It’s time for the first of hopefully many future WBC updates.
First off, problems over in Asia: As MyWorldOfBaseball notes, both Korea and Japan are having calls for boycotts. The Japanese players want a bigger slice of the WBC pie, and in Korea the players are using threats of a boycott to express their extreme displeasure with the fact that the KBO will be expanding the league only by one team, to 9, which of course would cause lots of scheduling issues. While it’s probably unlikely that either of them will actually do it (due to the fact it’d be a PR disaster in their countries, given the fact that Japan and Korea are probably the two countries with the most WBC fans), it has to be something that is making the WBC organizers worried. The NPB players will apparently make their decision by July 20th.
On a brighter note, however, apparently the Japanese are confident enough that something good will happen that they have begun to consider managers. The leading candidate is former Chunichi skipper Hiromitsu Ochiai, who has also received the endorsement of Sadaharu Oh.
Meanwhile, the Jupiter qualifier (Israel, South Africa, Spain and France) has been moved up to September for logistics reasons. This means that Team Israel won’t have access to any active Jewish-American major leaguers.
Finally, the French team has started a website, primarily to search for possible players to bolster the team.
Until next time…