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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

WBC Pools and Venues Announced

No article yet, but they’ve announced it in SF and here’s the schedule, you may :


First Round (Pool Play)
Pool A (Fukuoka, Japan): Japan, China, Cuba, Qualifier. March 2-6
Pool B (Taichung, Taiwan): Korea, Netherlands, Australia, Qualifier (almost certainly Taipei). March 2-6
Pool C (San Juan): Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Qualifier. March 7-10
Pool D (Phoenix): USA, Mexico, Italy, Qualifier. March 7-10.

Second Round (Modified Double Elimination):
Pool A (Tokyo): Presumably winners of Pool A and B, March 7-10
Pool B (Miami): Presumably winners of Pool C and D, March 12-16

Semi-Finals and Finals: San Francisco, March 17-19

Gamingboy Posted: September 25, 2012 at 04:58 PM | 24 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: international, wbc, world baseball classic

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. Gamingboy Posted: September 25, 2012 at 05:10 PM (#4245549)
Oops, the "may" meant "you may need to jump to see the whole thing".

Oh, and here's the press release.

Those Asian pools are going to be killers for me, I'm going to need a lot of coffee.

And the Puerto Rico pool is the Pool of Death.
   2. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: September 25, 2012 at 05:13 PM (#4245558)
Were the qualifying pools not designated as to where they'd go? Are Canada and Spain not locked into any pools yet?

Edit: If not, then they better put Canada in Pool B; otherwise that pool is really going to suck.
   3. Rafael Bellylard: Built like a Panda. Posted: September 25, 2012 at 05:19 PM (#4245567)
I hope the Netherlands and Cuba has a miles program with their airlines.
   4. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: September 25, 2012 at 05:25 PM (#4245579)
What the christ is up with Pool C? Group of death, right there. I'd be PISSED if I were one of those countries.

Korea, meanwhile, is set up for an absolute cakewalk.
   5. Gamingboy Posted: September 25, 2012 at 05:29 PM (#4245588)
Korea, meanwhile, is set up for an absolute cakewalk.


The Dutch and Aussies are heavily underestimated, and Taiwan will have home field, as they OBVIOUSLY will be put in there if (and they WILL) win their qualifying group. Korea should advance, but it could be interesting.

Have to think Canada goes in Pool D. Guessing that winner of the Panama City pool goes to San Juan and Spain heads to Japan.
   6. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: September 25, 2012 at 06:51 PM (#4245655)
[5] They seem to be trying to mix the pools up a bit more this year, though. "USA/Canada/Mexico" were grouped together in '06 and "USA/Canada/Italy" were grouped together in '09.

Of course, the one thing messing up the pools, is that each pool has one top 4 and two top 8 teams from '09, as it should. That means that the Netherlands gets placed as a top 8 team, when it's clearly not, and the DR doesn't get placed as a top 8 when it clearly is. Hence the weak pool with the Netherlands and the strong pool with the Dominican Republic.
   7. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: September 25, 2012 at 07:09 PM (#4245666)
As a follow up to that, just going by 2009 performance the rankings are:

1. Japan
2. Korea
3/4. USA/Venezuela
5-8. Puerto Rico, Cuba, Netherlands, Mexico
9-12. China, Australia, Dominican Republic, Italy
13-16. Canada, Spain, qualifiers

My personal, unscientific rankings of strength would be:

1. Japan
2. Korea
3. USA (would be #1, but the first two are in game shape by March)
4. Dominican Republic
5. Cuba
6. Venezuela
7. Puerto Rico
8. Mexico
9. Canada
(Giant gap)
10. Netherlands
11. Spain
12. Taiwan (if they make it; if not, whoever wins that pool will be dead last)
13. Australia
14. Panama (or whoever makes it from that pool)
15. China
16. Italy

I'd have put an Israel team supplemented with MLB players in at 7th. The minor league version that was in the qualifiers was pretty close to Spain. Gammingboy, you seem to be the expert on international play around here. Does that look right?
   8. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: September 25, 2012 at 07:54 PM (#4245689)
Bah, too late to edit my previous post. The edit would have said

Edit: I dropped Puerto Rico from 7 to 9 upon further reflection. Though they have historically had strong teams, in the last four years, they've lost Jorge Posada, Ivan Rodriguez, Bernie Williams, Carlos Delgado, and Javier Vazquez. I feel like Carlos Beltran is the last star of what was once a great baseball producing territory.
   9. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: September 25, 2012 at 08:29 PM (#4245708)
How could Spain be better than Panama? Panama has some baseball tradition while Spain, I assume, has zero. I mean, Panama has produced a first ballot hall of famer. I'm not saying you're wrong, I'm just sort of surprised. Is Spain better than I'm assuming? Taiwan and Australia have also produced multiple major leaguers.

   10. Gamingboy Posted: September 25, 2012 at 08:37 PM (#4245716)
Well, the thing with international baseball is that it can be very, very, weird, especially when you take into account passport players. If the WBC were a 162-game schedule, there would be perhaps 5 or 6 teams that would have a chance of winning it all. But in the WBC, with the pool player this time around in the 1st round, double elimination in the second and one-and-done in the Semis and Finals, I'd say there could be nine to ten teams with a shot. And, as you point out, there's also the thing that some countries, such as those in Asia, take the WBC so much more seriously and will have been training for twice as long as some of the other countries have.

That said, I'd have to say that if I was creating a "power rankings" going into this tournament (keeping in mind that this is about teams that could win the tournament, not necessarily who is the best country), it'd probably be something like this:
1. Japan (Japan should be considered the favorite in the WBC until somebody other than them wins one)
2. USA (Has so much depth that even with the inevitable pull-outs of players- especially pitchers- from the team they will probably be the best on paper)
3. Cuba (would probably be 5 or 6, but the fact that the WBC is happening during the Cuban regular season means the players will literally be in mid-season form)
4. Korea (talent-wise, Korea would be in the 6 or 7 range, but like the Japanese they will be in top form and be among those taking it the most seriously)
5. Dominican Republic (would be higher, but don't have quite the depth that USA has or the conditioning Japan, Cuba and Korea have)
6. Venezuela (similar to DR)
7. Mexico (Similar to DR and VZ, but without as much top talent)
8. Canada (is getting extremely close to Mexico in the talent department)
9. Puerto Rico (Carlos Beltran and some catchers, and then the talent falls off a cliff. Carlos Correa can't come soon enough for them.)
10. Netherlands (probably the worst team with a chance to win it all- remember that Curacaoers, Antilleans and Arubans will be playing for them too)
11. Taipei (you never know what team they'll send out, and, what's more, whether they won't be throwing the game.)
12. Australia (enough MiLB and MLB talent where they will be competitive, but not competitive enough where they will have much of a chance to escape their pool)
13. Panama City Qualifier (Panama, Colombia or Nicaragua: with a scattering of MLB players and some prospects but not much depth at all. If Brazil were to somehow win the PC qualifier pool, they'd probably be 14 or 15.)
14. Spain (Thanks to the fact they will have plenty of passport players, primarily Cuban defectors)
15. Italy (Avoids being last only because they will have Italian-Americans and the scattering of actual Italian prospects)
16. China (only coming because you don't ignore that many possible customers, and because Taipei had sent a B-team in 2009)

If Israel had made it, they'd probably be somewhere between 7 (if all of the Majors' American Jews played) and 11 (if only the bare minimum of MLB Jews had played and it basically was the Minor League team + Youkilis and one or two replacement-level MLB players).
   11. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: September 25, 2012 at 09:03 PM (#4245739)
It's kinda sad about Puerto Rico. And their decline is almost totally because its players are subject to the draft unlike DR and Venezuela.
   12. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: September 25, 2012 at 09:06 PM (#4245740)
Also, I feel like the DR might be off from their peak talent a bit. It's too bad they couldn't get all their stars on the field together in 2006.
   13. Gamingboy Posted: September 25, 2012 at 09:22 PM (#4245755)
Given that MLB is now honestly trying with those academies in PR (like the one Correa came out of), I can sort of see PR moving back upwards in talent again, but they are never going to be the big major baseball factory they once were.

DR is indeed on a bit of a downswing right now, but it's still a big threat.
   14. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: September 25, 2012 at 09:34 PM (#4245762)
How exactly does has the draft caused a decline in Puerto Rican talent?
   15. Posada Posse Posted: September 25, 2012 at 09:40 PM (#4245765)
Edit: I dropped Puerto Rico from 7 to 9 upon further reflection. Though they have historically had strong teams, in the last four years, they've lost Jorge Posada, Ivan Rodriguez, Bernie Williams, Carlos Delgado, and Javier Vazquez. I feel like Carlos Beltran is the last star of what was once a great baseball producing territory.


And our pitching should be horrendous. PR's best current major league starting pitcher is.... Jonathan Sanchez?????? Hell, we would gladly take Joel Pineiro back if he has anything left.
   16. SM Posted: September 25, 2012 at 09:48 PM (#4245769)
How exactly does has the draft caused a decline in Puerto Rican talent?


Because now those players are forced to go to high school rather than get to be owned by a scout. Real shame.
   17. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 25, 2012 at 09:58 PM (#4245779)
If Israel had made it, they'd probably be somewhere between 7 (if all of the Majors' American Jews played) and 11 (if only the bare minimum of MLB Jews had played and it basically was the Minor League team + Youkilis and one or two replacement-level MLB players).

Wouldn't Kinsler and Braun have been playing for the US?
   18. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: September 25, 2012 at 10:04 PM (#4245784)

Because now those players are forced to go to high school rather than get to be owned by a scout. Real shame.


Yes, for individuals, it's much better. I only meant that MLB teams have much less reason to invest in the sport in Puerto Rico than they do in the DR and Venezuela, which has obviously contributed to a weakening of PR's talent production relative to those other places.
   19. Gamingboy Posted: September 25, 2012 at 11:22 PM (#4245832)
Yeah, it's only been recently that MLB has done anything to try and solve that problem, by forming academies that provide the rare opportunity for Puerto Rican prospects to play baseball while in High School- very few High Schools there have baseball programs, since space is so low, amongst other factors.
   20. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: September 25, 2012 at 11:39 PM (#4245851)
Modified double-elimination makes a lot more sense when you're taking two teams from the pool (presumably, since there are semifinals after) than when you're only taking one.
   21. Joe Kehoskie Posted: September 25, 2012 at 11:42 PM (#4245852)
How exactly does has the draft caused a decline in Puerto Rican talent?

The draft has received a lot of blame, but its impact on P.R. baseball has been overblown. Three other things had a much greater impact: (1) Puerto Rico has become very Americanized over the past 25 years, (2) baseball exploded in places like the D.R. and Venezuela, and (3) the U.S. government raised and then eliminated the visa limits that had artificially restrained the number of players coming over from the D.R., Venezuela, and elsewhere around the world.

We had a decent thread on this earlier this year, after a Dan Rosenheck article. I believe he's writing a book on this, although from the draft-hurt-P.R.-baseball angle with which I disagree.
   22. Yardape Posted: September 26, 2012 at 12:34 AM (#4245885)
Netherlands (probably the worst team with a chance to win it all- remember that Curacaoers, Antilleans and Arubans will be playing for them too)


You really think the Netherlands has a chance? Are they a lot improved over '09?

Japan should be considered the favorite in the WBC until somebody other than them wins one


It must suck for South Korea that they've played Japan even over the two tournaments but Japan has both titles.
   23. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: September 26, 2012 at 09:48 AM (#4246004)
It seems pretty clear that most of the decisions were based on simple geography, and to a lesser extent competetiveness.

The 1 seed placement is obvious: Japan & U.S. stay home, Korea and Venezuela stay in the same hemisphere.

The 2 seeds:
Puerto Rico: Hosting
Mexico: Close to home.
Cuba: Easy to send to Japan/Taiwan because it doesn't interfere with MLB spring training.
Netherlands: Goes to J/T because they're European & not a strong contender

The 3 seeds:
Australia: Stays in their hemisphere, matched with Netherlands to help that bracket
China: Closer to home.

Since Japan is hosting and Korea isn't, it makes sense to give Japan the tougher Cuba/China matchup. (Tougher for finishing 1st, not for getting out of the 1st round. That shouldn't be an issue in any case.)

DR: Puerto Rico is closer to home and easier to travel. Plus a US/Mexico/DR set is probably a bigger Group of Death.
Italy: Takes the last spot.

And I agree with Gamingboy that Canada goes to Phoenix, the Panama winner to San Juan, and Spain to Fukuoka. Just hope they schedule the Cuba/Spain game at a semi-reasonable time for Miami and Havana.

I do understand why they do it this way, but as far as I'm concerned they can't move to a random draw soon enough.
   24. dr. scott Posted: September 26, 2012 at 01:08 PM (#4246298)
Does anyone know when tickets for the semis and finals will go on sale? Will Giants season ticket holders (im not one) have any priority?

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