workout with the phillies in Clear Water, Fla. I have bounced around from indy leagues all over and ended up in Canada after Duane heard a few good things about me and decided to give me a chance.

You have been playing for the London Majors in the Intercounty Baseball League in Ontario, Canada for the past few years. What has the experience been like playing in Canada?

My experience playing in london canada has been like no other. It has been nothing but good to me. I call it my second home. The fans love me there and I have put up great numbers for the past few seasons. I’ve been nominated as fan favorite for the past three years. There is also great baseball being played there. I was under great ownership in the league. I couldnt have asked for a better team to play on. We had the best of facilities, uniforms and just overall great environment to play baseball in.

Have you played in any other foreign countries over the years?

No

You briefly played in the Continental Baseball League in Alexandria a few years back. Was this your only stop in independent ball in the US? What was that experience like and how is it different than playing in another country?

This was where I received my most at-bats in indy ball. I was traded to that team from the Laredo Broncos. I came into a bad situation only because they were alredy half way into there season. I came in not hitting too well and that’s when I got released.  It was a really good league but i dont think that a person can prove himself in only 20 at bats.

I read a short snip it that you were recommended to play for the Laredo Broncos of the United League in 2009 by former MLBer Cecil Fielder. How do you know Cecil and how has he helped you on the field in the past?

I met Cecil at a baseball work out in Atlanta . He saw me take batting paractice and came over and talked to me for awhile. Said that I reminded him of himself on how far the balls were leaving the field. He asked if I wanted to work out with a few more pro guys that he trained and I said yes. I went thru lessons 5 days a week with him not hitting less than 300 balls a day. Me and Cecil became great friends and he called around to help me get tryouts. He is a great teacher . I still call him to this day and mess with him or we talk about other talent around Atlanta that I send his way.

What was it like working with Teammates International and why should others looking to keep playing think about utilizing their services?

Working with Teammates International was a great experience for me. It opened up a door so that the world could really see what I could do. Duane was a straight up guy telling me that he was new to it and that I would be his first real client.  I think that it is a great option for young kids wanting to go furthur in baseball to try. He has multiple contacts now and lots of opportunty for you to go places.

You have had a great career with the London Majors. I understand you are retiring after this year. What are your plans after baseball? Will you enter coaching or get out of the game entirely? Will you stay in Canada or return home to the States?

I always say that I am done playing after every season but I only seem to get better every year. I was teaching high school and doing a lilttle coaching  so I might go into coaching when I’m done but not for sure yet. I would love to stay in canada and start a life there,  but Atlanta has always been my home.  So its still undecided on where I’ll live and start a family and career yet, all depeneds on how long I continue to play.

As a veteran of playing in another country, what is one bit of advice you could give someone who didn’t get drafted but wants to keep playing?

To me being drafted has alot to do with politics. I have played with alot of guys that have been drafed high and ended up playing indy ball or up in Canada. I have proven time after time that I was just as good but most of the time better than those guys. It all depends on how much you want to keep playing. I had something to prove and I worked hard on my craft to let the world know that yes I did deserve a a chance .. so I would tell any kid to keep playing, never give up, and sometimes it takes a little longer to get where you going..

Cleveland Brownlee has put up some great numbers in the IBL over the past few years. In 2012, he blasted 12 home runs and drove in 38 in only 32 games while hitting .326. His 12 home runs were 2nd in the league and he ranked 3rd in RBI. In 2011, he hit .387 and was named a First Team All-Star. You can follow Cleveland’s baseball pursuites on Facebook.

We’d like to thank Cleveland for taking the time to answer some questions for us, and we wish him luck in his future pursuits.

Photo courtesy Wayne Brown

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Baseball Canada adopts Challenger Baseball


Press Release Baseball Canada

OTTAWA-Baseball Canada is very pleased to announce that at the recent Annual General Meeting held in Toronto, the Board of Directors voted to adopt ‘Challenger Baseball’, a program that provides an opportunity for children with disabilities to play baseball, in a division created for their very special needs.

“Baseball Canada is extremely excited about this initiative,” said Director General Jim Baba. “Challenger Baseball is a program that associations across Canada should strongly consider implementing into their programs.

“We look forward to watching the program grow and achieve success for many years to come.”

The program was presented at the AGM by Ian McLean, Challenger Baseball Coordinator in British Columbia. McLean was later chosen by the Board of Directors as the first ever National Coordinator of Challenger Baseball.

“Challenger Baseball provides kids with disabilities the opportunity to do something that able-bodied kids do,” said McLean. “It’s just a huge victory for families that never dreamt their child would be able to play baseball.”

Challenger Baseball was first introduced by Little League Baseball in 1988 and today more than 30,000 individuals participate worldwide. In Canada, the first Challenger Baseball program was offered by Calgary Little League in 1989 and today 28 baseball associations use the program nationwide with 15 of them coming from BC. In 2010, Little League BC and BC Minor Baseball Association came together to mutually promote the Challenger Baseball program in BC, under the auspices of Baseball BC. Baseball Canada envisions all associations across Canada, irrespective of their affiliation, working together to promote and grow this wonderful program.

Challenger Baseball is aimed at kids aged 4-18 that have a physical or cognitive disability, and the program operates with three simple objectives in mind:

·         -An opportunity for children with disabilities to play baseball “in a league … on a team … in a uniform …”

·         -To show the community that children with disabilities can play baseball in a league;

·         -To go out in the community… to find young volunteers to work and mentor with these kids as “Buddies.”

Each player has a “buddy” that can assist players during the game and also provide encouragement while at-bat or playing in the field. Each local Challenger Baseball program goes out into the community and finds compassionate, caring youth and young adults willing to volunteer as “Buddies”.

Like any successful minor baseball organization, Challenger Baseball relies on the dedication of volunteers to run a sustainable program. With McLean on-board to oversee the program on a national level, his hope is to have a Challenger Baseball Coordinator in each province.

“The idea of getting provincial coordinators in place is crucial to starting Challenger Baseball as soon as possible,” explained McLean. “We’re going to spread the word and provide the resources necessary to get started, but the leadership is going to come from a provincial coordinator.

“The most passionate people to lead a Challenger Program are individuals or families that have children affected by disabilities,” he continued. “It’s our job to match those people with local minor baseball associations.”

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Canada: 18U National Team Roster Announced for Spring Training Camp


Press Release Baseball Canada

OTTAWA – Twenty-nine players have been named to the Junior National Team roster that will compete at ESPN Wide World of Sports in Orlando, Florida April 12th – April 22nd.

The annual Spring Training Camp will feature daily practices along with seven exhibition contests against MLB extended spring training clubs and one game against Lake Sumter Junior College.

Included on the schedule is a match-up against the extended spring training club of the Toronto Blue Jays on April 17th at the Bobby Mattick Complex in Dunedin, Florida.

“This camp will allow our coaching staff the opportunity to evaluate all players in a highly competitive environment,” says Greg Hamilton, Baseball Canada’s Director of National Teams and Head Coach of the Junior National Team. “The strides taken at this camp will better prepare our team for success going forward and leading to the IBAF 18U World Championship in September.”

Five players will be making the first appearance with the Junior National Team in Orlando as RHP Dylan Brooks (Dorchester, ON), Brock Dykxhoorn (Goderich, ON), Jake Marks (Brights Grove, ON), Sean Ratcliffe (Ajax, ON) and Mitchell Robinson (Surrey, BC) have been named to the Spring Training roster.

For the players, the training camp will not only offer them the chance to represent their country while improving their skills but will also provide plenty of exposure, as several college and professional scouts will use the training camp as an opportunity for talent evaluation.

The Spring Training Camp is an important step in the process as the JNT prepares for the IBAF 18U World Championship August 30th-September 8th in Seoul, South Korea.

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Toronto Blue Jays Agree to Sponsorship Deal with Baseball Canada


Press Release Toronto Blue Jays

Building off of the agreement with Little League Baseball Canada and continuing with its commitment to amateur baseball in Canada, the TORONTO BLUE JAYS have partnered with Baseball Canada on a sponsorship package for all National Programs.

The Blue Jays will now provide support to all nine National Championships across the country, throughout the summer. Included are full page advertisements in the National Championship program, Blue Jays banners on the outfield walls and sponsorship funds to assist in bringing more recognition to these great championships. Additionally, through club marketing assets, the Blue Jays will provide scores, standings, and registration information for Baseball Canada Championship tournaments over the summer.

Beyond the National Championships, the Blue Jays will host Baseball Canada’s annual Mizuno Elite Camp at Rogers Centre, with Blue Jays Coaching Staff acting as lead instructors. Support will also be provided for the Baseball Canada Coaches Education Program and all National Team Programs are to receive a generous donation from the club.

In partnership with both Little League Baseball Canada and Baseball Canada, the Toronto Blue Jays have created a public service announcement that features; Brett Lawrie, Justin Morneau, and John Axford. The video encourages children across Canada to play baseball, and will begin airing coast to coast in April.

“The Toronto Blue Jays are tremendous supporters of Baseball Canada and are bringing the development and promotion of amateur baseball in Canada to the forefront,” said Baseball Canada President Ray Carter. “From the extremely successful Blue Jays Honda Super Camps to supporting our National Championships and coach education programs, our partnership with the Blue Jays is tremendously valuable and I look forward to seeing it grow in the coming years.”

“Baseball Canada has been a tremendous partner in the past and we are very excited to see this partnership continue to grow. Our goal is to promote and support the growth of the Canadian game at all levels. We continue to develop great relationships with the provincial and local associations across the country. And with the exceptionally dedicated leadership of Ray Carter, Jim Baba and Greg Hamilton at Baseball Canada, coupled with our new partnership with Little League Canada, we could not ask for a better group to help achieve this common goal.” – Stephen Brooks, Senior Vice President, Business Operations

Baseball Canada will also join the Blue Jays and Little League Baseball Canada in presenting the Blue Jays Honda Super Camps in 2012. The 14 camps across Canada will be recognized as Blue Jays Honda Super Camps, presented by Baseball Canada and Little League Baseball Canada. Commencing in Edmonton on July 2 and stopping in every Canadian province before reaching its final destination in Toronto at Rogers Centre on August 29, the 14 camps will build on last year’s successful launch. The camps include instruction from Blue Jays alumni and Baseball Canada instructors, for more information go to bluejays.com/camps.

Below is a list of all nine National Championships.

•Baseball Canada Cup (17 & under All-Stars): August 8-13, 2012 London, ON

•National Pee-Wee Atlantic (13 & under): September 6-10, 2012 St. John’s, NL

•National Pee-Wee Western (13 & under): August 23-27, 2012 Saskatoon, SK

•Bantam Boys (15 & under): August 23-27, 2012 Vaughan, ON

•Bantam Girls International Invitational (16 & under): August 23-27, 2012 Hammonds Plains, NS

•Midget (18 & under): August 16-20, 2012 Québec City, QC

•Junior (21 & under): August 16-20, 2012 Trois-Riviéres, QC

•Senior Men (open age group): August 23-27, 2012 Prince George, BC

•Senior Women Invitational (open age group): July 25-28, 2012 Spruce Grove, AB

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Larry Walker and Canadian Ball Hall partner for 2nd year of trophy line


Press Release Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame

London’s Nothers Signs & Recognitions to market unique award Canada-wide

St. Marys – Larry Walker has agreed to lend his image and signature to a second series of team trophies available Canada-wide through Nothers Signs and Recognitions, in partnership with the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame. The Fergie Jenkins version of the exclusive trophy was a hit at team banquets from coast to coast last year.

The trophy, available in two sizes, and the medal, available in gold, silver or bronze, are for giving grass roots players something to remember their season by, be it for winning or just participating.

“It is a classy and meaningful tangible for their bedroom shelf, a symbol of how much fun the baseball season was, and hopefully a reminder to sign up again next year,” said Ball Hall director of operations Scott Crawford.

The trophy displays an autographed photo of Walker, the greatest position player Canada has ever produced, who was inducted into the Canadian Ball Hall in 2009. The red maple leaf is incorporated to emphasize that baseball is a proud part of Canadiana, because of the deep heritage of baseball in Canada, and the significant impact that Canada has had on the baseball industry.

“A portion of the proceeds from each award will be donated towards funding the Hall of Fame’s KIDS ON DECK summer camp program,” said Jim Nother, president of Nothers Signs & Recognition.

“This camp helps boys and girls aged 9-15 not only learn baseball and softball, but it also serves as a medium to break down perceived barriers and promote cultural awareness. We praise the Hall for their commitment to this cause, and we felt this was the perfect way to demonstrate our support.”

Walker, born in Maple Ridge, British Columbia, belted 383 career homeruns among his 2,160 hits while compiling a .313 lifetime batting average over his 17-year career, has been giving back to his native country in this regard, as well as by helping coach Team Canada in recent years.

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This Year in Baseball: Ontario


Press Release Baseball Canada

Monday, June 6, 2011

This Year in Baseball is a regular feature on Baseball.ca that will preview the year ahead in baseball from the 10 Provincial organizations. As we move across the nation from West to East, we take an in-depth look at Baseball Ontario.

If you want to see a province that has been a model of consistency over the years, look no further than Baseball Ontario.

Baseball Ontario has achieved success at the high performance level while also continuing to produce solid results when it comes to grassroots baseball and coach and officials development.

Always a threat at the National Championships, Administrative Director at Baseball Ontario, Mary-Ann Smith points to one main reason for this success.

“Volunteers,” said Smith. “Baseball Ontario has a number of dedicated coaches who work long hours to develop athletes. Without those amazing coaches, we would not have the number amazing athletes that we do.”

The success at the high performance level and producing elite talent that have gone on to play on National Teams or in professional baseball should not be overshadowed by some of the impressive things that Baseball Ontario is doing in other areas of the game.

Where officials are concerned, Baseball Ontario is extremely proud of their Umpire Development Program. The province has seen a significant increase in umpire registration in the past 8 years going from 2,717 certified umpires in 2002 to 3,847 in 2010.

Other provinces have adopted Baseball Ontario’s successful 5-year curriculum for level 1 and 2 umpires, as well as the 3 year cycle for level 3 umpires.

“We have been able to offer developmental programs for umpires at events such as the Ontario Cup Tournament and the bi-annual Ontario Summer Games Tournament,” explained Smith.

Over to the grassroots programs, Winterball is and continues to be strength in the province while Rally Cap is making progress.

“Local Associations that currently use the Rally Cap program have indicated that the program helped increase their registration and enthusiasm since implementation,” noted Smith. “These Associations have been able to adapt the program to their specific needs.”

Baseball Ontario has also been promoting the program through Grassroots Coordinator, Cindy Rossignoli who has been presenting information on both the Rally Cap and Winterball programs to local associations to showcase the merits of both programs.

“The presentation is focused on providing local associations with information on these two initiation programs and highlight that these two programs are great opportunities and resources to help them grow and develop baseball in their areas,” continued Smith. “As a result, some local associations have started contacting and promoting the Winterball Program to schools in their area.”

Speaking of Winterball, the program is still flourishing since its inception back in 2002. Baseball Ontario has passed out nearly 1000 kits since that time and according to Smith the success of the program is a sense of pride for the province.

“We are pleased to be able to introduce our sport to youth who may not otherwise have the chance to try baseball, and we do so through a fun, non-competitive program that focuses on the fundamentals of the sport,” she said.

The feedback from schools using the program has been very positive which in part is due to an instructional DVD that the province developed to provide another resource to help instructors teach the program.

“The reviews from teachers using the program are wonderful as they are thankful for the extra tool (DVD) in helping them deliver the program within their schools,” said Smith.

While there are a lot of positive initiatives and programs happening within Baseball Ontario, the provincial office is working to improve some areas within their system, in particular with member services.

“Baseball Ontario wants to improve member services,” added Smith. “Over the last few years, Baseball Ontario has made great strides to supply our members with useful tools to help with umpiring, classification, tournament, provincial tournament and player registration services. These services are available free of charge for our members through our website at www.baseballontario.com

To help facilitate this initiative, Baseball Ontario has launched an on-line convenor package for the 2011 regular season and all provincial tournaments.

“We will continue to enhance the functionality of this program and it will include a full scheduling module by the fall of 2011 to be implemented in advance of the 2012 season,” said Smith.

Also of note, Baseball Ontario welcomed its newest staff member, Enza Finnie, in early May who will be performing the Administrative Coordinator duties.

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Baseball Canada announces National Championship Schedules


Press Release Baseball Canada

OTTAWA- Championship season is right around the corner! With baseball well underway in most parts of the country right now, Baseball Canada has released the schedules of all nine National Championships.

To kick things off the Senior Women’s Invitational and Bantam Girls Championship will take place concurrently in North York, ON beginning on July 27th and ending on July 30th with medal games. If necessary, July 31st will be used as a rain date.

After a two-year run in Kindersley, SK, the Baseball Canada Cup heads east to Moncton, NB as some of the best 17 and under players in the country battle for a National Championship. The event kicks-off on August 10th and runs until the 15th. British Columbia comes into Moncton as the two-time defending champion.

Two championships will run from August 18th-22nd as the Midget Championship is set for Regina, SK and the Junior Championship takes place in Windsor, ON.

The Peewee Western, Bantam Boys and Senior Men’s Championships are all scheduled from August 25th-28th. Nanaimo, BC will host the Peewee Western, while the Bantam Boys returns to Vaughan, ON for the third consecutive year and the Senior Men’s stays on the east coast, but moves to Chatham, NB after being held in Dartmouth, NS last year.

Dartmouth will still have championship baseball this year as the Peewee Atlantic event will be held in the Maritime city from September 8th-12th.

All National Championship schedules have been posted on Baseball.ca and can be accessed by clicking HERE, whereby you can visit each individual championships website.

Once again, LIVE scoring for all National Championships will be available courtesy of Pointstreak!

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Canada: This Year in Baseball – Alberta


Press Release Baseball Canada

This Year in Baseball is a regular feature on Baseball.ca that will preview the year ahead in baseball from the 10 Provincial organizations. Today we take an in-depth look at Baseball Alberta.

OTTAWA- At last year’s Baseball Canada Cup, the Province of Alberta made a statement that they are ready to take on compete with the best of the best. The western boys sailed through the Pool B play en route to winning the Bronze Medal. Much of this success can be attributed to the strength of programs and coaching in the Province.

“It’s really a trickledown effect,” says Greg Wolfe, Technical and Development Coordinator with Baseball Alberta. “The quality of the league’s, leads to the quality of the coaches which leads to the quality of the players.”

Preparations are underway for this year’s Canada Cup team which will head to Moncton in August looking to improve on their performance from last year.

“The coaching staff has already been selected and we’ll be running camps for the next six weeks which culminate into an invitational camp at the end of June,” explains Wolfe. “We’re going in (to the event) with a positive attitude looking to improve on last year’s result.”

On the grassroots side of the ball, the Rally Cap and Winterball programs continue to be popular on fields and in schools around Alberta.

“We’ve had a big increase in actual Rally Caps being purchased this year, so that tells me that we’re getting more registrations because of the program itself,” notes Wolfe. “With the way Baseball Canada is supporting the program with the hats, manuals and kits it’s only going to make the game that much stronger at the Rally Cap level.”

To further enhance the success of the Rally Cap program, Baseball Alberta will be piloting the Rally Cap NCCP workshop for coaches. This initiative will target coaches that are new to Rally Cap and provide them with additional training in order to make them successful as a coach which leads to a positive experience for Rally Cap participants.

“This is the kind of support that coaches and associations are really looking for,” offered Wolfe. “We hope that this initiative will really provide a big push for all associations to start incorporating Rally Cap into their systems.”

Where Winterball is concerned, Program and Operations Coordinator Dan Curtis says Baseball Alberta is doing everything they can to get the word out about the program.

“We’ve heard nothing but good things about Winterball. Also, we’ve taken it one step further by sending coaches into the schools to actually assist the teachers with implementing the program.”

“Once people hear about the program, realize it’s free and use it, they provide positive feedback.”

Umpiring is also an area of strength for Baseball Alberta in terms of certifying umpires and having them progress to the upper tiers of the umpiring system. Keeping the same template as coaching, the Province is doing everything they can to give necessary support. Wolfe points to quality instructors and facilitators at the top that provide the tools required to succeed.

“We have a great group of facilitators for both our coaches and umpires. The work that they do for Baseball Alberta is fantastic!”

To learn more about Baseball Alberta, visit their website: www.baseballalberta.com

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Netherlands: Leon Boyd Not Ruturning to Neptunus


THE NETHERLANDS – Former Toronto Blue Jays farmhand Leon Boyd has decided not to return to the Dutch League, and will instead join the Burnaby Bulldogs in British Columbia as a player and coach.

The 27-year-old Canadian has established himself as one of the top pitchers in Europe. The crafty right-hander posted an unblemished 9-0 record last year with an eye-opening 0.35 ERA and 83 strikeouts in 69 1/3 innings to help Neptunus claim back-to-back Dutch titles.

Boyd becomes the latest addition of several notable departures for the Rotterdam club. Multi-titled skipper Steve Janssen left the club to focus on his duties as national team pitching coach while key players OF Danny Rombley (UVV) and RHP Dushan Ruzic (Telemarket Rimini) will also be wearing new uniforms.

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Canada: Mike Griffin Hired by MLB to Help Baseball in China


Courtesy Baseball Canada

OTTAWA- Former Junior National Team member Mike Griffin (Nanaimo, BC) is taking his baseball expertise to Asia as he has been hired by Major League Baseball to help oversee the development of players under 20 years old. Griffin will be based out of the MLB Development Centre headquarters in Wuxi, China but will also work with players in other parts of Asia.

“An opportunity to join MLB was one I couldn’t pass up”, says Griffin. “My supporting wife was on side and so begins another chapter in our globetrotting lives. We have worked hard in baseball to hopefully stay with it as a career.”

Being involved in baseball internationally is nothing new to Griffin who has spent the past five years living in the Czech Republic where he played and coached professionally. It is in the European country that Griffin was able to work at such events as the World University Games and European Cup which led to forming a relationship with MLB International.

“My European experience has been invaluable in that I had the opportunities as an ‘A’ league player, an ‘A’ league coach, baseball academy and youth camp instructor, administrator and public relations liaison,” explained Griffin.

Griffin’s journey in baseball began in his native Nanaimo where he played for the Nanaimo Pirates of the British Columbia Premier League. Griffin’s play caught the attention of JNT coaches and he spent the 2003 season with the club. After receiving scholarship offers from the University of Hawaii and the College of Southern Idaho, Griffin accompanied the USA Athletes in Action team on a European tour. It was there that Griffin’s play caught the attention of coaches from the Ostrava Arrows of the professional “A” league in the Czech Republic where he was subsequently offered a contract.

After his playing days were over Griffin switched to coaching in the city of Kotlarka for two years before the opportunity with MLB arose.

“The Kotlarka owners were nice enough to realize this opportunity for me and released me from my contract with them,” added Griffin.

The 25 year-old, who began his new position on January 1st and relocated to China on January 18th, will be joined by his wife Jacqueline.

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Baseball Canada releases 2011 Calendar of Events


Press Release Baseball Canada

OTTAWA- Looking to beat the winter blues? Baseball Canada is pleased to present the 2011 Calendar of Events which can only mean that baseball season will soon be upon us. It will be a busy year on baseball diamonds all over the country and also in international competition with the various National Teams.

“With spring just around the corner it is an exciting time as we look forward to another great year of baseball in Canada and with our National Teams on the international scene,” says Director General of Baseball Canada Jim Baba.

Last month’s Baseball Canada National Teams Awards Banquet and Fundraiser kicked off the year as alumni, corporate partners and friends gathered in Toronto for a memorable evening.

In February, a group of Bantam girl’s will head down to Cuba for the second consecutive year to participate in a Development Camp. The Junior National Team will also be heading south as they will assemble in St. Petersburg, Florida for the first ever Spring Training Alumni Week. The highlight of the trip will come on March 4th when the JNT square-off against a split-squad version of the Toronto Blue Jays MLB club.

The Juniors will assemble once again in April and May for their annual trips to ESPN Wide World of Sports in Orland and the Dominican Republic respectively.

On the administrative side of things, the Baseball Canada AGM will take place in Toronto in mid-June.

Championship season gets underway at the end of July as the Senior Women’s Invitational and Bantam Girls Championships will take place simultaneously in North York, Ontario. These events are crucial in the selection process for the Woman’s National Team as they prepare for the Women’s World Cup scheduled for Edmonton in 2012.

All other championships run during the month of August while the Peewee Atlantic Championship will take place during the second week of September. Baseball Canada’s showcase event, the Baseball Canada Cup, will head to Moncton, New Brunswick after two successful years in Kindersley, Saskatchewan.

From there the scene shifts to international baseball as the JNT will attend the Americas World Junior Qualifier at the end of September in Cartagena, Colombia in hopes of qualifying for the 2012 World Junior Baseball Championship in Seoul, South Korea.

After qualifying last October, the Senior National Team will represent Canada at the Pan Am Games in Guadalajara, Mexico from October 19-28. The IBAF recently announced that the 39th Baseball World Cup will be played in Panama City, Panama with the dates still to be determined.

As always the final event on the baseball calendar is the Baseball Canada Fall Convention slated for November 2-6 in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Note: The 2011 Baseball Canada Calendar of Events can be found by clicking here…Please check back to www.baseball.ca as dates and locations for events will be entered on the calendar once they become available.

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Who will win the 2017 World Baseball Classic?

  • Puerto Rico (31%, 27 Votes)
  • Dominican Republic (13%, 11 Votes)
  • USA (13%, 11 Votes)
  • Mexico (11%, 10 Votes)
  • Other (8%, 7 Votes)
  • Cuba (8%, 7 Votes)
  • Venezuela (6%, 5 Votes)
  • Netherlands (5%, 4 Votes)
  • Japan (5%, 4 Votes)
  • Chinese Taipei (1%, 1 Votes)
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