2023 World Baseball Classic

jon abbey

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Ohtani grounds out, somehow it is only 1-0 through 2. 5 runners stranded, 2 outs on the basepaths.
 

RobertS975

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An interesting though long winded article about the relationship between the WBC and MLB. I was especially interested in the injury issue... it appears that the
MLB teams with large contract players participating get insurance against players getting injured in the WBC. And players deemed uninsurable like Clayton Kershaw basically withdrew from the WBC implying that players who get injured in the WBC will not continue to collect their MLB pay checks. Miguel Cabrera was uninsurable but plays only after the Detroit Tigers signed off on it.

https://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/35804308/world-baseball-classic-2023-mlb-impact-explained

Edited to add that minutes after posting, I watch Yoshida get clocked with a fastball. He appears OK.
 
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jon abbey

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More RISP failure for Japan, 12 runners stranded through 6, still 3-1.
 

Remagellan

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Can't miss matches:
DR v. Puerto Rico (for the atmosphere-Miami, not sure if it will translate to TV)
DR v. Venezuela for the game itself
(1 of those 3 won't make the quarters)
Japan v. Korea for both, and for politics, but not much drama, since both should make quarters

Canada v. US (Frreeman v. Mookie) may be sorta interesting, as well as Mexico v. US
If you watch this game, I recommend playing "Let's Live for Today" in the background.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Pretty incredible watching China's pitcher getting guys out by mixing a mid-80s fastball and mid-60s off-speed stuff. Except for the one home run, of course.
 

Remagellan

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It sucks that there is no easy online way to find all the game coverage. MLB offers the radio calls, which is fine, but it would be nice if there was a way to easily click between the TV coverage of games. I thought MLB.tv used to offer this in the past.
 

Mr. Stinky Esq.

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It sucks that there is no easy online way to find all the game coverage. MLB offers the radio calls, which is fine, but it would be nice if there was a way to easily click between the TV coverage of games. I thought MLB.tv used to offer this in the past.
Yeah I don't have cable so I haven't been able to watch any of it so far. (Still interested in a link to any streams if anyone has one)
 

Remagellan

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You can watch Italy versus Cuba on tubi, which is free.

Italy leads Cuba 2-1 in the bottom of the seventh. When did Cuba get bad at baseball?

(Edit: Just in case you've never encountered it, Tubi is a free, ad-supported TV app, so you should be able to find it online.)

Moncada coming up with two runners on and two outs. Big moment for both teams.
 

InsideTheParker

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You can watch Italy versus Cuba on tubi, which is free.

Italy leads Cuba 2-1 in the bottom of the seventh. When did Cuba get bad at baseball?

(Edit: Just in case you've never encountered it, Tubi is a free, ad-supported TV app, so you should be able to find it online.)

Moncada coming up with two runners on and two outs. Big moment for both teams.
Who is the guy in the booth with the yummy Australian accent?
 

trekfan55

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Panama lost 3-1 to the Netherlands last night.

Xander and Profar had solo homers.

I give Panama little chance to come out of this pool. But was enthused by their big win yesterday.
 

The Gray Eagle

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YouTube TV is cutting off my recordings after 2 hours, which seems to usually be the 8th inning or so. :mad:
You could make an awesome all-name team from these players, with the Kingdom of the Netherlands maybe leading the way: Franklin Van Gurp, Sicnark Loopstok, Chadwick Tromp and their hitting coach Tjerk Smeets are my favorites. Lars Nootbaar from the Japanese team would have to be on any all-name team too.
 

Awesome Fossum

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I wonder why Ireland's never gotten a turn with one of these diasporic teams a la Italy or Israel. Surely a roster can be filled out with Murphys, Kellys, and O'Learys.
 

trekfan55

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I wonder why Ireland's never gotten a turn with one of these diasporic teams a la Italy or Israel. Surely a roster can be filled out with Murphys, Kellys, and O'Learys.
There are extreme liberties taken on these teams, much more than the World Cup does.
 

Tokyo Sox

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Edited to add that minutes after posting, I watch Yoshida get clocked with a fastball. He appears OK.
I don’t think it was a fastball. Low/mid 80’s i think and kind of loopy; iirc it was 135kph ish on the stadium gun.

I just got back from the game. Super cool to see Shohei up close, doing his thing on the mound and at the plate, but as a team they’ll need to be better than they were tonight tomorrow vs Korea. I think I read that since tomorrow is now a must-win for Korea they’re switching up the rotation and are throwing their ace vs Japan. Should be a good game.
 

InstaFace

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There are extreme liberties taken on these teams, much more than the World Cup does.
While true, that doesn't answer his question, does it?

I wonder why Ireland's never gotten a turn with one of these diasporic teams a la Italy or Israel. Surely a roster can be filled out with Murphys, Kellys, and O'Learys.
TLDR: Combination of (1) Ireland's team being ranked too low to even get invited to WBC qualifiers, and (2) Irish nationality law not being as liberal as Italy or Israel with who they will consider as citizens or eligible to be recognized as citizeens.

...hmm, maybe the sporting authority of the foreign country would have to agree to it, and that's a problem in this instance? Ireland has gone out of its way to focus on native Irish sports like Gaelic football and hurling and ignore imported ones like association football. And given the assaults on their cultural heritage for centuries, I have a fair amount of sympathy. Maybe MLB approached them and they saw it as "Ireland being used to burnish a foreign league's global reputation / appeal" and told MLB to pound sand.

*googles* OK, so Ireland does have a national baseball team, since 1996, and they've taken part in European championships and done some US barnstorming tours, but no record of them participating in the WBC. Odd. They have a domestic semipro league with 8 teams, founded in 1997, and there's a 2006 documentary exploring the history of the league and the national team. Because it is composed of domestic players, Ireland's national team is ranked #51 worldwide, 22nd in Europe (out of 86 national teams worldwide), and so maybe they didn't even qualify to go to the WBC qualifiers.

Looking at the history of WBC qualification,

- for 2013, the top 12 teams from 2009 auto-qualified and teams 13-16 competed with another 12 teams invited by the IBAF for a 16-team double-elimination qualification tournament with 4 bids. World rankings of the teams ranged from 5th (Taiwan) to 74th (Israel), but the 2nd-lowest was #30, so Israel got some affirmative action but generally you had to already be a moderately competent national team to get invited to the quallies. Israel, lacking its MLB players due to the games being in September, still competed well but lost an extra-inning affair to Spain in the game-to-go.
- for 2017, same format. Bottom-of-pool teams from 2013 had to defend their spot at the WBC against 12 invited teams in double-elimination qualification tournaments. Qualifier teams were ranked from #6 (Mexico) to #41 (Israel), 2nd-lowest #34 (Philippines). Israel's bracket was held in September, but they fended off Brazil and Great Britain to qualify without their top-line MLB players.
- for 2023, tournament expanded to 20 teams. All 16 participants from 2017 auto-qualified, and the 4 new spots were filled by 2 brackets of teams ranked from #13 (Panama, hosts) on the high end to #46 (New Zealand) and #31 (Pakistan) on the low end. Format was weird, 2 pools of 6 with the top 2 in each pool getting a bye to semis, in each pool the winner of the winner's bracket and the winner of the loser's bracket both qualify.

In all 3 cases Italy avoided having to qualify by finishing not-last in their WBC pools (they finished 3rd, 2nd, and 3rd-ish in their pools in 2017, 2013 and 2009 respectively). Israel only made it in 2017, where they beat Cuba to finish 3rd.

Also, MLB notes that "World Baseball Classic rules state that a player is eligible if he would be granted citizenship or a passport under the laws of the country", which is true for Israel and diaspora jews, and any Italian-Americans who could prove heritage no matter how far back, but I believe for Ireland it's tougher - you have to be born to a citizen, or if born to an Irish citizen who was living abroad at the time, have your birth registered with them. Which seems unlikely for most Irish-Americans, many of whom have been here for over a century.

So i'm guessing that for Ireland, the problem is that they haven't been good enough without their MLB players to earn their way up into getting invited to qualifiers where they might be able to use some MLB / MiLB players to make noise. Last summer, Ireland played the Euro qualifiers, faced (among others) France, who was at a WBC-qualifiers level, barely, and got pasted 15-2 in 7 innings. And France themselves got smoked in qualifiers, 14-4 to Great Britain and 7-1 to Czechia. They're a long way out, I'd say.
 

InstaFace

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...so while I wrote up that note about the Ireland and qualifiers, I kept on wondering: how was the nearly-all-domestic Czech team good enough to qualify? In the qualifiers last september, they dropped a game to Spain 21-7 (7 innings), with Marek Minarik starting and getting shelled... and then 4 days later faced Spain again in a rematch to qualify, started firefighter Martin Schneider who threw 6.1IP of 1-run ball, and then Minarik came in to pitch the last 2.2 scoreless for a 3-1 win.

The Czech roster has 2 guys who play in Germany, 1 guy in the NCAA, and otherwise is an all-star team from the Czech domestic league, which is mostly-amateur, plays only on weekends and features teams named things like the "Trebic Nuclears". But I guess the league must be underrated! Two of them played MiLB once upon a time: Minarik, and their Catcher, Cervanka, who made it to AAA. For the final tournament, they picked up a former MLB middle infielder whose mother is Czech, but were without him for qualifiers. Here's who they faced there, and what those rosters looked like:

Czechia 7, Spain 21: Spain fields 4 A-level MiLB players, and one Dominican-born, NYC-raised former major leaguer, but the roster is mostly Spain-domestic (11), Italy's Serie A (4) plus the Mexican League (5).
Czechia 7, France 1: 23 players on France's qualifiers roster play domestically (9 of whom were born in Venezuela, go figure), plus one each from the Mexican, Italian and German leagues.
Czechia 8, Germany 4: Germany's roster had more US-based players: 1 in NCAA, 4 in independent ball, 2 in low A, 4 in high A, one current MLB pitcher for the Royals (who at the time of qualifiers was a free agent), plus a former major league reliever, outfielder and catcher (the latter now playing in Mexico). 12 were from Germany's domestic semipro league.
Czechia 3, Spain 1: Spain started Nicaraguan-born Ronald Medrano for 4 IP, who gave up all 3, and then relieved him with Dominican-born Yeudy Garcia for 5 IP. No sight of the offense that put up 21 runs on Czechia's staff.

Here's an NYT article about the Czechs from this week. The story involves Trot Nixon at one point. They sound like an awesome crew to hang with:

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/03/06/sports/baseball/czech-republic-world-baseball-classic.html

They open their pool against China tonight at 10pm ET, so like now. They play Japan on Saturday night. Schneider, the firefighter, will probably take the mound and face Ohtani and co at the Tokyo Dome. What a time to be alive.
 
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Remagellan

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...so while I wrote up that note about the Ireland and qualifiers, I kept on wondering: how was the nearly-all-domestic Czech team good enough to qualify? In the qualifiers last september, they dropped a game to Spain 21-7 (7 innings), with Marek Minarik starting and getting shelled... and then 4 days later faced Spain again in a rematch to qualify, started firefighter Martin Schneider who threw 6.1IP of 1-run ball, and then Minarik came in to pitch the last 2.2 scoreless for a 3-1 win.

Here's an NYT article about the Czechs from this week. The story involves Trot Nixon at one point. They sound like a fucking awesome crew:

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/03/06/sports/baseball/czech-republic-world-baseball-classic.html

They open their pool against China tonight at 10pm ET, so like now. They play Japan on Saturday night. Schneider, the firefighter, will probably take the mound and face Ohtani and co at the Tokyo Dome. What a time to be alive.
I was as surprised to see a Czech team in this tourney as I would be to see a Cuban team in the Olympic hockey tournament.
 

Tokyo Sox

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They open their pool against China tonight at 10pm ET, so like now. They play Japan on Saturday night. Schneider, the firefighter, will probably take the mound and face Ohtani and co at the Tokyo Dome. What a time to be alive.
Yeah there's a bit of Team Czech color upthread, including their "Road to Tokyo" movie on youtube that is worth your time. If anyone hasn't watched it yet, it's a great intro to the team:
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Y6DIpkAdP4


They're up 2-0 on China now, in their first ever WBC game. Good times.

I'll be there tomorrow to watch them square off against Japan, and while I fully expect Roki Sasaki to have about 10 K's in 4 perfect IP, I'll still enjoy watching a bit of history for the Czechs.
 

InstaFace

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Martin Schneider is such a euro-redneck. That guy would really feel at home in major league baseball.

This is the first WBC game that I've watched so far, and the lack of graphics about the strike zone and pitch location is really jarring, it's like watching a 1970s World Series throwback broadcast.

And the fact that the Czechs have a traveling posse of fans at least several thousand strong, who've come to Japan to watch their country play baseball, is... extraordinary doesn't feel like quite the right word.
 

InstaFace

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Nice bunt for a base hit there by Escala.

Also the pitch count rules for the WBC are kinda whack.

50+ pitches: 4 days rest
30+ pitches: 1 day rest
pitch 2 consecutive days: 1 day rest

Like, that's substantially stricter than the little league rules, which protect immature and still-developing bodies:

66+ pitches: 4 days rest
51-65 pitches: 3 days rest
36-50 pitches: 2 days rest
21-35 pitches: 1 day rest
1-20 pitches: 0 days rest
 

simplicio

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Little league kids aren't typically playing little league while on leave from their multi-million dollar MLB jobs.
 

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Japan answers a 3 run top of the third by Korea with a 4 run bottom of the third, keyed by a 2-run go-ahead single by Masataka Yoshida. Fun game so far.
 

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Yikes. Rough game for Murakami. Didn't see the ABs so not sure if overanxious or not.
 

trekfan55

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Alas, after springing up hopes, Panama loses for a second time, being destroyed by Cuba 13-4.