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WBC: Japan and Netherlands advance to semifinals


Japan and Netherlands advance to semifinals in Los Angeles at the 2017 World Baseball Classic.

Netherlands 14, Cuba 1

The Netherlands jumped on Cuba early and often scoring multiple runs in the 1st, 3rd, and 4th inning en route to a 14-1 drubbing that ended after 7 innings due to the run rule.

The Dutch hit 4 home runs in the victory. Two of those came from slugger Wladimir Balentien who hit a 3-run shot in the first inning and a solo shot in the 3rd inning. Yurendell Decaster hit a 2-run shot in the 3rd inning, and the final shot came in the 7th from Kailan Sams.

Decaster drove in 4 runs and Jurickson Profar chipped in with 3 hits scoring 2 runs. Despite all the offense, perhaps the best performance came from starter, Diego Markwell. Markwell went 6.0 innings giving up just 1 run on 4 hits. It was his first start in the 2017 WBC after giving the Netherlands 3 solid starts in 2013.

Shairon Martis finished off the game with a scoreless inning. There wasn’t much to write home about for Cuba in the loss. Willian Saavedra was the only Cuba hitter with more than 1 hit. He went 2-for-3 with a double.

The win combined with Japan’s win over Cuba gave the Netherlands and Japan a birth in the semifinals in Los Angeles. Both teams will travel to Los Angeles and wait to see who they will play out of the pool currently playing in San Diego. The single elimination championship round will begin on Monday March 20th with the Netherlands facing the winner from Pool F. Japan will play the next day against the runner up from Pool F with the winners from both games playing for the title.

Full Box Score

Final Pool E Standings from Tokyo:

  1. Japan 3-0
  2. Netherlands 2-1
  3. Israel 1-2
  4. Cuba 0-3

 

Japan Netherlands advance semifinals

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How have our World Baseball Classic predictions been so far?


Back just before the start of the tournament, we made 2017 World Baseball Classic predictions. Today we want to take a look at how those are going and perhaps make some updates on Round 2.

Pool A

We predicted the Netherlands and South Korea would make it out of Pool A. We were half wrong. We expected South Korea to have a better showing, like most everyone else. We did say that Israel would come close to advancing, but I don’t think anyone saw them going 3-0. My feeling was they would come close to beating South Korea and be outs away from advancing. Turns out they would best South Korea and win the whole pool.

Pool B

I think this was the easiest pool to predict. We predicted this right down to the records for all teams. Japan and Cuba advanced. Australia missed out on Round 2 by a single run losing to Cuba 4-3.

Pool C

We got the top 2 right, but did not see Colombia putting up such a great fight. They nearly beat the USA in the first game, beat Canada, and then came inches away from defeating the Dominican Republic. We thought Canada would get by Colombia, but they did not. Canada was rather disappointing in the 2017 WBC and now will have to qualify for the 2021 edition.

Pool D

It almost came down to exactly how we thought it might. We predicted it would be Puerto Rico (although at 2-1 not 3-0) and Venezuela making it to Round 2. We also thought that this would be the pool that would need to play the tiebreaker game, check. This was perhaps the most exciting round, which says a lot with how exciting this tournament has been.

We are sticking to the rest of our predictions. So far we predicted 7 of the 8 in Round 2, and we are sticking to our predictions of the semifinals consisting of USA, Dominican Republic, Japan, Netherlands. That is going out on a limb saying that Puerto Rico will not advance since they have been one of the hottest teams.

It has been a fun WBC so far with so many exciting games and plays, and I have the feeling it will only get better from here on out.

World Baseball Classic predictions

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Japan Defeats Netherlands in 11 at World Baseball Classic


Japan Wins Extra Inning Affair Against Netherlands

Every time Japan scored, the Netherlands answered except one as Japan defeats Netherlands in extra innings. Japan jumped into the lead in the top of the 2nd inning with a sacrifice fly from Shogo Akiyama. But in the bottom half of the inning the Dutch scored one of its own to tie the game on a solo home run from Jonathan Schoop.

Then in the top of the 3rd inning Japan would put up 4 runs. The big blow was a 3-run home run from Sho Nakata off of Dutch starter Rick van den Hurk who almost got out of the inning. Nakata’s homer just cleared the left field wall landing in the first row of seats. Akiyama continued the scoring with a RBI single, but the lead was short lived.

As they did the first time, the Netherlands quickly came right back with 4 runs of its own in the bottom of the 3rd. Simmons got the scoring going with a RBI single bringing home Randolph Oduber after he doubled. After a Jurickson Profar single and a Xander Bogearts sacrifice fly put the game at 5-3, Wladimir Balentien damaged a ball hitting a hard line drive off the left field foul pole for a 2-run homer to tie it at 5.

Profar was right back in the mix again in the bottom of the 5th. Simmons led off the inning by tomahawking a single to center. Profar followed with a line drive double, his 3rd of the WBC, down the right field line setting up the Dutch with runners at 2nd and 3rd. Kodai Senga got Bogaerts to go down looking for the first out, and then got Balentien swinging. Senga got out of the inning by getting Didi Gregorius out on a grounder to first.

The Netherlands threatened again in the bottom of the 8th loading the bases with 1 out. Gregorius and Schoop led off the inning with back-to-back singles. After a strikeout of Curt Smith, who didn’t look comfortable bunting, Dashenko Ricardo walked to load the bases. Japan made the call to the pen to bring on Hirotoshi Masui with Oduber up. Masui simply overpowered Oduber for the 2nd out in the 8th, then faced Andrelton Simmons. On a 2-0 count, Simmons checks his swing but fouls off the ball inside that appeared to have hit him at first sight. Either way it was an important pitch because it made the count 2-1 and not 3-0. On the next pitch Masui got Simmons to ground out ending the threat.

The Dutch sent up its best hitters in the bottom of the 9th. Profar went down looking at a perfect pitch knee high on the outside corner. Bogaerts followed with a walk before Balentien lined a single in the right-centerfield gap putting runners at the corners with 1 out for Gregorius. With so much tension in the air, Gregorius ripped a 1-0 pitch just foul down the right field line that might have ended the game had it been fair. Gregorius wound up flying out to left but it was not deep enough to score Bogaerts from third. Jonathan Schoop delivered the game-tying hit with a single up the middle off the glove of a diving Ryosuke Kikuchi who made an amazing diving play earlier in the game. Curt Smith would go down swinging to end the inning but not before the Netherlands tied it up at 6.

Japan started the 10th inning with a Shogo Akiyama ground out. Then the fun began. Seiji Kobayashi singled and was followed by a Seiichi Uchikawa double setting up Samurai Japan with a pair of runners in scoring position with just 1 out. That is when the Dutch went to Tom Stuifbergen replacing Loek Van Mil on the mound.

Stuifbergen immediately issued an intentional walk to load the bases and set up the double play, which brought up Norichika Aoki who then grounded into a double play ending the inning and threat. The throw to Smith at first appeared to pull him off the bag, and with MLB replay the call might have been overturned.

In the 11th the tiebreaker rules came into play where the last two batters were placed at 1st and 2nd base to start the inning. Japan immediately sacrificed them over, and Sho Nakata came through again with a 2-run single.

Kazuhisa Makita shut the door on the Dutch in the bottom of the 11th ending the nearly 5 hour game in Tokyo.

Full Box Score

Pool E 2nd Round Standings:

  1. Japan 1-0
  2. Israel 1-0
  3. Netherlands 0-1
  4. Cuba 0-1

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WBC: Pool E Preview from Tokyo


As Round 1 finishes up in North America, Round 2 begins in Asia at the 2017 World Baseball Classic and we are here with a Pool E Preview from Tokyo.

Pool E consists of the top two finishers in Pools A and B from Seoul and Tokyo. In Pool A, Israel shocked everyone by going 3-0 and winning the pool. The Netherlands picked up the no. 2 seed out of Pool A after going 2-1. Both South Korea and Chinese Taipei did not advance.

Coming out of Pool B are two of the top favorites in the tournament, Japan and Cuba. Japan won the pool finishing with a perfect 3-0 record, and they look to be the top of the heap going into Round 2. Cuba finished 2-1 defeating Australia 4-3 to advance to the next round.

Round 2 will be another round robin. The two no. 1 seeds from Round 1 will have an easier schedule simply because they will not play on back-to-back days. The no. 2 seeds will have games on back-to-back days.

Israel will have to keep its hot hand going, and they have the talent to do just that. Do not count them out of advancing to the semifinals. Japan is the clear favorite in the pool. The rest should be interesting to watch. This pool is up for grabs and could make for some interesting baseball.

Schedule for Round 2 in Tokyo, Japan:

Game 1 Saturday March 11th 10PM EST
Cuba vs Israel

Game 2 Sunday March 12th 6AM EST
Japan vs Netherlands

Game 3 Monday March 13th 6AM EST
Netherlands and Israel

Game 4 Tuesday March 14th 6AM EST
Cuba vs Japan

Game 5 Tuesday March 14th 11PM EST
Netherlands vs Cuba

Game 6 Wednesday March 15th 6AM EST
Israel vs Japan

Game 7 Thursday March 16th 6AM EST
Tiebreaker if necessary

All games will take place at the Tokyo Dome. More information on Pool E.

Pool E Preview Tokyo

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Netherlands Walk Off with Win Against Chinese Taipei


Netherlands Walk Off with Win and Walk into Round 2

The Netherlands got the scoring started in the 2nd inning. Wladimir Balentien singled to start the inning. After a fly out from Jonathan Schoop, Didi Gregorius just missed a home run lining a double off the right field wall that put runners at 2nd and 3rd. Curt Smith grounded into a fielder’s choice but Dashenko Ricardo came through for the Dutch with a single to center scoring Smith from 3rd to give them a 1-0 lead.

However, Chinese Taipei came right back in the top of the 3rd inning to take the lead. The first run came on a wild pitch by Jair Jurrjens that tied the game. Chih-Sheng Lin then followed that up with a RBI single to put Chinese Taipei up 2-1.

In the back-and-forth game, the Netherlands went back on top 3-2 on a 2-run double by Didi Gregorius scoring both Balentien and Schoop, both who had singled. Ricardo followed that up with a RBI single to right to score Gregorius, and they continued to threaten. Randolph Oduber was then hit by a pitch putting runners at 1st and 2nd as the Dutch lineup came back around to the top of the order. However, Chinese Taipei was able to get out of the inning after getting Andrelton Simmons to ground into a double play.

And as the game went Chinese Taipei bounced right back with 3 runs of its own in the top of the 5th to go up 5-4. The Dutch would tie the game in the bottom of the 8th setting up the walk-off win in the 9th inning.

With the bases loaded, Jurickson Profar was the hero once again. He took a 3-2 pitch high and outside for the walk-off walk.

The win puts the Netherlands and Israel into Round 2 in Tokyo.

Notable Players:

Didi Gregorius finished the game with 3 RBI, 2 runs scored, and 3 doubles to lead the Dutch offense.

Wladimir Balentien went 4-for-4 in the game raising his average so far in the WBC to .714.

Mike Bolsenbroek pitched solid out of the pen for the Dutch. He tossed 3.0 shutout innings in relief.

On the Chinese Taipei side, Chih-Hao Chang went 3-for-5 including a 2-run home run.

Pool A Standings from Seoul, South Korea:

  1. Israel 2-0
  2. Netherlands 2-0
  3. South Korea 0-2
  4. Chinese Taipei 0-2

Israel and the Netherlands will play to see who gets the no. 1 seed from Pool A going into Round 2.

Netherlands Walk Off

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Netherlands downs South Korea at WBC


The Netherlands downs South Korea at WBC

Jumping out to an early lead, the Netherlands downs South Korea in Pool A at the WBC. Andrelton Simmons led off the game with a single to left coming around to score on a 2-run shot from Jurickson Profar. With the quick lead, the Netherlands really took the air out of the stadium and dealt a huge blow to host South Korea.

Both Simmons and Profar finished the game with two hits apiece. Also with two hits were Dashenko Ricardo and Randolph Oduber. Oduber also hit a 2-run home run in the 6th inning giving the Dutch its final 5-0 lead.

Rick van den Hurk picked up the win for the Netherlands. He tossed 4.0 shutout innings allowing just 3 hits and a pair of walks. The rest of the Dutch bullpen shut down the Korea bats the rest of the way including Diego Markwell, Shairon Martis, Tom Stuifbergen, and Loek van Mil.

The biggest problem so far for Korea, which looks like it will be out after Round 1, has been its offense. They managed just 6 hits against the Netherlands and 7 against Israel. They will now get a day off before coming back to finish out Round 1 against Chinese Taipei.

The Netherlands team has a lot of talent featuring some of the best young players in Major League Baseball and one of the most prolific sluggers from Japan. The lineup is loaded, and the pitching should be enough to carry them deep into the tournament. Then again that is what many thought about South Korea too and that has not been the case so far.

Up next for the Netherlands will be Chinese Taipei. A win would seal a Round 2 birth for both themselves and Israel.

Pool A Standings:

  1. Israel 2-0
  2. Netherlands 1-0
  3. Chinese Taipei 0-1
  4. South Korea 0-2

Full Box Score

Netherlands downs South Korea WBC

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WBC: South Korea vs Netherlands Game 3 Pool A Preview


Following their 2-1 loss to Israel, South Korea vs Netherlands will be Game 3 of Pool A of the 2017 World Baseball Classic. It will be the first game for the Dutch who now look to put Korea in a deep hole that they might not be able to get out of.

South Korea, ranked no. 3 in the world, will turn to right-handed Kyu-min Woo of the Samsung Lions to shut down the potent Dutch lineup. Woo pitched last year with the LG Twins of the KBO where he went 6-11 with a 4.91 ERA. And he will have a tough task against a solid lineup.

While the Netherlands will put a lot of experience on the mound, its strength will be in its lineup, especially its infield. However, going for the Netherlands against South Korea will be former KBO pitcher Rick van den Hurk. He pitched for the Samsung Lions for two seasons going a combined 20-13 including 13-4 in 2014. The past two seasons van den Hurk has been pitching in Japan where he has had continued success going a combined 16-3.

Players to Watch

South Korea

Hyun-wook Choi – He has been slumping in warm up games and thus did not get the start in Game 1. However, his big left-handed bat could come into play so look for him to get the start.

Dae-ho Lee – He can get hot and carry a team and right now his team needs someone to be that spark. He was robbed of extra bases by Sam Fuld in Game 1, look for him to get his bat going and give South Korea some thunder it is badly needing.

Netherlands

Didi Gregorius – There is so much talent in the infield for the Netherlands. However, Didi is one of the few left-handed hitters and this I feel will come into play against the sidewinding Woo.

Jurickson Profar – Again Profar will start the game from the left side of the plate. A switch-hitter, Profar has shown more power over the years from the left side of the plate.

Game time is 4:30 am ET and can be seen on MLB Network or MLB.TV (US only).

South Korea vs Netherlands

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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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Netherlands WBC roster has been announced


The Netherlands WBC roster has been announced, and it is full of talent. Highlighting the roster will be the Dutch infield which is stacked with MLB talent. However, up and down the roster there is talent and they will compete for a spot in Round 2 and possibly further.

Late in January we spoke about the stacked Dutch infield. It will include the likes of Xander Bogaerts, Didi Gregorius, Jurickson Profar, Andrelton Simmons, and Jonathan Schoop. But along with those MLB players are some very experienced international players.

Curt Smith is back again for Team Netherlands. He has a lot of international experience and even hit .321 in the 2013 WBC as the Dutch ran off to a semifinal appearance. Also back from 2013 is Yurendell de Caster who hit .400 in limited action. He provides experience off the bench with a quality right handed bat that can play multiple positions.

Bringing power to the outfield is Wladimir Balentien. While he might not be a household name in the USA, he did play parts of 3 seasons with the Mariners and Reds, he is a star in Japan in the Nippon Professional Baseball league. After leaving the USA for the 2011 season, Balentien has gone on to hit 30+ home runs 5 times, including 60 in 2014 which broke the all-time record in Japan.

On the bump the Dutch have some talent as sell. Diegomar Markwell is back after a stellar 2013 WBC where he went 2-1 with a 3.07 ERA in 3 starts. While he is inching up in age (36) he still has a quality arm that should be able to get the Dutch some good starts. Also back is Orlando Yntema who had a good 2013 WBC pitching twice and making one start. In the bullpen they will return Loek Van Mil (0.00 ERA in 2013).

The most intriguing player for the Netherlands this go around is Jair Jurrjens. The former MLB starter with Atlanta, Baltimore, and Colorado pitched the 2016 season in Taiwan. Still only 31, but far past his prime, he could still give the Dutch some solid innings either out of the bullpen or perhaps in a spot start.

2017 Netherlands WBC Roster:

Pitchers:

Mike Bolsenbroek
Rob Cordemans
Tom de Blok
Lars Huijer
Jair Jurrjens
Diego Markwell
Shairon Martis
Jim Ploeger
Tom Stuifbergen
J.C. Sulbaran
Rick van den Hurk
Loek Van Mil
Orlando Yntema

Catchers:

Dashenko Ricardo
Shawn Zarraga

Infielders:

Xander Bogaerts
Yurendell de Caster
Didi Gregorius
Dwayne Kemp
Jurickson Profar
Jonathan Schoop
Sharlon Schoop
Andrelton Simmons
Curt Smith

Outfielders:

Wladimir Balentien
Christopher Garia
Randolph Oduber
Kalian Sams

Designated Pitcher Pool:

Nelmerson Angela
Kevin Heijstek
Kenley Jansen
Kevin Kelly
Ruderly Manuel
Ryan Oduber
Mark Pawelek
Berry van Driel

Netherlands WBC roster

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Netherlands will Feature Stacked Infield for 2017 World Baseball Classic


The Netherlands will feature some of the best young talent in Major League Baseball when they suit up during the 2017 World Baseball Classic.

The Red Sox Xander Bogaerts, the Rangers’ Jurickson Profar, the Orioles’ Jonathan Schoop, the Yankees’ Didi Gregorius, and the elder statesman at just 27 the Angels’ Andrelton Simmons will all play for the Netherlands. All but Gregorius played with the team in 2013, but now they are established major league talent.

Simmons has ranked as one of the best defensive players in the game over the past four seasons. He has led the MLB in Defensive Runs Saved with 112 since his first full season in 2013.

Bogaerts had a break out season in 2015 when he hit .320 for the Red Sox. He then turned himself into an offensive force in 2016 hitting .294 and slugging 34 doubles and 21 home runs.

Gregorius had his best season at the plate in 2016, his second in New York taking over for Derek Jeter. In 2016 he clubbed 20 home runs, 32 doubles, and hit .276.

Schoop stayed healthy last year and had his first complete season playing all 162 games for the Orioles. He hit .267 with 25 home runs, 38 doubles, and drove in 82.

Profar played in 90 games for the Rangers. He played every infield position and left field over the course of the year. He batted .239 with 5 home runs and 3 triples.

In 2013 the Netherlands made it to the semifinals eventually losing to the eventual champion Dominican Republic. This year they will begin in Pool A in Seoul, South Korea. There they will battle the host country, Chinese Taipei, and Israel for a spot in Round 2.

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


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

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

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

Pool A:

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

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

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

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

Pool B

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

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

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

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

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

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South Korea Climbs to No.3 in Baseball World Rankings


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

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

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

Men’s Baseball Final 2016 World Rankings Top 10:

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

Complete World Rankings

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Euro League Baseball Begins Play


Perhaps the biggest development in European baseball this past year has been is the Euro League that was established and started play this spring.

Initially there are four teams playing in the league from different leagues around Europe. Amsterdam Baseball was created to compete in the league and will be comprised of some of the Dutch League Amsterdam Pirates.

Each team will play twelve games with six home and six away. The season began on April 19th and will continue through September.

This is a huge step forward in forming a Europe wide league that could encompass many of the great leagues that are already present in countries like Germany, Italy, France, and so many more.

Inaugural Euro League Teams:

Netherlands 
Amsterdam Baseball

German Bundesliga
Buchbinder Leagionaire
Haar Disciples

Czech Extraleague
Draci Brno

Stay tuned as we will bring you updates on games, standings, and news and notes from around the league as it progresses.

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Netherlands: Curacao Neptunus and L&D Amsterdam Atop Standings


L&D Amsterdam had three big wins this weekend over Mampaey the Hawks keeping them in a tie for first place with Curacao Neptunus, who also won all three this weekend.

Amsterdam outscored the Hawks 38-4 over the weekend. Rashid Gerard had a huge weekend. He went a combined 6-for-11 with 2 doubles, 2 home runs, 10 RBI, and 5 runs scored. Joining him in a big weekend was Bas Nooij. Nooij went 5-for-11 with a double, a home run, 9 runs scored, and 7 RBI.

Dutch Major League Standings:

1. L&D Amsterdam Pirates 10-2
2. Curacao Neptunus 10-2
3. Vaessen Pioniers 8-4
4. Corendon Kinheim 7-4-1
5. UVV 6-6
6. DSS 4-8
7. HCAW Bussum 2-9-1
8. Mampaey the Hawks 0-12

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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.

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Global Baseball Match: Europe Reveals Starting Lineup #EURvsJPN


TOKYO, Japan – The All-Euro team announced its starting lineup for the first game of the Global Baseball Match against Japan. The game will take place later today in the Tokyo Dome.

The starting ten (with DH) will feature players from only three countries: Italy, Spain, and the Netherlands.

Europe manager Steve Janssen revealed the lineup via Twitter:

 

1. Juan Carlos Infante 3B (Italy)
2. Alessandro Vaglio 2B (Italy)
3. Curt Smith 1B (Netherlands)
4. Fernando Martinez RF (Spain)
5. Kaliam Sams LF (Netherlands)
6. Yurendell De Caster DH (Netherlands)
7. Oscar Angelo SS (Spain)
8. Ricardo Daschenko C (Netherlands)
9. Stefano Desimoni CF (Italy)
Rob Cordemans P (Netherlands)

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Global Baseball Match: Rob Cordemans Named Europe Starter for Game 1


TOKYO, Japan – It is only a few hours away from the big event of Europe versus Japan in the first ever Global Baseball Match.

Not long ago Europe manager Steven Janssen announced that his starting pitcher for Game 1 will be Dutch right-hander Rob Cordemans.

Rob has been a fixture on the Dutch National Team for years and has been a top European pitcher for the past ten years or more. He will be up against a stout Samurai Japan team.

The All-Euro team is behind the Japanese team in terms of training so far this year. Weather forced the European team’s warm up game. They have been forced to rely mainly on training indoors with a few outside practices. While Japan has already played a few spring games.

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Global Baseball Match: Japan Announces Starting Pitchers; Europe Announces Schedule


The Global Baseball Match between the Samurai Japan and the All-Euro team is approaching quickly. The two teams will meet next Tuesday and Wednesday in the Tokyo Dome for a pair of games.

Team Europe arrived in Japan yesterday and has announced its schedule. And there is news coming out now from the Japan squad as well as they have announced their starting pitchers for the two games.

Starting in Game 1 will be Daichi Osera of the Hiroshima Toyo Carp. Osera, a 23-year old right hander, won the 2014 Rookie of the Year Award this past season posting a 10-8 record with a 4.05 ERA.

Pitching Game 2 will be the Orix Buffaloes Takahiro Matsuba. He went 8-1 in 2014 in 21 starts. He posted an ERA of just 2.77 in his second year in the league.

Schedule courtesy IBAF.org

Friday, 6 March: Visit To Fukushima – Four Years Later

Following the team workout session Friday, members of Team Europe will visit the Fukushima region that was devastated on 11 March 2011. The area is still in the process of recovery from the disaster, and the visit is intended to pay tribute and raise awareness of the region’s ongoing recovery efforts.

Saturday, 7 March: Baseball Clinic with School Children

School children will join the team and have the opportunity to play ball and engage with the European players in a one-hour session after Europe’s official team practice.

Sunday, 8 March: Test match vs. Yomiuri Giants minor league team

On Sunday, Team Europe will play a friendly match versus the minor league affiliate of the Yomiuri Giants. Europe’s coaching staff will get its first opportunity to evaluate the team and get in some ‘live’ game experience.

Monday, 9 March: Practice Session And Press Conference

Team Europe’s final workout will take place at QVC Stadium.

Representatives from both Samurai Japan and Team Europe will attend a press conference at QVC Stadium. The time of the press conference is scheduled for 13:00 – 13:30local time. 

Tuesday, 10 March: Europe vs Japan Game 1 – 18:00

Europe will make its debut on the international stage as the visiting team, wearing their road grey jersey.

Photo shoots for both Europe and Japan will also be organized at the Tokyo Dome prior to pre-game batting practice.

Wednesday, 11 March: Europe vs Japan Game 2 – 18:00

Europe will play its first-ever game as the home team, sporting the white jersey. A special Opening Ceremony will be held prior to Game 2 at 17:25.

Broadcast Coverage

Both games of the historic Europe vs Japan Series will be broadcast ‘live’ in Europe via Eurosport 2, in addition to national coverage in Japan.

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Andruw Jones Withdraws from Europe vs. Japan Series


Team Europe lost a high profile player today as 10-time MLB Gold Glove winner Andruw Jones withdrew from the team for its upcoming trip to Japan.

Jones would have been a representative of the Netherlands for Team Europe in the Global Baseball Match coming up next week in Japan.

He released the following statement through the World Baseball Softball Confederation:

“It is with tremendous regret that I announce the difficult decision that I will not be able to represent Team Europe in its historic debut versus the Japanese National Baseball Team in front of passionate and familiar Japanese fans. While I had initially planned to be part of Europe’s roster, new duties may call upon me to be away from home for the next several months, so spending as much time as I can at home with my family and children who are in school is the number one priority for me right now. It remains a great honour to have been selected by Coach Janssen to wear the Europe jersey and I wish Team Europe and the Samurai Japan Global Baseball event nothing but success. I will be following the games and hope this great initiative can continue to further globalise our sport.”

Jones spent 17 years in the Major Leagues and the past two in Japan as part of the NPB. The rest of the team will arrive today in Japan and begin workouts for the games tomorrow.

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Europe Logo and Jersey Revealed for Global Baseball Match Against Japan


The All-Euro team for the upcoming Global Baseball Match versus Japan has revealed both its logo and jersey.

A team of Europeans will take on some of the best from Japan in a two game series in March at the Tokyo Dome. The games will be held March 10 and 11.

The jersey, pictured below, will feature the home flag of each player’s home country on the right shoulder. Seven flags will be featured between the players and coaches representing Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands.

Asics is the official apparel sponsor for Team Europe.

Jpeg

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Eurosport 2 to Broadcast Global Baseball Match between Japan and All-Euro Team


The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) announced earlier today that the upcoming Global Baseball Match between the No. 1 world ranked Japan versus an All-Euro team to take place in Tokyo on March 10 and 11 will be televised in Europe by Eurosport 2.

Eurosport 2 broadcasts to over 73 million homes across 51 counties and in 18 different languages. It has obtained the broadcasting rights for the inaugural event including online and mobile devices in all languages.

This is a big step for European baseball in opening up the door for many to view via television and online to some of the best baseball players on the continent and in Japan.

This could help spur more interest in the upcoming Premier 12 tournament that will take place in November featuring the world’s top 12 ranked teams. In the world top 12 there are two European nations that will compete in No. 5 Netherlands and No. 11 Italy. Both countries will have a strong presence on the All-Euro team.

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All-Euro Team Announces Roster for Global Baseball Match Versus Japan


Recently Japan released its roster for the 2015 Global Baseball Match versus the All-Euro team. And now the All-Euro team roster has been announced.

It is comprised of players from five different European countries and led by a manager from a sixth. The Netherlands, 2011 World Champions, have the most players represented with fifteen. Included is 10-time Major League Baseball Gold Glove winner Andruw Jones.

Jones joins fellow NPB player Alessandro Maestri on the roster. Maestri was the first European raised player to make it to the NPB. He currently pitches for the Oriz Buffaloes where he had a solid season last year.

All-Euro Roster:

Pitchers:
Luke Sommer – Germany
Diegomar Markwell – Netherlands
Jose Escalona – Italy
Rob Cordemans – Netherlands
Owen Ozanich – France
Alessandro Maestri – Italy
Tom Stuiffbergen – Netherlands
Shairon Martis – Netherlands
Loek van Mil – Netherlands
Rick van den Hurk – Netherlands
Leslie Nacar – Spain
Jan-Niclas Stoecklin – Germany
Orlando Yntema – Netherlands
Kevin Heijstek – Netherlands

Catchers:
Blake Ochoa – Spain
Richard Daschenko – Netherlands
Gianison Boekhoudt – Netherlands

Infielders:
Curt Smith – Netherlands
Alessandro Vaglio – Italy
Oscar Angulo – Spain
Juan Carlos Infante – Italy
Michael Duursma – Netherlands

Outfielders:
Stefano Desimoni – Italy
Fernando Martinez – Spain
Kaliam Sams – Netherlands
Mario Chiarini – Italy
Yurendell De Caster (Utility) – Netherlands
Andruw Jones (DH) – Netherlands

Coaching Staff:
Steve Janssen Manager – Belgium
Marco Mazzieri Assistant Manager – Italy
Wim Martinus Assistant Coach – Netherlands
Sidney De Jongh Hitting Coach – Netherlands
Martin Brunner Pitching Coach – Austria
Ben Thijssen 3rd Base Coach – Netherlands
Augusto Medina 1st Base Coach – Italy

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Netherlands: A Look Back at the 2014 Honkbal Hoofdklasse


The DOOR Neptunus made it back to the Holland Series for the third straight season and looked to defend its championship from a year ago. DOOR dominated the league during the regular season winning that title with a 34-7 overall record. Finishing in second and facing off with the Neptunus in the Holland Series would be L&D Amsterdam.

Entering the Holland Series Amsterdam led the league in ERA with a 1.89 over league play. Leading the way for Amsterdam on the hill was Kevin Heijstek who led the league in wins (10-3) and was second in ERA (1.33). Following closely behind Heijstek for Amsterdam was Rob Cordemans who went undefeated on the year (8-0) posting a 1.53 ERA.

Even with Amsterdam heading into the Holland Series with the best pitching, the Neptunus were right behind them finishing second in team pitching ERA on the year at 2.17. Leading the league in ERA on the season was Orlando Yntema at 1.13 who went 8-1 on the season. Diegomar Markwell also went 8-1 posting a 1.97 ERA helping DOOR to the league’s best record.

The strong Amsterdam pitching showed up in Game 1 of the Holland Series as the Pirates shut down the Neptunus 5-0 on a strong outing from Heijstek. The bats for the Pirates came out in Game 2 posting 17 runs roughing up ERA leader Yntema winning 17-7 to take a 2-0 lead. DOOR Neptunus finally got a solid outing from Markwell in Game 3 as he pitched a complete game victory winning 3-1. However, Amsterdam took a commanding 3-1 lead in the series with a win in Game 4 and was just a win away from the title. It wasn’t meant to be for Amsterdam as the Neptunus came roaring back with three straight wins to take the series.

The Neptunus finished off the series with a 1-0 victory in Game 7 behind a strong outing from Berry van Driel who tossed 7.2 innings of shutout ball out dueling Cordemans. Regular starting pitching Markwell was unavailable to pitch since he was serving a four game suspension for actions that occured during a brawl earlier in the series. Berry van Driel was awarded the Holland Series MVP honors after posting a 2-0 record and 1.56 ERA over three games.

The title was the 15th for the Neptunus and the 24th for the city of Rotterdam (including nine by Sparta). This will be the last, after 17 years, of DOOR sponsoring the Neptunus Rotterdam. A new sponsor, Curacao, will take over the title role for 2015.

In other news around the Dutch Major League, the awards for 2014 were announced.

Complete Dutch Major League Awards:

  • MVP 2014: Vince Rooi (Vaessen Pioniers)
  • Left-handed pitcher: Diegomar Markwell (DOOR Neptunus)
  • Right-handed pitcher: Kevin Heijstek (L&D Amsterdam)
  • Catcher: Gianison Boekhoudt (DOOR Neptunus)
  • First Base: Kenny Berkenbosch (L&D Amsterdam)
  • Second Base: Benjamin Dille (DOOR Neptunus)
  • Third Base: Vince Rooi (Vaessen Pioniers)
  • Shortstop: Michael Duursma (L&D Amsterdam)
  • Left field: Roeland Henrique Jr. (L&D Amsterdam)
  • Center field: Shaldimar Daantji (DOOR Neptunus)
  • Right field: Bas de Jong (L&D Amsterdam)
  • Designated hitter: Dè Flanegin (Vaessen Pioniers)
  • Best Coach: Evert-Jan ‘t Hoen (DOOR Neptunus)

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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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