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World Baseball Classic Blog

Philippines attempts to qualify for World Baseball Classic

For Philippine Amateur Baseball Association and Philippine Baseball National Team, play World Baseball Classic is their dream.

Philippine did not participate in 2009 and 2013; however, due to the rule change at the 3rd World Baseball Classic, they have the opportunity to attend the 2013 World Baseball Classic, if they are the winner of the Qualifier Pool 4. They are preparing to fight with New Zealand, Thailand and Chinese Taipei on November 15 to 18 at the Xinzhuang Stadium in New Taipei City, Taiwan.

They know the San Francisco Giants ace pitcher Tim Lincecum is qualified to represent the Philippines since his mother Rebecca Asis, has a Filipino blood. His great-grandparents Alberta and Genaro Asis were from Cebu and Siquijor provinces. But although San Francisco Giants has approved Tim to play, Lincecum declined the invitation due to personal reason. so does New York Yankees relief pitcher Clay Rapada .

Even they lost two Major League players, PABA secretary general Thomas Navasero still were confident about their chance:

I think we are going to win. We have the strongest team formed in the history of the Philippines. We have players who can throw curveballs and dropballs. We have skilled players we are bringing in.”

National team manager Marty Eizmendi also has same feeling:

We might just surprise everyone in Taipei, We’re the underdogs but with our Fil-Ams, we’re unpredictable.”

“The MLB is very supportive of our campaign to promote baseball and they’re paying to fly over the Fil-Ams. They’re footing the bill for board, lodging, transportation and even uniforms. If we make an impact in Taipei, it will be a tremendous accomplishment for Philippine baseball.”

“The Fil-Ams aren’t being paid a fee to play. They’re all excited to play for the national team. We’ll be fighting in Taipei to make our country proud and give back to everyone who has supported us from Day One.”

This team will be managed by Jim Ramos, a Filipino-American coach. National head coach Wilfredo Hidalgo Jr. local coaches Roel Empacis, international coaches Billy Thomas will also be part of the six-man coaching staff. Pitching Coach Billy Champion is expected to greatly strengthen the team#8217;s chance of getting through the host Taiwan.

The 28-man baseball team is composed of 16 homegrown players like Jon Jon Robles, Charlie Labrador, Darwin dela Calzada, Vladymir Eguia, Romeo Jasmin, Joseph Orillana, Jonash Ponce, Rommel Roja, Ramil Empacis, Ruben Angeles and Ernesto Binarao, who carried over the team that won the gold medal in the 2011 Southeast Asian Games in Indonesia.

The remainder Philippine member will include11 Filipino Americans and 1 Filipino Japanese. Led by MLB southpaw pitcher Geno Espinelli, who was born in Houston to Filipino parents Leonilo Espineli, a UP engineering graduate from Cavite, and Thelma Macalalag of Lumban, Laguna.

The other Fil-Ams squad are Edwin Jimenez, Jonathan Laygo of the Fresno White Sox, Andres Vasquez of Rutgers University, William Ireton of the East L.A. Dodgers, Trent Garrison of the Los Angeles Angels, Kurt Rathjens, Devon Bryce Ramirez of California State-Dominguez, Fil-Japanese pitcher Ryuya Ogawa of the Chunichi Dragons of the Nippon Professional Baseball, and Leighton Michael Pangilinan of the Chicago White Sox minor league, Chad Nacapoy, and Ryan Pineda.

There are total 13 pitchers for the team, include Darwin de la Calzada, Jon Jon Robles, Ernesto Binarao, Charlie Labrador, Eguia Vladimir, Jasmin Romeo Jr. Joseph Orillana, Carlos Alberto Munoz, Ryuya Ogawa, Geno Espinelli, Max Javate, Alec Rosales and Devon Bryce Ramirez, some of them can throw at the middle 90s (mph) and mix their pitches, will try to keep the game close.

Is it enough to bypass the other three teams? Only time will tell.

Yu Darvish to skip 2013 World Baseball Classic

One of the biggest star in Japan and the winning pitcher of 2009 WBC Championship game against Korea, Yu Darvish decided to skip 2013 World Baseball Classic.

In his MLB rookie season, Darvish made a career high 29 regular-season starts for the Texas Rangers, but his 191 inning is not, he did average 217 innings in 2010 and 2011 in Japan. Overall, he got 16-9 with a 3.90 ERA, 1.28 WHIP and 221 strikeouts in 2012 and he was 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA in 13 innings in the 2009 WBC.

After much deliberation, which has included a lot of consultation with my coaches and trainers, I have decided that I will not play in the upcoming World Baseball Classic. This was a very difficult decision for me as it is always a tremendous honor to represent my native country of Japan. I greatly enjoyed being a part of the 2009 Championship ballclub and I will be supporting this year’s team as they look to defend their title.

There are many very talented players in Japan and I am confident this team will uphold Japan’s great tradition in this event.

Given my substantial workload over the last few seasons and the numerous changes I’ve endured in my move to the United States, I have decided with my team of advisors that getting ample rest is the most important thing for me right now as I prepare for the 2013 season. My ultimate goal is to help win a World Series with the Texas Rangers and to share that accomplishment with the great baseball fans in Japan. I look forward to next season and am excited about our chances of winning.

I thank everyone for their understanding with my decision.”

Rangers also released a statement :

Yu has informed the Rangers of his plans regarding the 2013 World Baseball Classic. We support what had to be a very difficult decision for him to make. He made an outstanding transition in his first year in Major League Baseball and we look forward to another strong season from him in 2013.#8221;

It will be a big loss for Japan being without Darvish this spring, but the team should still be one of the favorites to take the WBC.

Korea#8217;s Choo eye on WBC

One of the biggest names of Korea Baseball, Cleveland Indians outfielder Shin-soo Choo has returned to Korea and expressed his desire to play for Korea in the World Baseball Classic.

#8220;I#8217;m really eager to play in the WBC for Korea,#8221; Choo said. #8220;I hope that my team will give me a chance to play.#8221;

However, there are two questions. First, the Indians may not allow Choo to compete in the WBC because it won#8217;t give him a chance to get a military exemption.

In 2006, the South Korean government gave military exemptions to the players if the team finished in the top four at the WBC. Korea reached the semifinals; let the players to earn military exemptions. However, this time government will not give military exemptions for the WBC 2009, even if the team wins the championship.

Choo, 26-year-old is required to serve in the military for two years before he turns 30, need the exemption in order to let his baseball career not interrupt, but if there is no chance to exemption, Indians probably said no.

The other reason is the possibility to injury.

Due to WBC take place from March 5 to 23, before the MAJOR League regular season, and playing in the WBC would cause Choo to start his regular conditioning and preparation early and might hurt him.

Pitcher Chan-ho Park of the Los Angeles Dodgers is a cased. He had said playing at the 2006 WBC hurt his performances during the MLB season. Although he threw 10 scoreless innings as a closer for Korea at the WBC and earned three saves, but he went 7-7 as a starter for the San Diego Padres during the 2006 MLB season with a 4.81 ERA.

Choo finished the 2007 with a .309 batting average, 16 homers, 66 RBIs. 397 on-base percentages and .549 slugging percentages in 94 games.

Hara to manage Japan Team

Finally, Team Japan has named manager.

After long time research, Yomiuri Giants manager Tatsunori Hara formally agree to be the manager of the Japan national team for World Baseball Classic next March.

#8220;I#8217;ll do my best to help Japan form a strong squad to defend the title,#8221; #8220;I will do my level best and become a power in forming a strong team#8221; said Hara, who led the Giants to overcome a 13-game deficit to the Central League pennant for the second straight year and their first Japan Series in six years. #8220;I didn#8217;t expect at all [to be asked for the managerial job]. But leading the Japan squad is an honor for me,#8221; Hara said.

According to Yomiuri Shimbun. Nippon Professional Baseball commissioner Ryozo Kato visited The Yomiuri Shimbun#8217;s head office Tuesday morning and asked Giants owner Takuo Takihana to allow Hara to skipper Japan as it looks for its second straight WBC title. Then Kato went to the Yomiuri Giants training complex in Kawasaki to meet Hara.

Kato, former Japanese ambassador to the United States, said he appreciates that Hara accepted the job. #8220;I really appreciate Mr. Hara#8217;s understanding in accepting this job even while he prepares for the Japan Series,#8221; Kato said. #8220;I told him he will have our full cooperation#8211;along with special adviser Sadaharu Oh#8211;in the process of selecting coaches and players.#8221;

#8220;Now I#8217;m focusing on our preparations for the Japan Series. After doing my best for the Giants, then I#8217;ll give my all for Japan,#8221; Hara said, ahead of Game 1 on Saturday against the Saitama Seibu Lions at Tokyo Dome.

#8220;We#8217;ll have players, fans and coaches all banding together to take on the world,#8221; said Hara at a press conference following the decision. #8220;That#8217;s the power of Japan.#8221;

Japan#8217;s Olympic coach Senichi Hoshino has refused to stay on to lead the defending champions at next year#8217;s World Baseball Classic (WBC). The 61-year-old#8217;s decision not to answer his country#8217;s call leaves Japanese baseball officials with even fewer options ahead of the March tournament.

#8220;Even if I am asked I will turn it down ,#8221; Hoshino told Japanese media. #8220;I have informed (Japan#8217;s baseball) commissioner of my decision.#8221;

Hoshino suffered intense criticism after Japan failed to secure a medal at this year#8217;s Beijing Olympics.

#8220;I#8217;ve already been engulfed in flames once #8212; why should I have to drag someone#8217;s chestnuts out of the fire again?#8221; he said on his personal website. #8220;I don#8217;t want to put my family through that again.#8221;

After Hoshino reject, Katsuya Nomura, manager of the Rakuten Eagles, thinks Seattle outfielder Ichiro Suzuki could be just the man to lead Japan#8217;s defense of the title at the 2009 WBC.

#8220;Maybe we should just let Ichiro be a playing manager,#8221; Nomura was quoted to say on the Nikkansports Web site. But the idea is not come true.

#8220;In the end, We got back to the drawing board after Mr. Hoshino decided to back off and we decided an active manager would be best. and Hara#8217;s name came up,#8221; said Sadaharu Oh, a special adviser to the committee and former manager of the Softbank Hawks.

Kato said Hara was chosen by an NPB advisory committee because of his youth, good health and managerial experience. #8220;Earlier we planned to pick a manager who is not a club team manager, but it eventually wasn#8217;t a practical idea,#8221; Kato said. #8220;And we decided that Mr. Hara fits mostly to the position considering his experience and achievements.#8221;

Apart from Kato and Oh, who led Japan to victory in the inaugural 2006 WBC competition, other members of the WBC organizing committee include Senichi Hoshino, Rakuten Eagles manager Katsuya Nomura; Yakult Swallows manager Shigeru Takada, and baseball commentator Kenjiro Nomura.

Hara is scheduled to start selecting coaches and players after the Japan Series. Training camp for the WBC will begin on Feb. 15.

Ichiro to help Japan again in WBC 2009

Remember the inaugural World Baseball Classic? Ichiro Suzuki is the main parts that Japan won the Championship in 2006, and next March, he will represent Japan to defend their title .

According to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Ichiro told Kyodo News: #8220;I will try to win the WBC in earnest again#8221;.

The good news is due to Major League Baseball is handling the World Baseball Classic differently, starting spring training earlier and having Cactus League games stretch into the first week of April instead of ending March 23 .

Unlike three years ago, Ichiro started the year in Japan and not in Peoria, Ariz. with the Mariners until the last two weeks of March. If Japan were to go to the finals again, Ichiro could once again be limited to just a couple of weeks of spring training.

Of course, now the Japan#8217;s best player would take the field for his team, his participation is sure to shore up the WBC, but there are other controversial issue .

One is due to Major League Baseball, which doesn#8217;t release its players (or at least alter the league#8217;s schedule to allow them to play) for international competitions like the Olympics. With the Baseball season went through October, and pitchers and catchers reporting in early February, there#8217;s a fairly narrow time for the WBC to hold its tournament

The other is even the WBC played during spring training, controversy among MLB players and teams has been the fatigue this adds to players, particularly pitchers, which could let it become preseason competition rather than a true competition.

For the eight-time Major League All-Star batted .364, scored seven runs in eight games and was a vocal leader, Ichiro ranked the Classic as a highlight of all of his career accomplishments .

#8220;Apart from the Olympics, I really wanted this WBC tournament to be the event that decides the true world champions, so that#8217;s why I participated in this event,#8221; he said. #8220;And at the end, I was able to be on the championship team, and this is probably the biggest moment of my baseball career.#8221;

But the Seattle outfielder is not only playing, he is also urging Japanese baseball officials to get on with the job of picking a manager so the country can defend its title at the World Baseball Classic.

#8220;(Japanese officials) say they want to build the strongest team, but at the same time say its difficult to pick an active manager,#8221; Suzuki was quoted as saying in Sunday#8217;s Nikkansports newspaper. #8220;I wonder if they really want to build the best team.#8221;

Right now Japan has had trouble finding a manager for the 2009 WBC, which starts in Tokyo on March 5. Two retired managers appear to be out of the picture.

Senichi Hoshino . who was the manager of the Japan team that failed to win a medal at the Beijing Olympics, has been mentioned as a candidate but has said he doesn#8217;t want the job.

Sadaharu Oh . who guided Japan to the title at the inaugural WBC in 2006, stepped down as manager of the Softbank Hawks at the end of the 2008 season because of poor health.

Other candidates include active managers Katsuya Nomura of the Rakuten Eagles and Yomiuri Giants manager Tatsunori Hara .

Suzuki also said it#8217;s important that Japan restores its baseball pride after such a disappointing result in Beijing. Japan finished fourth at Beijing despite having a team made up entirely of players from Nippon Professional Baseball leagues.

#8220;We have to start out on the right foot if we want to get revenge for Beijing at the WBC,#8221; said Suzuki.

Several Mariners to play in WBC

No matter which position they are, Seattle Mariners has lots of players who want to join the World Baseball Classic next March.

Include Starter Felix Hernandez, who was asked not to participate for Venezuela in 2006, is likely to want to pitch for his country. So does third baseman Adrian Beltre is likely to be on the roster for the Dominican Republic, as he was three years ago. Second baseman Jose Lopez could also play for Team Venezuela.

As for Catcher Kenji Johjima, who elected to work out with the Mariners in 2006, his first spring, rather than play for Japan, is likely to want to play for his country this time around.

The other possibility include Lefty Ryan Rowland-Smith would be a candidate for Team Australia. And outfielder Wladimir Balentien could be included on the roster of The Netherlands because his home of Curacao is part of the Netherlands Antilles in the Caribbean.

Due to Team rosters won#8217;t be settled on in a couple of months, so other players could also be involved, it could be more interested to see player face their teammates during WBC.

Dodger Stadium to host WBC finals

Posted in WBC2009 on 07/31/2008 11:55 pm by wbc

Once the host of 1984 Olympic Baseball Games, Dodger Stadium will be host of semifinal and final of 2009 World Baseball Classic.

With an official announcement. Dodgers owner Frank McCourt confirmed that his home ballpark will host the semifinals on March 21-22, with the championship game set for March 23.

#8220;We are excited and honored to be hosting the championships of the 2009 World Baseball Classic,#8221; McCourt said. #8220;We have embraced the international game for a long time and it is only fitting that we open the gates to Dodger Stadium to the fans from all around the world.#8221; #8220;We think the final games of the 2009 World Baseball Classic will be the biggest international event in the history of baseball.#8221;

Of course, it will help McCourt to earn more money, due to the three-day competition at Dodger Stadium will mean more than $50 million of economic activity.

#8220;Today is no accident. The Dodgers have been involved internationally in spreading the gospel of baseball for over 50 years,#8221; #8220;The fact that baseball has come to Dodger Stadium in so many ways, it#8217;s only natural.#8221;

MLB president and chief operating officer Bob DuPuy said:

#8220;Given what the Dodgers organization has meant internationally and given the city, the diversity and the culture, the languages spoken and the weather, it is a natural fit,#8221;

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#8220;Los Angeles is one of the most international cities in the world and the Dodgers have always been at the forefront of the international movement,#8221; #8220;The diverse makeup of the community was also a consideration in making this award.#8221;

Gene Orza, chief operating officer of Major League Baseball Players Association, said:

#8220;It is inevitable that we would be in Los Angeles for the semifinals and finals. There is no city that has the mix of the things that we need. Weather, fan base and diversity,#8221; #8220;This organization is truly a leader in the whole idea of how global the reach of baseball is. The Dodgers have been at the forefront of the internationalization of the sport.#8221;

#8220;The real test of the games was not how many fans that showed up. It was the degree that players that played in it wanted to play in it again, but also the players that didn#8217;t play in it wanted in,#8221; #8220;Since 2006, I#8217;ve had players want to play in it again or asking to keep them in mind.#8221;

Japan, which defeated Cuba, 10-6, in the 2006 World Baseball Classic final, will defend its crown. The Classic likely will expand its field for the 2013 event, with 24 teams a probable goal.

#8220;After the 2006 tournament, it was only days later that I was receiving letters from other federations around the world that wanted to be in,#8221; said Paul Archey, MLB senior vice president of baseball operations.

DuPuy said twice as many cities submitted bids to be one of the host venues for next year#8217;s Classic, more than 20 venues were considered for the semifinals and finals . and added there may be a consideration of an Asian city hosting the final rounds at a future date.

Attendance figures for the 2006 Classic was more than 740,000 fans from 48 of the 50 states and 15 countries. There were also 486 players that participated with 235 of those from Major League organizations.

Petco Park and Dolphin Stadium to host second round

Posted in WBC2009 on 07/31/2008 11:15 pm by wbc

During a press conference in Los Angeles, it was announced that the Marlins#8217; home #8211; Dolphin Stadium will be one of the hosts for the two pools of Round 2 in the 2009 World Baseball Classic from March 14-19 of next year. PETCO Park in San Diego, Calif. will serve as the other host.

“Dolphin Stadium and PETCO Park will provide strong international venues for Round Two of the tournament. Baseball fans across the globe will have the exciting opportunity to experience these three exceptional settings during the world’s premier international baseball tournament,” said Bob DuPuy, President and COO, Major League Baseball .

#8220;For us to get the second round, we#8217;re getting some really good teams,#8221; said Claude Delorme, senior vice president of stadium development for the Marlins. #8220;It#8217;s going to be great games in our pool, and with the international diversity of South Florida, a lot of people are going to see their countries play, whether it#8217;s the Dominican or Venezuela, Puerto Rico, U.S.A, Canada.

#8220;People are going to come out and watch these games, and the passion for their country will certainly be on display.#8221;

For the Marlins, it was a much-needed step in the right direction in the hopes of opening a new stadium in 2011. especially in the wake of a Ramirez deal gone awry, a lawsuit pending on the stadium plan and another year of league-low attendance.

#8220;I think by baseball selecting us, it#8217;s sending a nice message to everybody about how strongly they feel about Miami and the support we have for baseball,#8221; said Delorme, a day after the Marlins drew 20,000-plus fans three weekday nights in a row when the Mets were in town. #8220;I think it exemplifies MLB#8217;s dedication to Miami, and I think it#8217;s a great step for us.#8221;

With the prominence of Hispanic culture in South Florida, a tournament with numerous Latin American countries being played in Miami was pretty much a no-brainer.

#8220;I think it#8217;s huge,#8221; Delorme said. #8220;We have to sell baseball at the grassroots level, and our fan base has to grow significantly by the time we get into the new facility. And the more people who are exposed to baseball, I think it helps us sell the game to people and helps people become a fan of baseball.#8221;

#8220;I was confident that we had a really good chance just because the efforts and the quality of our proposal, both financially and with the detail we attended to it,#8221; Delorme said. #8220;This is the gateway to the Americas, and I think it was a natural destination for MLB.#8221;

And The World Baseball Classic will return to Petco Park from March 15 through 19, 2009. Petco, the site of the inaugural event#8217;s semifinals and final in 2006, will house second-round games involving the four advancing teams from pools A and B.

#8220;We are thrilled that the World Baseball Classic is returning to San Diego,#8221; said Padres CEO Sandy Alderson .

Advancement rules change

Next time, no tiebreaking rules need to use for World Baseball Classic 2009.

In an attempt to avoid the kind of convoluted tiebreaking procedures the World Baseball Classic rules committee instituted for the inaugural 2006 tournament, the round-robin format will be replaced in #8217;09 by double-elimination to move teams beyond the first two rounds . Also, there will be a crossover of teams from their originating four-squad brackets in the semifinals .

Don Fehr, the executive director of the Players Association, said:

#8220;Implementation of double-elimination and crossover games to the World Baseball Classic next year will make the games even more intense, and the tournament even more exciting for both players and fans,#8221; #8220;It will be an unforgettable experience.#8221;

In #8217;06, each of the fours teams had to play three games in the first two rounds. Those with the top two records in each bracket ascended to the second round and the semifinals . If teams had identical records, a complicated formula of runs scored was used as the first tiebreaker .

Next year, as soon as a team losses its second game in each of the first two rounds, it is eliminated . Once two teams have lost out, the other two move on to the next round. The semifinals remain as a single elimination competition to qualify for the finals.

As far as the crossover goes, in #8217;06 Cuba and the Dominican Republic emerged from one second-round bracket and Japan and Korea from the other. Those teams played each other in the semifinals . with Cuba ousting the Dominican and Japan vanquishing Korea. Japan defeated Cuba in the finals to win the tournament.

That will change in #8217;09, when the final game for each pool will determine seeding for the following round. Thus, in the semifinals, the winners of each pool in the second round will play the opposite pool#8217;s runner-up in the single-elimination games .

Canada welcome World Baseball Classic

The World Baseball Classic is coming to Toronto, and players like the home advantage.

Rogers Centre has been chosen as one of the sites for the first round of next year#8217;s WBC, with Canada, the USA, Venezuela and Italy, whose team will be composed largely of second-generation players of Italian parentage possibly comprising the pool for the event, which will be scheduled for the first 12 days of March.

The Toronto Blue Jays have been working on this for over a year, but there was some question about the city#8217;s status after the Dominican Republic threatened to boycott the event unless Santo Domingo was chosen to be one of the host cities.

The first WBC was a largely artistic and final success. despite skeptics who wondered how Major League teams and players would react to the interruption in their usual spring training regimens.

Among the Canadian Major Leaguers who appeared in the 2006 event were Justin Morneau, Erik Bedard, Matt Stairs and Jeff Francis .

#8220;It#8217;s a good draw for Toronto, because even the weakest team (Italy) might attract a few fans because of the sizable Italian community in the city,#8221; said the source.

During the first WBC, it was estimated that the host teams for events made about $1 million after expenses. That#8217;s in addition to the spin-off benefits to the hotel and restaurant business.

For players, they are excited.

Matt Stairs played for Team Canada at the 1988 Olympics as a 20-year-old. Next year, when he is 41, he plans to represent his country again in the World Baseball Classic. If he does, he will get to perform before a home crowd.

Toronto will serve as one of the host sites for the first round of the WBC, with games played at the Rogers Centre. The United States, Italy and Venezuela will also compete in that pool.

Stairs, the only Canadian on the Toronto Blue Jays roster, said the club has already given him permission to leave spring training next March to play for Team Canada, as he did in the first WBC tournament in 2006.

“Whenever you get 25 Canadians in one locker room, it tends to be quite fun,” Stairs said.

So does Rich Harden of the A#8217;s .

#8220;It#8217;s every kid#8217;s dream growing up to play for your country,#8221; said Harden, a Victoria, B.C. native who hopes to play for Team Canada in 2009. #8220;And I#8217;m very excited to get the opportunity to do that this time around.#8221;

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