Tag Archive | "World Baseball Classic"

Puerto Rico WBC Roster Announced


The Puerto Rico WBC roster for 2017 has been announced, and they will look to improve on their silver medal from 2013.  The small island is hoping to build on its 2017 Caribbean Series title and bring home another championship in March.

The Puerto Rico lineup will be filled with some of the youngest superstars in the game right alongside some veterans.

Returning to the infield for Puerto Rico will be Mike Aviles who hit .329 with a home run and 9 RBI in 2013. He will be right alongside newcomers to the WBC in superstars Carlos Correa and Francisco Lindor. Rounding out the infield are some promising young talents in Javier Baez, who got hot for the Cubs in the playoffs, the Twins Kennys Vargas, and the Mets T.J. Rivera.

While the infield is full of young talent, the outfield features to tried and true veterans that will be big contributors to the club. Led by future Hall of Fame inductee Carlos Beltran the outfield will be a formidable one. However, Beltran struggled last go around in the WBC hitting just .188 as the DH. His fellow outfielder Angel Pagan led the offense for Puerto Rico in 2013 hitting .364 with a team lead 12 hits and 2 stolen bases.

Calling the pitches and shutting down the running game will be perennial all-star Yadier Molina. Molina is returning after a decent 2013 WBC. He will be looked upon to handle the pitching staff more than anything.

That pitching staff will consist of several back after a successful 2013 WBC including Hiram Burgos, Orlando Roman, and Giovanni Soto.

Roman is coming off a stellar winter season where he lead the Criollos de Caguas to the Caribbean Series title. During the Caribbean Series he pitched 10.0 innings allowing just 1 run.  If he can repeat this, Puerto Rico will make another run at the title.

Texas Rangers’ reliever Alex Claudio will be a big lefty arm in the bullpen for Puerto Rico. Seattle revliever Edwin Diaz looks to hold down the 9th for Puerto Rico. Diaz had 18 saves a season ago for the Mariners. The elder statesman in the pen will be J.C. Romero. The 40-year old last pitched in the big leagues in 2012. He has continued pitching in independent leagues and with different AAA teams up until 2015. He did pitch this winter in Puerto Rico.

2017 Puerto Rico WBC Roster:

Pitchers:

Jose Berrios
Hiram Burgos
Alex Claudio
Joseph Colon
Edwin Diaz
Joe Jimenez
Jorge Lopez
Seth Lugo
Miguel Mejia
Emilio Pagan
Orlando Roman
J.C. Romero
Hector Santiago
Giovanni Soto

Catchers:

Yadier Molina
Roberto Perez
Rene Rivera

Infielders:

Mike Aviles
Javier Baez
Carlos Correa
Francisco Lindor
T.J. Rivera
Kennys Vargas

Outfielders:

Carlos Beltran
Reymond Fuentes
Enrique Hernandez
Angel Pagan
Eddie Rosario

Designated Pitcher Pool:

Andrew Barbosa
Jose De La Torre
Jose De Leon
Rayan Gonzalez
Joel Pineiro
Dereck Rodriguez
Andres Santiago
Mario Santiago

Puerto Rico WBC roster

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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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2017 World Baseball Classic Rules Announced


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

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

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

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

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

World Baseball Classic Rules

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Dominican Republic 2017 World Baseball Classic roster


The defending champion Dominican Republic 2017 World Baseball Classic roster has been announced, and they may be on track to make it two in a row.

The Dominican will be led by the likes of Robinson Cano, Adrian Beltre, and Manny Machado in the infield. They have just as much talent everywhere else.

In 2013 starting pitcher Sam Deduno went 2-0 in 3 starts with a 0.69 ERA. He is back for more and should figure into the rotation for the team. Edison Volquez is also back after starting 3 times in 2013. Following up the starters is a bullpen that is full of strong arms. Santiago Casilla and Fernando Rodney are both back after pitching in 2013. Joining those two will be the likes of Jeurys Familia who had 51 saves a year ago with the Mets.

Another big arm in the bullpen will be Alex Colome. The young hard throwing righty savd 37 games for Tampa Bay a season ago. Dellin Betances saved 12 games a year ago for the Yankees pitching in 73 games. Over his 73 innings he struck out 126 or 15.5 per 9.

The defending champions will face off with Canada, Colombia, and the United States in Pool C in Miami, Florida. Their first game will come on Thursday March 9th at 6 PM EST versus Team Canada.

Dominican Republic 2017 World Baseball Classic Roster:

Pitchers:

Fernando Abad
Dellin Betances
Santiago Casilla
Alex Colome
Bartolo Colon
Johnny Cueto
Sam Deduno
Jumbo Diaz
Jeurys Familia
Edgar Garcia
Carlos Martinez
Hector Neris
Ivan Nova
Wily Peralta
Alex Reyes
Hansel Robles
Fernando Rodney
Bryan Rodriguez
Enny Romero
Luis Severino
Cesar Valdez
Edinson Volquez

Catchers:
Welington Castillo
Alberto Rosario

Infielders:
Adrian Beltre
Robinson Cano
Manny Machado
Hanley Ramirez
Jose Reyes
Carlos Santana
Jonathan Villar

Outfielders:
Jose Bautista
Nelson Cruz
Starling Marte
Gregory Polanco
Mel Rojas

 Dominican Republic 2017 World Baseball Classic roster

Other Rosters:
Team USA

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Team USA 2017 World Baseball Classic Roster Announced


Team USA 2017 World Baseball Classic roster was announced today, and it looks good at first glance. The team that manager Jim Leyland will be leading this go around will feature a lot of great young talent from the big leagues.

Catchers

Former NL MVP Buster Posey leads the catching crew this year, but he is paired up with two other strong guys behind the plate. This will be a key position because not only will they be looked to for some offensive punch, but they will be looked upon to lead this talented but young and diverse pitching staff. Joining Posey will be Jonathan Lucroy, who played in 2013, although sparingly. A.J. Ellis will be the eldest statesman behind the plate.

Infielders

This is the group that really excites me when I look at the group as a whole. Led by some established stars like Paul Goldschmidt and Ian Kinsler the infield features some of the great young talent in the game from the USA. Nolan Arenado to me will be one to watch. The 25-year old is one that will show off his power and defense, but he will have big shoes to fill since David Wright really led the offense for Team USA in 2013 from the third base spot.

Another exciting player to watch from the infield will be Alex Bregman. He is a huge young talent, but with the breakdown of the roster it will interesting to see just how much playing time he will see.

Outfielders

This is an exciting group as well. Giancarlo Stanton, Andrew McCutchen, Adam Jones, and Christian Yelich will be the guys patrolling the outfield for Team USA. Stanton and Jones both played in 2013, but neither was a huge impact for Team USA although they had good tournaments in different areas. Yelich might not be a name that many outside of Miami know, but the Marlins outfielder will show his talent come March. He can hit, hit for power, and can play multiple positions including centerfield if necessary.

Pitchers

The pitching staff will include some of the best young arms in the game with a mix of veterans. Chris Archer is one to watch for me. The young hard throwing righty could be a force to reckon with if he shows up sharp. The back end of the bullpen will be a strong point for Team USA as well with the likes of Sam Dyson, Luke Gregerson, Andrew Miller, and David Robertson. Miller has already said he wants to be available for the entire tournament. Each team will have a pool of pitchers that they can choose from for each round which is why you will see so many names.

Team USA 2017 World Baseball Classic Roster:

Pitchers:

Catchers:

Infielders:

Outfielders:

Manager:

USA 2017 World Baseball Classic roster

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Shohei Otani will not pitch for Japan in 2017 World Baseball Classic


When the 2017 World Baseball Classic kicks off in just over a month, the world will not see one of the most dynamic superstars in the game today pitch. Shohei Otani has announced he will not pitch for Samurai Japan during the WBC. However, there is an outside chance he might hit.

Otani is a 22-year old superstar in the Nippon Professional Baseball league in Japan. He pitches and hits for the Nippon Ham Fighters, and last year he showed what he can do on both sides of the ball.

As a pitcher, Otani has gone 39-13 over the past four seasons with the Ham Fighters on the hill. He has tossed 12 complete games, including 6 shutouts. He has posted a career 2.66 ERA while striking out 10.3 per 9. In 2016, Otani went 10-4 with a 1.86 ERA while striking out 174 over 140 innings.

But it does not stop there. He also hit in 104 games last season posting an OPS of 1.004. He hit 22 home runs and batted .322 with a .416 OBP. He is simply a beast at the plate and on the hill. And he is just 22.

It remains to be seen if he will hit during the WBC, but due to a recurring soreness in his right ankle.

Japan opens the WBC with Cuba on Tuesday March 7th. The Samurai are hosing Round 1 in Tokyo where they will face off with Cuba, China, and Australia. They are looking to reclaim the title they lost in 2013 after winning the first two installments of the WBC.

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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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Three More Players Confirmed for Team USA


Three more players have been announced to pitch for Team USA in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. The Colorado Rockies Jake McGee has been confirmed to play alongside teammate Nolan Arenado.

The 30-year old lefty had 15 saves in 19 attempts a year ago for the Rockies. He wound up moving out of the closer’s spot after a few rough outings and stint on the disabled list.

Joining McGee on the Team USA pitching staff will be Chicago White Sox closer David Robertson. Last season the 31-year old hurler saved 37 games in 44 attempts. That was the third straight year he had 30+ saves in a season.

And finally Giancarlo Stanton has been confirmed to play for Team USA. This will be the second time Stanton will suit up for Team USA in the WBC. He was apart of the team in 2013 as well.

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Chinese Taipei Announce Roster for 2017 World Baseball Classic


Chinese Taipei has released its roster for the 2017 World Baseball Classic. Most of the players will come from the Chinese Professional Baseball League or CPBL. There will be a few that come from Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball and only two from the minor leagues in the USA. The Lamigo Monkeys of the CPBL did not make any of their players available for the tournament unlike the other three teams in the league.

Chinese Taipei will play in Pool A in Seoul going up against the host South Korea, Israel, and the Netherlands. It will not be an easy road to Round 2 coming out of Seoul, but Chinese Taipei will have a lot of talent. They open up the WBC on Monday March 6th against Israel.

The guys over at CPBL English have a great post that shows every player’s stats from a year ago. You can find that by clicking here.

Chinese Taipei 2017 World Baseball Classic Roster:

Catchers
Name League Team
Kun-Sheng Lin CPBL Fubon Guardians
Da-Hong Cheng CPBL Chinatrust Brothers

 

Infielders
Name League Team
Chih-Sheng Lin CPBL Chinatrust Brothers
Chiang, Chih-Hsien CPBL Chinatrust Brothers
Chi-Hung Hsu CPBL Chinatrust Brothers
Yi-Chuan Lin CPBL Fubon Guardians
Chih-Hsiang Lin CPBL Uni Lions
Yung-Chi Chen CPBL Uni Lions
Sheng-Wei Wang CPBL Chinatrust Brothers

 

Outfielders
Name League Team
Dai-Kang Yang NPB Yomiuri Giants
Cheng-Wei Chang CPBL Chinatrust Brothers
Che-Hsuan Lin CPBL Fubon Guardians
Chin-Lung Hu CPBL Fubon Guardians
Kuo-Hui Kao CPBL Fubon Guardians
Chih-Hao Chang CPBL Chinatrust Brothers

 

Pitchers
Name League Team
Chen-Hua Lin CPBL Fubon Guardians
Ming-Chin Tsai CPBL Fubon Guardians
Fu-Te Ni CPBL Fubon Guardians
Sheng-Hsiung Huang CPBL Fubon Guardians
Wei-Lun Pan CPBL Uni Lions
Yun-Wen Chen CPBL Uni Lions
Ching-Ming Wang CPBL Uni Lions
Kuan-Yu Chen NPB Chiba Lotte Marines
Chun-Lin Kuo NPB Seibu Lions
Chia-Hao Sung NPB- Rakuten Golden Eagles
Hung-Wen Chen CPBL Chinatrust Brothers
Shao-Ching Chiang A Lake County Captains
Kuo-Hua Lo A Cedar Rapids Kernels

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Japan Announces Most of 2017 World Baseball Classic Roster


Japan has announced most of its roster for the 2017 World Baseball Classic. According to Japan Times reporter Jason Coskrey, Japan has filled 27 of its 28 roster spots as they look to reclaim the title they lost four years ago.

Japan added eight players to the 19 they released in December. So far there is only one MLB player on the roster in the Houston Astros outfielder Norichika Aoki. However, even without the likes of Yu Darvish, Masahiro Tanaka, or Kenta Maeda that many in the USA will know, Samurai Japan will be loaded with talent starting with super-star Shohei Otani of the Nippon Ham Fighters.

Otani, the 22-year old pitcher/slugger is definitely one to watch. Last season he pitched in 21 games, starting 20, and went 10-4 with a 1.86 ERA over 140.0 innings. He struck out 174 and only walked 45 tossing 4 complete games. He did all of this while slugging 22 home runs and hitting .322 over 323 at bats. He is the rare phenom that not only hits, but is also a lights out pitcher on the hill.

Rounding out the rest of the roster are:

Pitchers:

Hiroki Matsui Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles
Tomoyuki Kanno Yomiuri Giants
Akiyoshi Ryo Tokyo Yakult Swallows
Norimoto Nakayama Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles
Naoki Miyanishi Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters
Shohei Otani Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters
Shintaro Fujinami Hanshin Tigers
Hiroshi Masui Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters
Ishikawa Ayumu Chiba Lotte Marines
Toshiya Okada Chunichi Dragons
Kazuhisa Makita Saitama Seibu Lions
Sengaku Chika Fukuoka Softbank Hawks
Hirano Hirano Orix Buffaloes

 Catchers:

Seiji Kobayashi Yomiuri Giants
Ryota Ono Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters
Kimihiro Shima Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles

 Infielders:

Norihiro Matsuda Fukuoka Softbank Hawks
Ryosuke Kikuchi Hiroshima Toyo Carp
Hayato Sakamoto Yomiuri Giants
Sho Nakada Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters
Tetsuto Yamada Tokyo Yakult Swallows

 Outfielders:

Seiichi Uchikawa Fukuoka Softbank Hawks
Norichika Aoki Houston Astros
Ryosuke Hirata Chunichi Dragons
Yoshi Tsuyoshi Yokohama DeNA Baystars
Seiya Suzuki Hiroshima Toyo Carp
Shogo Akiyama Saitama Seibu Lions

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China: Ray Chang to Retire after WBC; CBL Releases 2017 Schedule


Checking in on news out of China, Jon Paul Morosi reported that Ray Chang is calling it a career but not before one last shot at some World Baseball Classic success.

Chang made it to AAA with several different clubs, but was never able to make that final leap to the big leagues. He came close but lost out on the chance after breaking his leg in a AAA game. After 12 years bouncing around the minor leagues, he is calling it a career.

However, he will lead the China National Team in the World Baseball Classic one final time. Chang led them to a victory over Taiwan in 2009 and again over Brazil in 2013. Now he will look to lead the team against the likes of Cuba, Australia, and the no. 1 world ranked Japan.

After leading China in the WBC, Chang will retire and work as a manager of the MLB Development Center in Nanjing, China.

William Chu over at Chinese Baseball reports that the CBL (Chinese Baseball League) has released its schedule for the 2017 season which will run from July to December.

William also gives us a short documentary that was put out where players and coaches talk about their love for the game. It is called Dream Catcher and is just shy of 20 minutes. Definitely worth a watch, and as William says, “Promote and share it!”

You can find it on the link above at Chinese Baseball or here.

You can follow William at his blog or here on Twitter @ChineseBangqiu for a lot of great info on the CBL.

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Team Australia Announces Pre-World Baseball Classic Tour in Korea


Team Australia announced its pre-tournament tour in South Korea in preparation for the 2017 World Baseball Classic.

The team will feature a number of Major League players along with some young talent from the ABL. Australia enters the WBC in Pool B in Tokyo where they will take on the host team, China, and Cuba. This will be the fourth appearance for Australia in the WBC, and they are looking for their first Round 2 appearance.

The team will travel to Seoul on February 24 before two days of workouts. On the 27th Australia will take on an unconfirmed Korean club. On the 28th Australia will take on no. 3 world ranked South Korea in Seoul. Korea defeated Australia in the 2013 WBC 6-0.

On March 1 the team will travel to Japan and take on the Hanshin Tigers and Orix Buffaloes, team teams in the Nippon Professional Baseball Organization, Japan’s major league.

Australia’s first game in the 2017 WBC will be Wednesday March 8 7 PM JST (5 AM EST) against Japan.

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Team Israel Taking Shape for 2017 World Baseball Classic


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

The players that have been confirmed are:

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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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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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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World Baseball Classic Grows Game Globally, Boosts Case for Baseball & Softball in the Olympics


Press Release World Baseball Softball Confederation

The 2013 WBC has demonstrated emphatically that baseball is flourishing beyond its “American” origins, and if placed on the Olympic Programme, baseball, along with softball, would significantly enhance the excitement, popularity, universality and experience that an already strong Olympic Games program produces.

LAUSANNE, Switzerland – Baseball and Softball’s campaign for inclusion in the Olympics received a big boost from last week’s successful staging of the World Baseball Classic (WBC).

“The success and expansion [from 16 to 28 national teams] of the World Baseball Classic highlights the demand for baseball on a global stage and is a major boost for efforts to provide more opportunities for a new generation of young athletes to proudly wear their nations’ jerseys,” World Baseball Softball Confederation co-President Riccardo Fraccari stated.

The WBC, launched in 2006 and only in its third edition, exceeded worldwide broadcast and ticket sales benchmarks, highlighting the potential benefits and attractiveness that adding a bat-and-ball sport to the Olympic Programme could deliver.

Less than half of the teams in the 2013 WBC came from the Americas (39%), while 29% of the 28 qualified teams came from Europe and 21% from Asia. The 2013 WBC has demonstrated emphatically that baseball is flourishing beyond its “American” origins, and if placed on the Olympic Programme, baseball, along with softball, would significantly enhance the excitement, popularity, universality and experience that an already strong Olympic Games program produces.

WBSC co-head Don Porter commented, “We believe baseball and softball can become the next global game and bring the embodiment of sport and Olympic ideals to the lives of millions of young people around the world through baseball, softball and the Olympic Games.”

The 2013 World Baseball Classic surpassed previous WBC records in attendance, licensing, viewership, sponsorship sales and social media activity.

“The impressive figures [of the WBC] clearly indicate that our sport could help further drive the Olympic brand in key and lucrative regions, as well as in digital media, where the baseball discipline has strongholds and continues to thrive and expand,” said Fraccari.

“In 2009, there were professional baseball players from 30 countries; today there are 44 countries represented and we expect this growth trend to continue and accelerate with the inclusion of baseball and softball in the Olympics,” Fraccari stated.

“Baseball and softball leagues around the world have continued to adapt and take the sport to new markets, demonstrating the growing appeal and popularity of baseball and softball, particular among youth in an ever widening range of cultures, countries and continents, “ said Porter.

Baseball and Softball are included in a group of sports that the IOC Executive Board and will have to pass by this key evaluation to go to a final vote before the entire IOC membership in September.

Some Highlights and Figures of the 2013 World Baseball Classic

  • Japan’s opening round game was the most viewed sporting event in Japan for the last 12 months, registering a 22.1 rating and a 43 share.
  • A record-breaking 74% of TV viewers in Puerto Rico tuned in to watch their national team defeat Japan in last Sunday’s semifinal, while the second round game between Japan and Chinese Taipei registered the highest cable ratings in Taipei’s history.
  • The Championship game between Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic was the most-watched sporting event in the Dominican Republic of the last ten years, and the most-watched sporting event in Puerto Rico in more than a year.
  • More than 2,100 media accreditation requests were received for the opening pool play round in Fukuoka alone, while fans from more than 220 countries and territories followed visited the official WBC website during the event.
  • The social media following of the official World Baseball Classic Facebook page generated nearly one million likes, comments and shares during the tournament, with posts from the official Twitter feed re-tweeted nearly 200,000 times, showcasing the sport’s appeal to a young and digitally connected audience.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
About the World Baseball Softball Confederation:

Formed under the authority and merger of the International Baseball Federation (IBAF) and International Softball Federation (ISF), the World Baseball Softball Confederation has been established to provide a unified voice and governance for all disciplines of Softball and Baseball throughout the world.

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World Baseball Classic grows baseball globally with record-setting 2013 tournament


Press Release World Baseball Classic, Inc.

New highs achieved for attendance, television viewership, merchandise sales, sponsorship and social media activity; Championship Game is most-watched sporting event in Dominican Republic in at least the past ten years

The 2013 World Baseball Classic set records in attendance, licensing, viewership and sponsorship sales and social media activity as the tournament continued its mission of growing the sport of baseball around the world. Below are some of the event highlights from the 2013 World Baseball Classic:

Attendance
Overall, the tournament drew a total attendance of 885,212, which surpassed the 2009 World Baseball Classic top total of 801,410 by more than 10%.

• Tournament attendance records were set in Arizona (First Round), Puerto Rico (First Round), Miami (Second Round), and Tokyo (Second Round)

  • The First Round pool in Arizona, which registered 115,183 fans, surpassing the attendance of the First Round pool in Arizona in 2006 by 26%
  • The First Round pool in Puerto Rico registered a total attendance of 95,058, which represents the highest attendance for any of the four World Baseball Classic pools there in the tournament’s history surpassing the previous high recorded in the Second Round of the 2006 event (92,163)
  • The Second Round games in Miami and Tokyo totaled 325,282 fans, a 58% increase over the 206,180 fans that attended Second Round games in 2009

• Several venues registered record numbers for individual games including:

  • The Chinese Taipei vs. Korea match-up on March 5th was played before a crowd of 23,431, the largest attendance ever for a baseball game in Taiwan
  • The United States vs. Mexico game at Chase Field on March 8th attracted 44,256 fans, which was the second most attended World Baseball Classic game ever in North America, trailing only the 2009 Championship Game at Dodger Stadium (54,846)
  • A crowd of 34,366 fans packed Marlins Park for the Dominican Republic vs. United States game on March 14th, the fourth-largest crowd ever at Marlins Park

Viewership
The World Baseball Classic generated massive television viewership around the world, setting records in countries including the Dominican Republic, Japan, Puerto Rico and Taiwan.

• Tuesday’s Championship game was the most-watched sporting event in the Dominican Republic in at least the past ten years, and the most-watched sporting event in Puerto Rico in at least the past year.

  • In the Dominican Republic, the game averaged an 11.2 rating and 39 share on CDN, peaking at a 63 share towards the end of the game (percentage of available viewers tuned in). The previous high for the tournament was for the Semi-Final win over the Kingdom of the Netherlands the night before.
  • In Puerto Rico, the game earned a combined 39.9 rating on Telemundo, MLB Network and ESPN Deportes, with a 64 share. The previous high was for the Semi-Final win over Japan on Sunday.
  • In both cases, these numbers do not include the massive crowds that gathered at ballparks, movie theaters and other large public spaces for viewing parties.

• Japan’s defeat of the Kingdom of the Netherlands on March 10th was the most viewed sporting event in Japan the last 12 months, registering a 22.1 rating and a 43 share, out-rating all 2012 Olympics coverage and World Cup qualifying matches.

  • Japan’s Semi-Final loss to Puerto Rico generated a 51 share in Japan, tops among all World Baseball Classic games.
  • One-third of all televisions on in Japan were tuned to the World Baseball Classic for the three first Round Games in Fukuoka.
  • Taiwan recorded its highest-rated cable program in the country’s history (15.5 rating) for the March 8th extra-inning thriller between Japan and Chinese Taipei.
  • MLB Network’s six most-watched non-Postseason games are from the 2013 World Baseball Classic. Tuesday’s Championship game averaged 843,000 viewers, making it the second most-watched non-Postseason telecast in MLB Network history and its fourth most-watched game overall.
  • Tuesday’s Championship game was the most-watched baseball game ever on ESPN Deportes and the network’s most-watched live sporting event since August.
  • World Baseball Classic games shown live in Canada nationally on Sportsnet produced a 97% increase in viewership from comparable national coverage in 2009.

Sponsorship
• Sixty-six companies in eight countries sponsored the World Baseball Classic globally or regionally – up from 56 companies in 2009 and 26 in 2006. The roster included four global partners – Brand USA (the new tourism marketing organization for the United States), Delta Air Lines, Konami and MetLife Merchandise

• Through the first two rounds of the World Baseball Classic, retail sales are tracking more than 10% ahead of 2009.

• World Baseball Classic merchandise from the Japan vs. Brazil game on March 2nd set a single-day sales record for the Fukuoka Dome

Online
• Fans from more than 220 countries and territories visited WorldBaseballClassic.com

Social Media
• The 2013 World Baseball Classic generated nearly 600 million social media impressions, according to Bluefin Labs and Radian 6.

• More than 75 different terms related to the World Baseball Classic trended worldwide on Twitter throughout the tournament. At many points throughout the Championship Round, every top trend in each participating country were related to the tournament.

• Posts from the official World Baseball Classic Facebook page generated nearly one million likes, comments and shares during the tournament, and posts from the official Twitter feed were re-tweeted nearly 200,000 times.

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2013 MetLife All-World Baseball Classic Team Announced


Press Release World Baseball Classic, Inc.

Fans Help Select Most Outstanding Players of the Tournament for First Time

World Baseball Classic, Inc. today announced the members of the 2013 MetLife All-World Baseball Classic Team. For the first time, baseball fans from around the globe were able to vote for the most outstanding players of the tournament. Fan voting counted for one-third of the total points awarded to each player, with the other two-thirds coming from international broadcast media and international sportswriters.

Dominican Republic second baseman Robinson Cano was named the Most Valuable Player of the tournament. The following players were selected to the 2013 MetLife All-World Baseball Classic Team:

Position Player Team 2013 Tournament Statistics
C Yadier Molina Puerto Rico .259, SB, 2.88 Team ERA
1B Edwin Encarnacion Dominican Republic .250, tied for team-high with 6 RBI, 3 R
2B Robinson Cano Dominican Republic .469, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 6 R, 25 TB
3B David Wright United States .438, HR, 10 RBI
SS Jose Reyes Dominican Republic .314, HR, 3 RBI, 7 R
OF Angel Pagan Puerto Rico .364, 2 SB, .447 OBP
OF Nelson Cruz Dominican Republic .303, 6 RBI
OF Michael Saunders Canada .727, HR, 7 RBI
DH Hirokazu Ibata Japan .556, 4 RBI, 6 R
P Kenta Maeda Japan 15 IP, 1 ER, 0.60 ERA, 18 SO
P Nelson Figueroa Puerto Rico 2 Wins, 1.80 ERA
P Fernando Rodney Dominican Republic 7.1 IP, 0 ER, 7 SV

MetLife is one of four Global Sponsors for the 2013 World Baseball Classic and is the Official Insurance Company of the 2013 World Baseball Classic. MetLife, and its brand ambassador Snoopy, have been incorporated into multiple aspects of the event including aerial coverage from the MetLife blimps integrated into the game broadcasts and appearances by Snoopy at the games.

The 2013 World Baseball Classic, which is the third edition of the tournament, is the premier international baseball tournament featuring the world’s best players representing their countries and territories. MLB Network and ESPN Deportes are the exclusive English and Spanish-language broadcasters in the United States and 39 international broadcasters televised games in 14 languages in more than 200 countries and territories. The World Baseball Classic, which is officially sanctioned by the International Baseball Federation (IBAF), was recognized for the first time in 2013 as the official national team World Championship, with the winner crowned the 2013 World Baseball Classic Champion and the IBAF World Champion.

About the World Baseball Classic
The World Baseball Classic is the premier international baseball tournament, sanctioned by the International Baseball Federation, and features the best players in the world competing for their home countries and territories.  More than 1.5 million fans from all over the world have attended the tournament games, held in March 2006 and 2009. Team Japan is the reigning World Baseball Classic Champion, taking home both the inaugural and 2009 titles.

About World Baseball Classic, Inc.
World Baseball Classic, Inc. (WBCI) is a company created at the direction of Major League Baseball (MLB) and the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) to operate the World Baseball Classic tournament. The tournament, which is sanctioned by the International Baseball Federation (IBAF), is supported by MLB, the MLBPA, Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB), the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO), their respective players associations and other leagues and players from around the world.

About the International Baseball Federation
The International Baseball Federation (IBAF) is the world governing body for baseball, comprising 122 national member federations.  Together with its member federations, the IBAF is dedicated to the promotion, development, and organization of baseball around the world. The IBAF is the sole entity recognized by the International Olympic Committee for overseeing and sanctioning all national team competition. The IBAF headquarters are located in Lausanne, Switzerland.

About MetLife
MetLife, Inc. is a leading global provider of insurance, annuities and employee benefit programs, serving 90 million customers. Through its subsidiaries and affiliates, MetLife holds leading market positions in the United States, Japan, Latin America, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, New York, NY 10166.

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World Baseball Classic semi-finals generate massive television viewership in Japan


Loss to Puerto Rico on Sunday Watched by 51% of Potential Viewers in Japan

The World Baseball Classic continues to generate massive television ratings in the competing countries.  In Japan, Sunday’s loss to Puerto Rico earned a 51 share (percentage of available viewers tuned to the game), the largest share for any of Japan’s World Baseball Classic games this year.

That game was also the most-watched sporting event in the past year in Puerto Rico, with the final moments of the game peaking at an astonishing 74 share.  Today, Puerto Rico takes on the undefeated Dominican Republic team in the World Baseball Classic Championship game, which will be available to 440 million households worldwide, reaching more than 200 countries and territories in 15 different languages. In the U.S., the game will be televised on MLB Network in English and ESPN Deportes in Spanish.  In Puerto Rico, the game will also be broadcast by Telemundo WKAQ, while in the Dominican Republic the game will be televised by CDN.

Press Release World Baseball Classic, Inc.

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Dominican Republic Claims First World Baseball Classic Title


Dominican Republic Claims Second World Title

By Gabriel Fidler (@gabrielfidler)

The Dominican Republic used its patented blend of pitching, athleticism, and timely hitting to shut out Puerto Rico 3-0 in the 2013 World Baseball Classic championship game. The team did so in a record-setting way, winning all eight of their games to become the first undefeated WBC champs. The world title was the first for the Dominicans since the 1948 World Cup.

The game was almost washed out in the early innings, as rain poured down beginning in the second frame and lasting for over an hour. As it was the final contest of the Classic, tournament officials were eager to get in the game, but until the top of the fourth it looked like it would be a rain-shortened game. The weather became more favourable about halfway through the matchup and no delay was necessary.

Sam Deduno, who has only six career big league victories, dominated on the hill for the victors, never allowing Puerto Rico to stage any kind of threat. Deduno gave up a hit to AngelPagan to start the game and he advanced to second on a sacrifice, but Deduno struck out Carlos Beltran swinging and Yadier Molina went down looking.

Giancarlo Alvarado did not look nearly so sharp for Puerto Rico. Jose Reyes greeted the journeyman right-hander with a booming double into the right centre field alley and was bunted to third by Erick Aybar. RobinsonCanóo who came into the contest hitting .517 with a 1.410 OPS, was intentionally walked to put two runners on.

The move turned out to be a mistake by Puerto Rican manager Edwin Rodriguez, who had managed so superlatively throughout the Classic. Edwin Encarnacion, who had not connected for an extra-base hit in seven games, crushed a double to deep right centre and both runners scored.

Alvarado then threw a wild pitch, but got two consecutive flyouts to escape without further damage. With a 2-0 advantage, however, Deduno and the Dominicans coasted for the remaining nine innings.

Deduno hurled five innings and gave up only two hits and three free passes. Using his wicked hook and a 93-mph/150 kmh fastball with incredible movement, he mowed down five batters and set down seven consecutive batters are the Pagán’s leadoff safety. He finished the WBC with a 0.69 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, and 17 strikeouts in 13 innings.

Alvarado was done after one, and Rodríguez inserted Hiram Burgos, who had thrown 8 1/3 scoreless innings in the tourney. That move turned out to be the right one, as Burgos immediately got to work, needing only 10 pitches to register a scoreless second.

Burgos, a standout Milwaukee Brewers’ prospect, would match Deduno’s zeroes until the fifth. After his fourth strikeout to start the frame, Alejandro de Aza dropped a clinical bunt single down the third base line and beat the throw by a step. Reyes hit a soft groundball to Irving Falu at second base as de Aza motored to second.

Rather than risk losing both outs, Falú did not try to tag de Aza and instead opted to throw out Reyes. With two down, Aybar roped a two-bagger into the right field corner to plate the Dominicans’ third run of the game. The mental mistake almost certainly added to Puerto Rico’s deficit.

Dominican manager Tony Pena removed Deduno after five, entrusting the three-run lead to his dominant bullpen. Octavio Dotel threw a 1-2-3 sixth, and the Dominicans threatened again in the latter half of the frame.

With two down, Nelson Cruz ripped his fourth double of the tournament, tying him with Canó for the lead in that category. Carlos Santana worked his ninth free pass, tops among all players, and Burgos’ night was over.

Rodríguez inserted Jose de la Torre, who once more impressed. The Red Sox minor leaguer got the third out on strikes to keep Puerto Rico close. An inning later, and it was Xavier Cedeno who worked out of a jam after Reyes blasted another ball to the gap in right field, legging out a triple this time. Cedeño got Canó for the third out.

Puerto Rico had a runner on base in the final three innings, but could do nothing against the shutdown Dominican ‘pen. Pedro Strop got out of a two on, no out jam in the seventh with two strikeouts and a popout to end the only real chance for Puerto Rico, and Santiago Casilla struck out one in a scoreless eighth.

Fernando Rodney came on to pitch the ninth and upped his save records by one with an easy final frame. He recorded two strikeouts to earn his seventh save of the WBC and eighth of his career. The formermark may never be broken in the current format, as the Dominicans are only of only two teams (Japan, 2009) to have ever won seven games in one tournament.

The Dominican Republic finished the World Baseball Classic with an 8-0 record, the most wins in a tournament and the only undefeated record. It is now 14-4 in the tournament all-time, which ties South Korea for second-most victories and sets the mark for best winning percentage. The nation should shoot up the International Baseball Federation (IBAF) rankings about five spots from their current No. 13 ranking.

Reyes and Aybar led the team in the final game with two hits apiece as the team accrued only eight, though five went for extra bases. Canó was tabbed the World Baseball Classic MVP after a performance that included a .469 batting average, .514 OBP, and .781 slugging percentage. He led the tournament in four categories, including hits (15) and total bases (25).

Deduno improved to 2-0, while Alvarado dropped to 2-1. Deduno and the bullpen held Puerto Rico to only three hits after surrendering four the night before. Puerto Rico was 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position and left eight on base, striking out 10 times.

Puerto Rico should rise from No. 12 to the ninths spot in the IBAF charts thanks to its 5-4 performance, especially since three of those loses came to the victorious Dominican Republic. Its second-place finish is its best in a global tournament since a silver medal in the 1976 World Cup.

Stay tuned for continued coverage of the 2013 Classic and future editions, including the announcement of the All-World Team, the qualifying rounds for 2017, and much more.

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WBC: Dominican Downs the Dutch; Will Face Puerto Rico in Championship


Dominican Republic Advances to WBC Final

By Gabriel Fidler (@gabrielfidler)

The World Baseball Classic championship game will have a distinctly Caribbean flavour this year. The Dominican Republic fought off a gallant Dutch side to earn a 4-1 semifinal round victory and advance to the title match versus Puerto Rico. The undefeated Dominicans received a strong start from Edinson Volquez, who teamed up with three relievers on a four-hitter.

The Netherlands struck first in the win-or-go-home contest. Vólquez exhibited his usual first inning control problems, walking Andrelton Simmons and Jurickson Profar to start the game. They advanced on a ground ball and Simmons scored on a tapper to short by Wladimir Balentien.

Diegomar Markwell, who induced a number of key grounders in his last start, also against a power-hitting lineup in Cuba, started off well for the Orange. The southpaw gave up a hit to Robinson Cano in the inning, extending the Dominican second baseman’s streak to seven games, but was otherwise untouched.

Both starters matched zeroes through the next three frames. Vólquez, in particular, looked strong, retiring 11 batters consecutively beginning in the first frame. The streak ended with two outs in the fourth when Andruw Jones had the Netherlands’ first hit of the game.

Markwell was solid, picking off a batter in the second and getting out of the third after Miguel Tejada forgot to check the scoreboard before popping up a bunt with two down. The veteran Dutch pitcher finally ran into trouble in the fifth, though.

With one out, Markwell gave up back-to-back doubles to Carlos Santana and Moises Sierra, who had made a spectacular leaping catch on a fly ball that landed two seats into the stands in left field to end the first inning. Markwell registered the next out, but needed eight pitches to get it and the hurler was clearly tiring by the time he faced José Reyes.

The Dominican leadoff hitter worked the count full before blooping a single just over Markwell’s head that scored Sierra with the second run in the inning. Markwell stayed in to face Tejada, who stroked another hit over second base and the Dominicans continued to rally.

With Canó, a left-handed hitter, at the plate, Netherlands skipper Hensley Meulens pulled Markwell, who by WBC pitch restrictions could have faced the slugger as his last batter. Meulens inserted right-hander Tom Stuifbergen, who threw a wild pitch to score an elated Reyes.

Tejada moved to second, and with first now open, Stuifbergen gave Canó an intentional pass. That set the stage for Edwin Encarnacion to plate Tejada with yet another one-base hit to centre. With two outs, Canó was hustling on the play and tried to advance to third on the shallow single, but Roger Bernadina gunned him down with a perfect strike to Jonathan Schoop at third.

The damage was done, however, and Dominican Republic manager Tony Pena turned the ball over to his dominant bullpen. Kelvin Herrera pumped in 98-mph/158-kmh fastballs in scoreless sixth and seventh innings, working around a double to Balentien in the former.

Peña’s hitters were unable to put together another rally in the game, and with the score still 4-1, Fernando Rodney entered to pitch the ninth. The Classic record-holder added another save to the books with a 1-2-3, two-strikeout final frame and his teammates flooded the mound to congratulate him.

Vólquez earned his first win of the WBC with five innings of one-run ball. He gave up two hits and a pair of walks, striking out five. Herrera struck out three in two scoreless frames and Strop tossed a scoreless eighth. Rodney nailed down his sixth save, a Classic record for tournament and career.

Markwell fell to 2-1 in the Classic and was charged with all four Dominican runs on six hits and one base on balls. He threw 4 2/3 innings and did not strike out a batter. Stuifbergen, Leon Boyd, and Loek Van Mil finished off the game.

Dominican pitching scattered three free passes and four safeties over its nine innings. The Orange struck out 10 times and was hitless with runners on base. The victors collected nine hits and reached base 12 times while only whiffing once. Reyes and Tejada both had two hits for Peña, while Canó reached base in three plate appearances. The club was 3-for-5 with runners in scoring position.

The Netherlands failed in its bid to defend its world title, achieved in 2011. Still, the fourth-place finish is the best-ever by a European nation in the WBC. The Dominicans also earned revenge after the Dutch beat them twice in the 2009 Classic to prevent the team from advancing out of the first round.

With Japan, the two-time World Baseball Classic champion, also eliminated, this year’s title game will be the first all-Caribbean world title game since 1990, when Cuba defeated Nicaragua. Both the Dominican Republic (1948) and Puerto Rico (1951) last won a world title more than 60 years ago. Those two world championships are the only two times that Caribbean teams have met to crown a champion without Cuba represented in the game.

The Dominican Republic is the first team ever to win its first seven games in a Classic. The only other squad that was undefeated after two rounds, Korea, lost in the 2006 semifinals. Puerto Rico has earned its trip to the final the hard way, staving off elimination in the second round. They are 5-3.

The two Caribbean heavyweights will contest the world championship on Mar. 19 at 8 p.m. EST in AT&T Park in San Francisco. Tune in for all the coverage of the World Baseball Classic’s final game of 2013 and continued analysis after the new champion is crowned.

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Are US Fans Bad? Another Issue Altogether


The second issue at hand after the fallout of Jeff Passan’s article is are US fans bad?

I discuss whether they are boring or not here. A completely separate issues is if they are bad or not. Boring doesn’t necessarily make you a bad fan.

So, are US fans boring? Generally yes. Are US fans bad? Generally no.

Just as we state that we don’t encompass all US fans into the boring column, we have to do the same with the bad column. Generally US fans are not bad. How can you call St. Louis Cardinals fans bad? Believe me I wish I could after Game 6 in 2011. Trust me if I could make the point that Cardinals fans that root for David Freese were bad, I would. But that’s just the anger that is still there from 2011. No matter how bad I want them to be, they aren’t. Believe me I try not to hold grudges, but I am still trying to forgive Lonnie Smith for falling for the fake double play at second base in 1991. One day I’ll get over it, but not today.

Are all fans great? Heck no!

For as long as I can remember, I’ve cheered on the Atlanta Braves. I grew up as a Dale Murphy fan, and he is still my all-time favorite player. I cheered for them when they were the worst team in baseball, and fortunately for me they turned it around and became a dynasty in the 1990s.

So why do I bring up the Braves? It’s their fans. I’ve never lived in Atlanta. I grew up as a fan thanks to TBS like so many others around the US. I wish I had lived in Atlanta during their best years because Atlanta doesn’t have the greatest fans. There were way too many years where there were playoff games that weren’t sold out.

I never understood that. I grew up in Texas. When I got to go to a MLB game it was to see the Texas Rangers, so I always have a place in my heart for them. I saw them struggle for so many years. Most of my best friends back home are die hard Rangers fans who had gone their whole lives with just a short taste of the playoffs. Seeing that while at the same time seeing that my favorite team couldn’t sell out a playoff game didn’t sit well with my friends, or me for that matter.

I’m not here to single out Atlanta, but it reminds me of the US in the WBC. Where were the fans?

In an elimination game against Puerto Rico on US soil the game only brought in 19,762 fans. Now a lot of teams in the Major Leagues would love to have 19,000+ fans each night. But this isn’t some run of the mill, bottom of the standings team. This is Team USA.

Sure they drew over 34,000 against the Dominican Republic, but where were those fans against Puerto Rico?

Now before I get flamed, not showing up doesn’t make you a bad fan but it does contribute to the problem.

The fans that have shown their true colors are those that have come out and blasted the WBC. I can’t count how many Tweets. blog posts, and comments have shown many of the fans hatred of the Classic. That I don’t understand.

Sure I want to see the best of the best play, but why should they if we have a lot of fans blasting the tournament saying how it is meaningless and the players are only hurting themselves by not being in camp?

Why don’t we as fans set the president of what is important by vocalizing it more. If we as a whole, and this isn’t everyone, show the players how much this means to us then they would play. Instead we have national writers and many fans blasting the tournament as a waste of time. If we are telling Justin Verlander it’s a waste of time, we can’t turn around and get angry at him for not playing.

Those are the fans that have missed some of the most exciting baseball to come along in a long time.

Fortunately for baseball, I don’t think they are in the majority. There are so many great baseball fans out there that have followed this tournament from day one and would do so if the US was in it or not. Many of them see the bigger picture for the game and how the growth that the Classic helps on a global scale is worth everything and more.

What happens if Puerto Rico faces off with the Netherlands in the Championship Game? Many people will think it will just show how weak the tournament is. That’s not the case though. It’s just the opposite. It shows how baseball is growing and is becoming a truly global sport.

Of course if you read this blog a lot you know I fully support the growth of the game on a global scale. I feel this only helps the game here in the US, including MLB. So how could this tournament do anything but good for the game?

Fortunately there are people that see the bigger picture, and to those fans I salute you and say thank you. I only wish we had more fans like you.

Why is it that if we slapped the Olympic Rings on this tournament it would be a hit? Maybe I am in the minority in that I can separate my feelings for players from teams I like and dislike when they are playing for their home country. I won’t mix words here but I hate the Mets. Being a Braves fan I want to see them lose every single game they play. But even so, I was pulling for David Wright as much as I was Craig Kimbrel. Why? It’s not the name on the back that matters. It’s that name on the front.

I definitely might be in the minority in that I will watch and root on any sport that the USA represents. Call me a homer, a fool, or any other thing you want but I want the USA to win everything, even if they are playing tiddlywinks. Thankfully, I am not alone.

Those are the fans that make this game great, and thankfully for baseball they come from more countries than just the USA. Baseball, and the WBC for that matter, is going to be okay because of those fans worldwide.

Thank you fans of Italy.

Thank you fans of the Netherlands.

Thank you fans of Mexico, Canada, Dominican, Puerto Rico, Brazil, etc…

That goes for every team that was in the WBC and those in the qualifiers.

I know I’ve gotten off track a bit from the initial point, but it can’t be understated how great many of the fans are out there from the US and everywhere else.

Too many times the negative outshine the positive. I know because it happened to me when I ranted about the WBC after reading the comments on Jeff Passan’s article. There are a lot of closed minded idiots out there. Fortunately for the game and the US, they are in the minority.

Sure there are some things that need to be changed to make the WBC better. Let’s not forget thought that it’s still in its infancy. Despite Bud Selig, sorry not a fan, this tournament will continue to be a success because of the fans.

So are there bad US fans? Yes, but they are in the minority.

It’s easy to get carried away and mix the two thoughts, boring and bad. But one doesn’t necessarily make the other a reality.

So with all that being said, let’s all enjoy some great baseball while we still can.

I love this game!

I’d love to hear your thoughts as well. Just leave a comment below or email us if you wish.

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