World Baseball Classic Newsbeat
Thursday, March 23, 2017
Team captain Yadier Molina wants United States outfielder Adam Jones to apologize to Puerto Rico’s players for saying they were planning a postgame party in San Juan before the World Baseball Classic championship game was even played.
Molina made his comments to ESPN’s Marly Rivera during Thursday’s parade in San Juan, less than a day after Jones told MLB Network that Puerto Rico’s postgame plans sounded a little premature and inspired the United States’ dominating 8-0 victory.
Players for Team USA said reports of a planned celebration for Puerto Rico’s team gave them motivation for the WBC final, but Puerto Rico said the celebration would have occurred, win or lose.
“Adam Jones ... is talking about things he doesn’t know about,” Molina told ESPN. “He really has to get informed because he shouldn’t have said those comments, let alone in public and mocking the way [preparations] were made.”
Twenty-four hours later, the U.S. was in the final, facing an undefeated and deeply enjoyable Puerto Rico team. The game wasn’t nearly as close as on Tuesday—Team USA won 8-0—but Marcus Stroman’s six-inning no hitter gave Americans reason to pay attention, and it’s safe to assume the ratings were even better. (UPDATE: MLB Network announced that 2.3 million people watched the final, making it the second most viewed telecast in the network’s history.)
Those two near-perfect nights capped a World Baseball Classic that must be considered a rousing success for MLB Network and for Major League Baseball. We don’t yet have full ratings data, but what we do have suggests viewership sky-rocketed from the previous WBC in 2013. That year, the most watched game attracted 883,000 viewers, about 40 percent below what Tuesday’s USA-Japan semifinal drew. And according to Sports Media Watch, Monday’s semifinal between Puerto Rico and the Netherlands was up 34 percent from the comparable semifinal in 2013, between Puerto Rico and Japan.
Ian Kinsler came under fire on social media on Wednesday for some suggestive comments he made before the championship game of the World Baseball Classic.
(The United States, led by Kinsler, would go on to beat Puerto Rico, 8-0.)
“I hope kids watching the WBC can watch the way we play the game and appreciate the way we play the game as opposed to the way Puerto Rico plays or the Dominican plays,” Kinsler told the New York Times. “That’s not taking anything away from them. That just wasn’t the way we were raised. They were raised differently and to show emotion and passion when you play. We do show emotion; we do show passion. But we just do it in a different way.”
After the game, Kinsler clarified that he has nothing against Latino players or the exuberant manner in which they play.
“What I said was that American kids can watch American players play, Puerto Rican kids can watch Puerto Rican players play, Venezuelan kids can watch Venezuelan guys play, and that’s who they emulate. That’s who they watch. That’s who they want to be like,” he told ESPN. “There’s nothing wrong with an American kid watching a Puerto Rican player and wanting to be like them, or a Puerto Rican kid watching an American player and wanting to play that way.
Wednesday, March 22, 2017
As it stands, there are just too many folks who are just half-in. Every four years, a primary WBC storyline is which stars are skipping the event, mostly for the U.S. team. There is perpetual conversation about how MLB needs to better market its stars, but in this case, some of the biggest stars are declining the opportunity to participate.
Some of the teams cope with the WBC passive-aggressively, sending mixed messages to some players that they aren’t necessarily wild about their participation, with club staffers stewing about how their best players are in somebody else’s camps. Some players believe that Major League Baseball needs to step up its commitment to give the participants the necessary support they have grown to expect during the regular season and postseason.
“It’s like they’re running a high school baseball tournament, instead of something special,” one player said.
Wednesday, March 15, 2017
These are pretty sweet.
Australia’s baseball identity is, on balance, pretty decent. But it’s got some issues. The most pressing: from the squad’s colors to the letter ‘A’, the current visual package looks way too much like how a video game who couldn’t secure MLB rights might depict the Oakland A’s. This is fixable. The Australian national identity is tied up with that of the kangaroo. This version of the ’roo is inspired by the one used by the Australian air force. Depicted in classic Aussie green and gold, there’s no way this cap is confused for any other team – or nation.
Tuesday, March 14, 2017
This is a great lesson in why rules need to have clearly defined terms. Are “defensive innings” the number of innings pitched or does any inning in which a team plays defense constitute a defensive inning. The phrase “including partial innings” does not solve the ambiguity.
Sunday, March 12, 2017
St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina blasted Major League Baseball’s security arrangements for the families of players at the World Baseball Classic in Mexico.
“MLB,,, its a shame that you are more interested in making money and not in the security of our family,” Molina said via his Instagram account. “Its a shame that the players have to be worried about the safety of our family when you were supposed to have security for them,, Horrible organization for the this event, no security for the players family,,, its a shame MLB.”...
During the game, players spilled out of the Puerto Rican team’s dugout to observe a commotion in the stands. Chicago Cubs second baseman Javier Baez later described to reporters a “brawl,” in the family section of the Estadio de Beisbol Charros de Jalisco.
“All I heard was [Puerto Rico manager] Edwin [Rodriguez] saying, ‘Go back to the dugout,’” Baez told reporters. “I thought it was my team, and when I saw the brawl was in the family section, I saw my family and everybody’s family trying to separate and try to be safe. Well, I got a little bit desperate, yes, because I hadn’t seen what happened, but everything was under control. My family said that everything was OK.”
Saturday, March 11, 2017
Royals catcher Drew Butera tried to score the winning run for Team Italy in the bottom of the ninth inning against Team Venezuela. Unfortunately, Butera ran into the left knee of Venezuela catcher Salvador Perez, his Royals teammate.
Butera told Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com: “I feel really bad. But I thought the ball was going to be in the gap and I was just trying to score. When I saw that I was going to be out by a lot I just stopped. It was unfortunate that I hit him where I did.”
Royals general manager Dayton Moore said that Perez was being taken to a hospital, and that he didn’t expect to know the severity of the injury until Sunday at the earliest.
“He’ll be examined and they’ll go through the proper tests and imaging,” Moore said.
Friday, March 10, 2017
Jose Quintana was fantastic, but his bullpen blew it, but he should be used to that by now.
Adam Jones’ RBI single in the 10th inning drove in the winning run as the U.S. barely escaped falling victim to one of the biggest upsets in the WBC’s three-edition history.
The U.S. didn’t advance farther than the semifinals – and did that just once – in the previous three editions of the WBC, and it would have been in a precarious position had it lost its tournament opener to a heavy underdog. Colombia is playing in its first WBC, having earned a spot last year by going 3-0 in a qualifying round against Panama and Spain.
Christian Yelich and Brandon Crawford worked one-out walks in the 10th off losing pitcher Guillermo Moscoso, and after an Ian Kinsler groundout, Jones dumped the winning single into left field, much to his club’s relief. Teammates poured out to celebrate the victory with Jones near first base.
Monday, March 06, 2017
Teahen has been posting Instagram videos showing his training regimen. His rigorous program seems to include:
• Drinking wine to better understand the culture (“Little known fact,” he says, “Italy produces wine”).
• Overcoming blisters he got while taking batting practice at Scottsdale’s CrackerJax Family Fun Park batting cages.
• Running little left-turning circles in the snow (“Turning left is the key to scoring runs”).
Sunday, March 05, 2017
In weighing his options last year, [Bryce] Harper bluntly said he did not sense much excitement from other stars.
“I really just think if we have the support of all the players in the big leagues on the American side, then I’ll definitely play,” he told CSN Mid-Atlantic. “I’d love to. Hopefully, we get some guys like Thor in New York and guys like that.”
Thor, of course, is Syndergaard, who is ensconced in Port St. Lucie as the rare Mets starter not coming off surgery. No rational Mets fan would want to see Syndergaard overdo it in March because, as the official marketing slogan goes, “This year, we play #FORGLORY.” Harper, predictably, declined to play, too.
Friday, February 24, 2017
Seems like this is the sort of thing that Primates would be all over.
Small challenge: Try to beat my lineup and starting pitcher — with this caveat. Every player in the lineup and the pitcher must be active and born in a different country. So you have 10 players — 9 in the lineup (including DH) and starting pitcher.
Bonus point: Add a closer from a different country.
Wednesday, February 08, 2017
Wednesday, January 25, 2017
One roster spot is being left open. I wonder if they are leaving room for a MLB player to decide at the last moment. Masahiro Tanaka announced a couple of days ago that he won’t be pitching in the WBC.
Samurai Japan mostly filled out its roster for the 2017 World Baseball Classic on Tuesday, adding eight players, but no major leaguers, to the 19 names released in December…
...Currently, Japan’s lone MLB player will be Houston Astros outfielder Norichika Aoki.
Friday, December 02, 2016
The attempt to fire Omar Vizquel as manager of the Venezuela’s World Baseball Classic team has prompted backlash from some of the country’s biggest stars, including Detroit Tigers designated hitter Victor Martinez.
One by one, the players appeared on a Venezuelan sports radio show Thursday night to defend Vizquel. Many threatened to drop out of the WBC unless Vizquel was reinstated. Vizquel, a future Hall-of-Famer who won 11 Gold Gloves at shortstop, has been first base coach for the Tigers since 2014.
According to Venezuelan media reports, Vizquel’s apparent firing came after he butted heads with the Venezuelan team’s general manager, Carlos Guillen, a former Tigers infielder.
Monday, November 28, 2016
We’re just a few months away from the onset of the fourth World Baseball Classic—the once-every-four-years global tournament that began play in 2006.
Turns out, we could be just a few months away from the end of the World Baseball Classic in multiple senses. That’s because the 2017 tournament could be the final edition of the WBC unless there’s a significant uptick in revenue, according to Cristian Moreno of ESPN:
This is sadly predictable. While the pretense of the WBC is twofold—to spread the game of baseball and hand out bragging rights through a spirited tournament—the bottom line is, well, the bottom line. Major League Baseball might be making insane profits, but it’s not going to spend money just to spend money.
Tuesday, September 27, 2016
Pakistan was mercy-ruled during the first game of the tournament Thursday afternoon after Brazil went up 10-0 in the 7th inning. They were mercy-ruled again Friday night, losing 14-0 to Great Britain after the 7th inning.
It was the outcome expected by all. The night before the game against Brazil, at the downtown Brooklyn Marriott where the teams were lodged, Team Pakistan’s manager Syed Fakhar Ali Shah told me, “Obviously we know what the result is gonna be, but we are not mentioning it to the players. We are not mentioning it because we want to give them a good heart. We want them to fight like tigers.”
Baseball came to Pakistan in 1992, when Syed Khawar Shah—then secretary of the sports board in Punjab, the nation’s most populous province—learned that baseball would be an Olympic sport at the 1992 Summer Games in Barcelona, and decided the sport should be introduced to Pakistan.
Pakistan’s sports culture is largely centered around cricket, another bat-and-ball sport that was implemented during British colonial rule. Shah used his connections to receive used equipment from the United States, and received VHS tapes of major-league games to study.
Then he had to figure out how the game was played.
Monday, September 26, 2016
Team Israel has reached a goal it has been pursuing for the past four years.
The Israelis have made it to the elite 16 of the World Baseball Classic, vanquishing an extra-inning elimination loss that has haunted them since 2012.
With Sunday night’s 9-1 victory over Great Britain ending the Brooklyn qualifier at MCU Park, Israel will move on to play in Pool B at Seoul, beginning March 7 against host South Korea, Chinese Taipei and The Netherlands, completing the field of 16 nations for next year’s fourth Classic.
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