Archive for the 'World Baseball Classic' Category

Sayonara

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

The US was ousted from the WBC last night, losing 9-4 to Japan. Roy Oswalt of the Astros gave up six runs and couldn’t get out of the fourth inning, while Daisuke Matsuzaka of the Red Sox  gave up two in 4 2/3.

“Some of our pitchers aren’t as far along as some of the Japanese pitchers,” said US manager Davey Johnson, who played in Japan in the mid-1970s. “When I was in Japan, spring training started January 1. It’s a lot of practice. It does give them a head start when you play them in March, but I thought our guys played well.”

The Japanese lineup featured for big leaguers (Ichiro, Seattle; Kosuke Fukodome, Cubs; Kenji Johjima, Seattle; and Akinori Iwamura, Tampa Bay).

“Can you believe this? Look at the score. I feel so bad about this,” Tom Lasorda, Hall of Fame manager and WBC global ambassador, said from his seat behind home plate.

 

“I’m very, very disappointed. We had high hopes. This is the second time we were supposed to win. We taught these people the game.”

Video of the Week

Sunday, March 22nd, 2009

In anticipation of tonight’s WBC semi between the US and Japan (Oswalt v Matsuzaka), here’s how the US even got to this point…

Forfeit? Davey, say it ain’t so!

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009

The United States will get a re-match against Puerto Rico in an elimination game tonight in Miami. Puerto Rico beat the US 11-1 over the weekend but fell into the loser’s bracket after a loss to Venezuela last night.

Where it’s gotten dicey for the Americans is on the injury front. Chipper Jones, Ryan Braun and Matt Lindstrom are out, as is Dustin Pedroia. However, they have been able to replace Pedroia on the roster as his injury occured before this round began. No such luck on Jones, Bruan or Lindstrom.

US manager Davey Johnson has said he would forfeit rather than risk an injury by playing a player out of position, such as Kevin Youkilis at catcher.

“I would understand if any organization was pretty upset about somebody getting injured here as opposed to being there (at spring training),” Derek Jeter said. “It’s just something you have to deal with.”

Davey JohnsonWhat happened? Bad luck is certainly a part of it. Another part though is that Latin American and Asian players frequently play in various winter leagues. From a conditioning standpoint, they are often ahead of their American counterparts at this time of the year.

It’s an issue for the WBC, which has made major strides in their second version. The publicity from the Dominican Republic’s two losses to the Dutch squad was enormous. Further, you definately have, albeit on a smaller scale, that international soccer atmosphere at some of these games.

However, any forfeit would be a PR disaster, no question. It would only highlight a major problem the Classic faces: timing. There is no better time to have the event, but in Spring Training players are naturally focused on their organizations (who pay them) and are not cranked at 100%.

The other problem, the exibition perception, can be beaten with good crisp baseball over the last games of the tournament, ideally with an American squad leading the way. But this can’t happen if the US, which is down to 11 position players, needs to forfeit and accept elimination. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen.

(Photo: AP)

They Did it Again?

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

It was a 16 seed over a 1 seed when it happened over the weekend. But who would have thought the Netherlands would have had it in ‘em to do it again? The Dutch knocked off the Dominican Republic in the WBC last night 2-1 in 11 innings.

After the Dominicans scored in the top of the eleventh on a misplayed fly ball, the Dutch answered with two in the bottom half for the win. From ESPN.com

["How the hell did we come back in the 11th?" Netherlands reliever Rob Cordemans said. "I don't know how we did it. I don't even remember. I was just running all over the place. I don't even know what I'm saying."

What else was there to say? Instead of trying to explain, they danced and yelled at the top of their lungs. They hugged each other and poured water and soda and anything else they could find on each other. Soon each player was drenched or splattered with shaving cream.

"This is as exciting as winning a World Series," pitching coach Bert Blyleven said.]

“These guys, they did it,” David Ortiz said. “They beat us. I tell you, the whole world is shocked now. Even in Japan, they’re like ‘What the heck?’ in Japanese…Oh, God, thank God I don’t have to go back home for a while,” Ortiz said. “I’m telling you right now, in the Dominican, there had to be a blackout right now.”

Australia, which features three former BlueClaws (Brad Harman, Joel Naughton, Drew Naylor) faces Mexico today in an elimination game. Naughton and Naylor are yet to get into a game, but Harman, who made his Phillies debut last year, is 3-7 with four runs scored in their two games.

The will also play today, against Venezuela. Winner takes the pool.

Global Growth of Baseball

Monday, March 9th, 2009

Received an email last week from Dr. Harvery Schiller, the President of the International Baseball Federation and wanted to share some of the email, which focuses on the growth of baseball on an international baseball at the time of the World Baseball Classic, with you.

“You will see the WBC on television in over 220 countries around the globe over the next few weeksw, and although these games will be played with some of the world’s top athletes, the real impact will eventually be felt at all levels, as the event will contribute over $15 million to develop the sport for men and women, boys and girls worldwide.”

“On the field, we continue to see examples of baseball as a social unifier. Just in the last few weeks, new developments included:

  • The Taiwanese government announcing it will promote baseball by providing more incentives to interested companies and public enterprises to invest in the sport and grow the exposure of baseball in Taiwan for all.
  • Thirteen young people awarded scholarships by the Sports Authority of India (SAI) based on their outstanding performance at the State Baseball Championship held at Amar Sing College.
  • The “Baseball in Ghana” announcement to bring a team to Los Angeles in June for a baseball clinic. There are now over 6,000 children in Ghana now playing baseball, both boys and girls.
  • The Atlanta Braves annoucing plans to open an Academy for Spanish prospects in Tenerife, Spain, to assist the growth of baseball in the region.
  • Cambodia’s National Baseball Team hosting a squad from neighboring Vietnam in a serise from March 10-14.
  • The Netherlands Baseball & Softball Federation being named the most successful sport federation in the country for the first time.

Good stuff. It’s a growing game, and it’s a global game. This is where the benefit kicks in for an international event like the WBC, and why the indifference of American fans doesn’t necessarily mean the event is irrelevant. There’s a huge audience outside the 50 states.

Anatomy of an Upset

Sunday, March 8th, 2009

Leon BoydWe said yesterday than the Netherlands beating the Dominican Republic yesterday in their opening game of the World Baseball Classic was akin to a 15 seed beating a 2 seed in the NCAA basketball tournament. It might be the equivilent of a 16 topping a 1, which has never happened.

Jack Curry of the New York Times was in San Juan for the game yesterday, and has some interesting notes.

“Rob Cordemans uses a 62-mile-an-hour changeup to fool batters and to make $40,000 a year as a pitcher in the Netherlands. In terms of stature and salary, he is the Dutch version of Alex Rodriguez.” Cordemans got eight outs in relief yesterday, navigating a few jams in helping keep the Dominican club off the scoreboard for the final four innings.

Three first-inning runs, one on a wild pitch and two on a throwing error, carried the Dutch to the stunning win.

“So the Netherlands, whose cleanup batter played in Class AA last year and whose No. 3 batter was on the Newark Bears, prevailed. Robert Eenhoorn, a former Yankee who is the team’s general manager, noted how the Netherlands twice defeated Cuba. But Eenhoorn ranked Saturday’s victory as the best ever.

“‘You can’t get more publicity for your team than we got today,’ he said.”

As a quick comparison

  • Dominican Republic Netherlands
    MLB players 23 2
    Career wins 518 95
    2008 salaries $83.4M $0M

FanFest ’09: Live Blog

Saturday, March 7th, 2009

FanFest 09Welcome to FanFest 2009! We’ll keep you updated on the big day throughout here at BlueClaws Blog. It will be a fun and exciting day, as usual, so come on over and say hello (we’re in the press box), or just follow us live here at BlueClaws Blog. Questions and comments appreciated, but mostly just sit back, have fun, and enjoy FanFest 2009.

10:51: The line is beginning to form outside the ticket windows below us here at FirstEnergy Park. Remember, all individual game tickets are $1 off the regular price, except Dollar Night.

11:02: First podcast of the day…We spoke with Jeanne and Michael of Toms River, the first fans in line. Click here to take a listen.

FanFest211:52: Always a sign of spring when the WRAT brings out their enormous Rocky inflatable. It’s about 30 feet tall and today sits on the plaza at FirstEnergy Park.

12:00: The ticket windows are open and we’re officially underway at FanFest.

FanFest112:25: It’s packed. Great turnout today. A couple of great youngsters have tried out the You Make the Call here with us in the press box.

12:26: First pictures uploaded.

2:30: Sorry for the lack of blogging. We’ve got a full house here today. The US trails 1-0 in the WBC game against Canada, 2nd inning.

2:44: Stunner in San Juan as the Nedtherlands, behind the great Sidney Ponson, beat the Dominican Republic 3-2. All three in the first inning, all three unearned. The DR now needs to win two in a row to advance. That’s the equivilent probably of a 15 seed beating a 2 seed in the NCAA basketball tournament.

4:06: Josh Ellis here…the weather has been great, temperatures in the mid-60s have our fans out and about in all areas of the park. Asst. Stadium Operations Brad Ziegler is taking about 20 people around on a private tour of the entire park. They just passed me here in the press box where I am doing “You Make the Call.”

So far we have had a great response to this portion of FanFest and we may feature a few of the best home run and world series call from the day later on BlueClaws Blog.

The food situation…I just spoke with Exec. Chef Sandy Cohen, and he said “I’m scared.”

4:16: Just back from throwing some BP in the cages. US leads Canada 6-4 in the 7th in the WBC.

6:20: Sorry for the lack of updates. Let’s wrap this thing up.

We have posted some photos, and you can see them here.

The US did indeed hold on to beat Canada, by a score of 6-5. Brian McCann of the Braves and Adam Dunn of the Reds hit two-run shots and Kevin Youkilis of the Red Sox hit a solo shot. On the Phillies side, Jimmy Rollins went 1-2 in relief of Derek Jeter and Shane Victorino started and went 2-4.

Dave Schofield from Spring Training

Friday, March 6th, 2009

BlueClaws team photographer Dave Schofield checks in from Spring Training in Clearwater. He sent this over yesterday. All photos by Dave Schofield. Enjoy… 

Bernie WilliamsToday is an exciting day for me as I get to shoot the USA team for the first time, in their last game before heading west to begin the World Baseball Classic. It is interesting how the different teams prepare for these games. It almost seems as though the other teams, those who are not the USA, take great pride in playing for their countries, while USA players almost seem to take these games as a distraction. I will know more after today’s game, and be able to see first hand. Of course, these are exhibition games which are played within exhibition games, no a lot might not be taken from them anyway.

Yesterday Team Canada played the Phillies and though Canada had Justin Morneau and Corey Koskie in the lineup, there pitching was no match for the bats of the Phillies. John Mayberry Jr. hit a lazer home run, I believe his second or third of the spring. It would seem he is bidding for a spot on the World Series Champion Phillies roster.

I have gotten my first inquiry from the blog and this is from John Spoulous, who asks me what he might do to become a Team Photographer for a baseball team. Well John, the first thing I might to is take umbrage from your comment about my “parading” around FirstEnergy Park!! I might prefer, “…steadily walking around performing my duties…” but in all seriousness, there IS no magic formula for becoming a team photographer. In my case, it occurred after 30 years of shooting freelance for minor league baseball publications, baseball card companies and colleges.

Howard hrI began my career in Buffalo as a student, working for the newspaper and yearbook at Canisius College. Where, I might add, many writers have gone on to careers at major news services and papers. Canisius boasts the head of the Middle East bureau of Newsweek, beat writer at the Buffalo News and Sports columnist at USAToday Sports. So, in short there is no substitute for experience. I am not sure of your age, John, but get out and get some experience shooting Little Leagues, high school and other sporting events which interest you. As you do this you will make contacts and be able to move up the ladder. Good luck John, and when you are out at the ballpark, do not hesitate to grab ahold of me and ask me whatever you might want…that is of course unless I am “parading” around. I hate to be disturbed when I am “parading”.

Also yesterday, I shot half of the Yankees minor leaguers headshots. On Sunday I will finish up their headshots, which include all of the minor league players, coaches, managers and trainers. On Tuesday, I shoot the Phillies minor leaguers and all of our prospective new BlueClaw players and coaches.

Be sure to email in and ask whatever you might like of me while I am here in Florida. And I hope you all got your sidewalks and driveways cleared of snow…..

Dave Schofield from Spring Training (Part 2)

Thursday, March 5th, 2009

Spring Training logoBlueClaws team photographer Dave Schofield checks in from Clearwater for the second time. We have some photos from Dave we’ll post soon.

This week marks spring training games for the WBC. I was fortunate enough to be able to shoot the Minnesota Twins and Team Puerto Rico. One of the best parts of the day was getting to see Bernie Williams, former Yankee great, play as the designated hitter for Team Puerto Rico. In his first at bat Bernie lashed a double to left centerfield. Other greats playing for Team PR were Mets 1B Carlos Delgado and CF Carlos Beltran. Pudge Rodriguez was the starting catcher.

While there were many stars playing in the game, only about 3500 people attended the game. Of course, spring training games are for getting into shape and the results of the games are not all that important. This game, however, was a bit different as it looked like Team Puerto Rico wanted to win this one. In
the end, the Twins prevailed since they had better pitching. Tomorrow I have a full day, I am beginning the Yankee minor league headshots and after that, I will shoot Team Canada against the Phillies.

Be sure to email me any questions or comments as I make my way through spring training. You can email me at ducky022@optonline.net or through BlueClaws Blog.

Phillies v Canada

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

The Phillies are better than the Blue Jays. They are also better than the old-Expos (Nationals). I think if you put the two teams together, the Phillies, and several others, would be the better team. There’s just not much there on either roster outside of Roy Halladay and a couple of others. What happens if you put the Phillies up against a team of Canadians?

They played today and the Phillies won 9-2. Jeremy Slayden (BlueClaws 2006) hit a 3-run home run while Jason Donald (2007) went 0-3. Cole Hamles (2003) started and threw two shutout innings. Phillies OF Matt Stairs, playing for Canada, went 1-3 and hit sixth in the lineup.

These games are simply tune-up games for the WBC teams. They do not count in the spring training standings nor do the stats count in these games. So John Mayberry Jr’s three-run home run doesn’t go into the books, though it goes into the minds of Phillies brass. Mayberry was acquired for Greg Golson (2005-06) in November.

By the way, Mets P JJ Putz gave up three runs in the ninth as the United States lost to the Blue Jays 6-5.

World Baseball Classic Notes

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

Couple of things as we build up to the World Baseball Classic opening up its second edition on Thursday morning (4:30 am EST, Japan v China).

 - Great job by the decision makers switching from pool play (three-game round-robin) to a straight double elimination in 2009. It makes the early games far more exciting and important, especially if one of the favorites is down early in their first game.

 - Here is the full schedule.

 - The US takes on Canada on Saturday at 2 pm. You can watch the game on our big board here at FirstEnergy Park as part of our 2009 FanFest.

 - Up to nine former BlueClaws:

  • USA: Shane Victorino (rehab assignment)
  • Australia: Joel Naughton, Drew Naylor, Brad Harman 
  • Italy: Jack Santora
  • Panama: Carlos Ruiz, Avellino Asprilla
  • Venezuela: Victor Moreno, Francisco Butto

 - Thought this was interesting, though not entirely surprising…From Peter Abraham of the Journal News: “It’s popular in Asia, which is probably good enough for the MLB marketing people. A Japanese reporter I know said his paper has nine staffers covering the semifinals. Nine.”

 - Finally, here is Team USA’s starting lineup for their game today against the Yankees:

Dustin Pedroia 2B, Red Sox
Derek Jeter SS, Yankees
Chipper Jones DH, Braves
David Wright 3B, Mets
Adam Dunn RF, Reds
Kevin Youkilis 1B, Red Sox
Ryan Braun LF, Brewers
Brian McCann C, Braves
Curtis Granderson CF, Tigers

70 in 70: Number 37

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

FanFest70 in 70 rolls on and we’re down to #37, March 7th, FanFest. Take a look at the story on the front page, we’ll catch you up on everything you need to know right here on BlueClaws Blog. For those that don’t know, FanFest is the first day that individual game tickets go on sale, and this year, each individual game ticket purchased will be $1 off the regular price. The rest of the day includes the following:

  • Win a spot in an on-field promotion in a 2009 BlueClaws home game…Includes dizzy bat race, crab toss, and more!
  • Win Phillies luxury suite tickets for you and three friends…Applies to Phillies On-Deck Series vs Tampa Bay in early April.
  • You Make the Call: play broadcaster and call a Ryan Howard home run or the last out of the Phillies World Series victory. We’ll email the call back to you.
  • Enjoy the US vs Canada in the World Baseball Classic on our 19 x 23 foot video board and on the televisions all around the ballpark.
  • Take some swings in the BlueClaws batting cages.
  • Face off against your friends and others in a Rock Band competition.

One more important note. The BlueClaws will be collecting non-perishable food items and any used and unwanted cell phones. Donations benefit the Ocean County Hunger Relief and Cell Phones for Soldiers. So please help out if you can.

See you then!

Saturday Spring Training Notes

Saturday, February 28th, 2009

Some early spring baseball notes…

Jason Donald (BlueClaws 2007) is 0-6 in three games, but has reportedly played well at third. He’s back in the lineup today against Tampa Bay. With Pedro Feliz iffy to be ready for the opener, Donald is getting a long look at third and second.

Not a good day yesterday for Andrew Carpenter, who faced six batters and didn’t get an out. Antonio Bastardo (2007) gave up a run in two innings and Sergio Escalona (2007-08) gave up four runs while getting four outs. Recap here. The Phillies are an insignificant 0-3 so far.

In the same game, Matt Maloney (2006), now with the Reds, gave up two runs including a home run to Pablo Ozuna.

Adrian Cardenas (2007) went 2-2 for the A’s yesterday in the Cactus League.

Kyle Kendrick (2004-06) and Drew Naylor (2008) throw today for the Phillies against Tampa Bay. Kendrick is next up in the fifth-starter battle. Carlos Carrasco and JA Happ each started strong with two shutout innings. Chan-Ho Park throws tomorrow.

With Indians OF Grady Sizemore nursing a sore groin, Phillies OF Shane Victorino will replace him in the World Baseball Classic.

World Baseball Classic Final Rosters

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

The active rosters have been announced for the upcoming World Baseball Classic with seven former BlueClaws ready to go.

  • Australia: Drew Naylor (RHP, 2006), Joel Naughton (C, 2007-08), Brad Harman (IF, 2005)
  • Italy: Jack Santora (IF, 2003)
  • Panama: Carlos Ruiz (C, 2001), Avelino Asprilla (IF, 2006)
  • Venezuela: Victor Moreno (RHP, 2002)

Other former ‘Claws who were on provisional rosters but not final rosters include LHP RJ Swindle (Canada, 2006), RHP Scott Mitchinson (Australia, 2006-07), RHP Carlos Carrasco (Venezuela, 2006) and OF Mike Spidale (Italy, 2006).

Carrasco is in the mix for the Phillies fifth-starter’s job and pulled his name out a few days ago.  

Ryan Howard (2002) and Cole Hamels (2003) decided not to compete before the provisional rosters were announced. Here is the US roster. Hamels would have either been the lead or second starter along with Jake Peavy. In Howard’s absence, Kevin Youkilis will play first base for the Americans. I assume Derek Jeter will start at short but with Jimmy Rollins there, there will be some discussion, at least in the media and among fans, if not with the staff.

In addition to those mentioned above, the other Phillies listed are JC Romero (who is suspended for the first 50 games of the regular season) will pitch for Puerto Rico and Matt Stairs will play for Canada.