Archive for the ‘ Dailies ’ Category

A decade later…Baseball continues its growth around the World


P8100043.JPGIts hard to believe that 10 years have passed since Y2K and a crazy era of baseball is ending yet another year.  Reflecting on this past year ..the 2nd 09 World Baseball Classic where we spent so much time with our friends in PR and Mexico.  The 09 World Baseball Cup in europe… both being successes.  Meeting President George Bush (above photo) in Beijing was pretty cool. He had a tough decade to work with. The 9-11 terrorist attack that changed the way we live today was on his watch.   Unfortunately there was bad news to go with the good as the end of baseball in Olympics came to pass, even though our leaders made a gallent but failed attempt to reinstate the sport.   There is talk of launching another campaign for the 2020 games but that is a stretch. Considering the poor economic conditions of the world , I guess the sport overall had a pretty good year.  Looking back at the decade was pretty cool. Highlights would have to inlcude the 2004 Athens Olympics, 2006 World Baseball Classic, the many Olympic qualifiers in Cuba, Spain and Taiwan and USA winning Silver in 2008, Gold in 2000 as well as Gold in the past to World Cup Championships.

usa team at memorial.JPGOur teams and ballparks that we all take care of held up well considering the industry and economics.  I guess logged about 250,000 miles this year and probably gone from home half the year. I was happy to celebrate my 25th anniversary this year.   Having said that Im glad to be home for the holidays as many of our military do not have that option .  God bless everyone and have a Happy New year.

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Building an Ice Rink on a baseball field



Ice park 5.jpgIts not something every groundskeeper wants to hear that there field will become an ice rink in the winter months. It has become a standard of operation in Lancastor PA. at Clipper Magazine Baseball Stadium where every winter for the past few years the right field area is removed and slightly graded and the ice floor is installed. This floor is used for numerous activities throughout the winter months and then taken down around mid to late february.  Probably takes about 10 days for installation,  but in these tough economic times…additional revenue in the off season is pretty important to a lot of clubs. As we speak the ice floor is being installed at fenway park for a bruins hockey match.   Our guys have a bit of work to do in the spring but thats the sports venue world we live in.
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Australian baseball on the move with the ABL


 

latrobe field in melbourne.JPGSpending a little time in the “land of down under” this week before heading to the winter meetings in Indianapolis.  We have been checking in on the developments of the Australian Baseball League ( ABL) sites and fields.   

A ball game was being played at a small ballpark on the outskirts of Melbourne in Latrobe.  It was pretty cool seeing about 3000
packed house in latrrobe.JPGpeople sitting around a ballpark in arm chairs watching a minor level league baseball game.  There is no permanent seating at the ballpark so everyone brings there own seats.  MLB has injected a few typical minor league game gimmicks such as the dizzy bat spin, Frisbees in the stadium, inflatables,  etc… They played the “charge” song and not one person said a word.  (Guess that’s an American thing.)  The 5th inning drag was in the 7th an since the “take me out to the ball game) song was not there they played AC/ DC instead.  Having traveled to Australia a few times and I have fully realized that even though they speak english like Americans…they have a very different culture towards sports and life, in a good way!   The game attendance was good  indicator that  the league is progressing well in its infancy. 


homebush sign.JPGIt’s been quite the whirlwind tour thus far as we had a chance to see the Show grounds at Homebush where the main baseball venue was located during the 2000 Sydney Olympics.  The “show grounds” are currently used for a cattle show during March and April and outside of that… they play a little Ausie rules footy on the surface.  Not much left at the venue that tells anyone it was an Olympic venue except a VERY small plaque inside the gates.   The legacy of the Sydney Olympic Baseball venues moved to Blacktown which is about 30 minutes outside of town. We stopped by there briefly and I hoped to catch Matty Carnes but we missed him.  That venue is also being used for the ABL.  It was looking pretty tired during this trip but that’s expected when you have a ton of use on the field.  The cooch grass was  also coming out of winter. At least there are some remnants of the 2000 Olympic team. 

So for the record the last 4 main baseball stadiums used in the Olympics have either been torn down or turned into a venue for other uses instead of baseball.  Kind of a sad statement but unfortunately true.  The main baseball stadiums at Atlanta Fulton County, Sydney, Athens,  Beijing…GONE!
 

In Melbourne today to see a ABL venues then up to Brisbane to check out another ABL site.  Weather has been pretty nice and as usual the people great.  Some of the soil profiles we have seen of the cooch grass have been really nice.  There are a lot of cricket pitches in Australia there for they understand the need for high level maintenance for pitchers and batters.   Maintaining the wicket of a cricket field is similar to how we maintain pitching mounds. The balance between moisture levels is critical to ensuring proper ball bounce. 

The profile of the soil and turf in this photo show the difference in soils you may see on a cricket pitch


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Minor League Baseball hosts 1st Sports Turf Clinic at the DAP


group shot.JPGA couple days ago we helped out with Minor League Baseball’s first field maintenance clinic in Durham, NC at Durham Athletic Park. ( The old renovated Bull Durham Field)  With 80+ people attending it was a major success. Weather threatened to change the event the evening before and actually it was lightly raining at dawn but within a couple hours the sun came through and the day was perfect. 

groups of 3 on field.JPGDr. Grady Miller was our keynote touching on winterization and educational assistance for the turf managers.  John Cook VP of Business Operations was on hand from MiLB.   Other speakers included Tracey Schenweis from Salem Red Sox, Scott Strickland from the Durham Bulls, Pat Coakley and Jeff Ferguson.  We had about 15 minor league groundskeepers and 15 college turf managers on hand with rest being sponsors, parks & rec members and private school turf managers.  We had a few sponsers that really helped make the event successful.  Burnett, Turface, Carolina Green, John Deere and revels Tractor and turf along with Sand Hill Key sod farm.  from the side 2.JPG

Each session was broken down into turf management, infield maintenance and pitchers mound maintenance. We also had John Deere provide a program on equipment maintenance which was very well received.  It was good day seeing friends and peers.  Hats off to Josh Marden and Jill Russinko who manage the DAP!  Great Job!!

New World Baseball Rankings


For those of you who keep up with baseballs pecking order outside the USA, IBAF issued a press release below with the new rankings an USA moved to number 2.   It was pretty cool seeing Germany in the top twenty as well.

 

USA MOVES TO NO. 2 IN IBAF WORLD RANKINGS

IBAF AA/16U Worlds, Baseball World Cup titles push U.S. up two spots from No. 4

 

( LAUSANNE, Switzerland) – The United States of America moved from No. 4 to No. 2 in the International Baseball Federation’s (IBAF) latest installment of the Men’s World Rankings which were released Monday.

 

Behind first place finishes at the IBAF “AA”/16U World Youth Championships and the IBAF Baseball World Cup, the U.S. jumped ahead of Korea and Japan and put it within striking distance of Cuba, which has held the No. 1 position since the rankings debuted earlier this year.

 

With these rankings, the IBAF also introduced several tournaments from the last four years that were not originally taken into consideration for the World Rankings. These events include continental pre-qualifying tournaments and invitational events like the “Good Luck Beijing” Baseball Tournament in 2007.  The inclusion of the new events has introduced 22 national baseball teams to the IBAF World Rankings, and all of the new tournaments meet the criteria of events which the IBAF considers for rankings points.

 

Overall, tournaments and championships that have been added, replaced or removed for the 19 October IBAF World Rankings include:

 

Added: 2007 “Good Luck Beijing” Baseball Tournament, 2007 and 2009 Asian Baseball Cups (for 2007 and 2009 Asian Championships, respectively), 2006 and 2008 European Continental Qualifiers (for 2007 and 2010 European Championships)
Replaced: 2005 IBAF Baseball World Cup with the 2009 IBAF Baseball World Cup, 2005 IBAF “AA”/16U World Youth Championships with the 2009 IBAF “AA”/16U World Youth Championships
Removed: None

Next to be replaced: 2005 Southeast Asia Games (2009 Southeast Asia Games set for later this year, replacement will be reflected in year-end rankings)

 

Other notable changes in the rankings include Italy moving from No. 15 to No. 12 and Germany moving into the top-20, going from No. 23 to No. 20.  Belgium witnessed the largest jump in the rankings, going from unranked to No. 34 while both Cameroon and Samoa saw the biggest decline, falling from a tie at No. 51 to again even at No. 72.

 

The complete IBAF Men’s World Rankings are listed below:

 

The first number is Current Rank, 2nd is Previous Rank, Member Federation, Total Rankings Points

1, 1, Cuba, 1159.68

2, 4, United States, 1051.32

3, 3, Japan, 912.07

4, 2, Korea, 850.76

5, 5, Chinese Taipei, 561.63

6, 6, Netherlands, 405.33

7, 8, Canada, 360.19

8, 7, Mexico, 353.75

9, 9, Venezuela, 298.86

10, 10, Puerto Rico, 231.39

11, 11, Australia, 211.24

12, 15, Italy, 166.00

13, 13, Dominican Republic, 135.68

14, 14, Nicaragua, 117.49

15, 16, China, 102.00

16, 12, Panama, 92.32

17, 18, Spain, 67.38

18, 17, Thailand, 63.38

19, 19, Philippines, 62.33

20, 23, Germany, 48.38

21, 25, Great Britain, 45.76

22, 24, Czech Republic, 44.91

23, 21, South Africa, 40.05

24, 29, Netherlands Antilles, 34.93

25, 40, Croatia, 34.19

26, 27, Indonesia, 28.50

27, 32, Russia, 23.45

28, 36, France, 21.63

29, 26, Sweden, 19.07

30, 37, Hong Kong, 17.92

31, 49, Pakistan, 14.75

32, 28, Palau, 12.50

33, 22, Colombia, 12.00

34, NR, Belgium, 10.96

35, 20, Brazil, 10.50

36, 30, Nigeria, 10.00

36, 30, New Caledonia, 10.00

36, NR, Greece, 10.00

39, 33, Myanmar, 9.50

40, NR, Ireland, 8.49

41, 48, Austria, 8.14

42, 33, Ghana, 7.50

42, 33, American Samoa, 7.50

42, NR, Sri Lanka, 7.50

45, 49, Lithuania, 7.00

46, 44, Ukraine, 6.69

47, 38, Virgin Islands, 5.00

48, NR, Belarus, 4.78

49, NR, Slovakia, 4.75

50, NR, Slovenia, 4.35

51, NR, Poland, 4.28

52, 39, Aruba, 4.25

53, NR, Switzerland, 4.12

54, 41, Zimbabwe, 3.75

54, 41, Fiji, 3.75

56, NR, Romania, 3.38

57, 43, Guatemala, 3.25

58, 45, Malaysia, 2.25

59, NR, Israel, 2.09

60, 45, Lesotho, 2.00

61, NR, Finland, 1.93

62, 47, Bahamas, 1.75

63, NR, Bulgaria, 1.72

64, NR, Georgia, 1.42

65, 51, Cambodia, 1.38

66, NR, Portugal, 1.36

67, NR, Hungary, 1.17

68, NR, San Marino, 0.83

69, NR, Serbia, 0.62

70, NR, Norway, 0.54

71, NR, Malta, 0.44

72, NR, Turkey, 0.25

72, NR, Latvia, 0.25

72, 51, Cameroon, 0.25

72, 51, Samoa, 0.25

 

USA WINS GOLD IN WORLD CUP!


confetti.JPGWow..this will be short. USa beat Cuba 10-5 in a typical battle between 2 powerhouse teams.  Impressive win for USA and a great tournament.  Our crew did a wonderful job across the board.  Bottom line no one was injured due to field conditions and everyone was thrilled with the venues and field improvements we all made. 

Thanks to all the field crews for making this such a successful event for baseball around the world!

We made a lot of new friends on this one and quite a few memories.  more to follow as the crew leaders send in there photos and stories.  DSCF4414.JPG

GOLD MEDAL PREVIEW: USA VS. CUBA, SUNDAY AT 15:00, NETTUNO, ITALY


 


team usa.JPGIBAF notes below provide info for final game which will be on the MLB Network at 2pm EST.

 

The United States of America and Cuba will meet in an International Baseball Federation (IBAF) Baseball World Cup final for the second time in a row, Sunday, at 15:00 (9:00 am EDT)  in Nettuno, Italy.  The U.S. enters the game at 7-0 (13-1 overall), and Cuba, 5-2 (12-2 overall) in third round play.  The USA’s only loss was their first game, 13-9 in 11 innings to Venezuela on 10 September. Cuba has lost to Puerto Rico 5-2 on 18 September and to the USA 5-3 on Thursday.

 

The game will be seen on the MLB Network in the United States, Eurosport2 across Europe, ICRT in Cuba, RAI Sport in Italy and on tape delay on ESPN STAR Asia, making it the most widely-broadcast final since World Cup play began in 1938.

 

The final game will be a rematch of the 2007 IBAF Baseball World Cup, held in Chinese Taipei.  The United States won that match-up, 6-3, ending Cuba’s run of nine-straight World Cup titles. Although the USA has seen the most recent success in the event, Cuba has historically dominated World Cup play.  The current No. 1 in the world, Cuba has won a staggering 25 titles out of the 29 World Cups in which it has competed.  Of the 25 wins, three of them have come in World Cups held in Italy (1978, 1988, 1998), and in the four tournaments it has not placed first, it has never finished outside of the top-3.

 

Team USA – current world No. 4 – will make its 12th appearance in a World Cup gold medal game,The USA is looking to take back-to-back titles for only the second time ever, the last time being in 1973-’74. Sunday.  The U.S. has won the World Cup three times in 1973, 1974 and 2007.  Overall, this will be the seventh time Cuba and the USA have played for World Cup gold, with Cuba holding a 6-1 lead. The last time two nations met in consecutive World Cup Finals was in 1994 and 1998, with Cuba defeating Korea both times to win the gold.

 

They met for the gold medal twice before in Italy, in both 1978 and 1988.  Sunday’s final will take place in Nettuno, which is referred to throughout Italy as the country’s foremost baseball town.  Stadio “Steno Borghese” will play host to the two world baseball powers, providing a dramatic backdrop for the IBAF’s crown jewel event.

 

Both Cuba and the United States have seen balanced offensive and pitching performances throughout the World Cup, but it is hard to ignore the prolific power numbers put up thus far by Cuba’s Alfredo Despaigne and the USA’s Justin Smoak.

 

Despaigne homered on Friday to break the Cuban and World Cup record for home runs in one event, with 10. Not to be outdone, Smoak, a Texas Rangers (MLB) prospect, already holds the U.S. Record in this World Cup with nine home runs.  His 21 RBIs also lead the club.

 

Cuba continues to dominate in the pitching categories as well, leading all nations with a 1.70 ERA. It has three pitchers now at 3-0, Norge Vera, Miguel and Yulieski Gonzalez, while reliever Pedro Lazo has three saves and has yet to allow a run.

 

On the U.S. side, Terry Tiffee (.353 4 HR 19 RBI) sits two RBIs behind Smoak for the team lead, while Jon Weber leads the team in hitting (.435 3 HR 12 RBI).  The U.S. pitching staff, which has been key in the squad’s current 13-game winning streak, boasts a 1.93 ERA and is led by 3-0 Lucas Harrell (no runs allowed in 10 innings in relief) and a five-man starting rotation which has allowed a total of 12 earned runs in 83 innings.

Remembering: Team USA Visits Sicily-Rome American Cemetery and Memorial


usa team at memorial.JPGIn 2007  I had the honor of meeting  Retired Colonel Joe Bevilacqua Superintendent of the American cemetery in Nettuno Italy.  In addition to his position at the cemetery  he  and has also helped us with the field preperations over the past few weeks with equipment and resources .  During our conversations he wondered if the USA baseball team may have some time to come over to the cemetery to see the site. One thing lead to another and it worked out that Team USA could be there a few minutes before BP of the Netherlands game.

sciliy mem headstones.JPGThe Cemetary  is as humbling  as Arlington Cemetary with over 8000 Americans laying rest from the Anzio beach invasion of the allied forces during WWII.  The 77 acre site is American property. The players were obviously moved by Colonel Joe’s presentation of the invasion and the cemetary facts. Joe has a crew of over 16 guys that maintain the grounds which were breath taking.

memorial.JPGNot only was there a memorial but also a chapel where over 3000 soldiers  considered missing in action have their names etched into the Roman traventine marble.  Inscribed in  bold letters in the chapel. ” IN PROUD REMEMBERANCE OF THE ACHIEVEMENTS OF HER SONS AND IN HUMBLE TRIBUTE TO THEIR SACRIFICES THIS MEMORIAL HAS BEEN ERECTED BY THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA”   On several unknown cemetary markers the inscription reads..HERE RESTS IN HONORED GLORY A COMRADE IN ARMS KNOWN BUT TO GOD”

A couple of the players were talking and I over heard one say, ” had the guys laying here not given the ultimate sacrfice  we may not have been here today playing this game”.

Im glad it worked out they could see the cemetery as it really puts things in perspective as to why we are playing these games.  Many Many thanks to our armed forces for keeping us safe.  God Bless All of our military and those that have fallen for our freedom.  Gone but not forgotten.

Anyway   …. CUBA – USA tommorow for the GOLD MEDAL   Check out the poster .

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U.S. CLINCHES A SPOT IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME, AWAITS THE WINNER FROM POOL 1


Below are IBAF updates for today.  Check out USA CUBA on the MLB Network at 2pm live from nettuno. Photo below is in Grosetto where kevin is taking care of the field.

 

 


Grosseto Tuesday and Wednesday 016.jpgNetherlands – Canada:

 

The Netherlands and Canada both enter their third round matchup sitting in second place in their respective groups.  For Netherlands, the game provides a chance to move one step closer to the championship match, while the Canadians look to improve upon their best ever finish, which was 5th in 1988.

 

The Netherlands, who are hitting a tournament leading .325 as a team, are led offensively by three players who are batting over .400;  their double play combo of Sharlon Shoop (.464) and Hainley Statia (.417) and catcher Sidney de Jong (.435).  Others who have been impressive include former major leaguer Randall Simon, who went 3-5 with 3 RBI’s in the victory against Chinese Taipei, and first baseman Sharnol Adriana, who also added 3 RBI’s in the win.  

 

The Canadians are led by MLB Futures Game MVP Rene Tosini, who is hitting .388 with three home runs, 15 RBI’s and two stolen bases.  Teammates Adam Stern and Jimmy Van Ostrand are also hitting over .300.  Amazingly, the Canadian pitching staff has two members who have yet to give up an earned run in extended work; Matt Kniginyzky (18.0 innings pitched) and Nick Bucci (14.1 innings pitched).

 

Cuba – United States:

 

In a rematch of the 2007 Baseball World Cup, Thursday night promises to be an exciting rematch between the United States and Cuba, and a potential preview for the Championship game on Sunday.  Cuba will look to avenge its loss to the USA in the 2007 World Cup Championship game, when the US beat them to take home the World Cup crown.  Heading into the match, both teams are 2-0 in the Third Round so far.   With the United States 5-0 record against teams in this round thus far this tournament, they are currently in first place in pool 2 and have already clinched a spot in the finals of the Baseball World Cup.  Cuba has defeated Australia 2-1 and Chinese Taipei 8-0 in the Third Round thus far, while the USA has defeated Venezuela 6-3 and Puerto Rico 3-0.  

 

Cuba is 4-1 in the tournament against the final 8 teams, putting them atop pool 1.  Therefore, Thursday night’s game has huge implications for the Cubans, who can put themselves in an ideal position to face the USA again in the finals with a win tomorrow night.  Both teams have been very impressive so far this tournament, with both teams with an overall record of 11-1.    

 

One of the most intriguing stories coming into this match-up is  Justin Smoak of the USA (.341 AVG,  9 HR, 19 RBI) and Alfredo Despaigne of Cuba (.442 AVG, 9 HR, 15 RBI), are tied for the record of most HR’s in a World Cup tournament at 9 apiece.  Both have gathered lots of attention throughout the tournament. 

 

Venezuela – Australia:

 

Day three of Round Three of the 2009 Baseball World Cup will see a slew of interesting games. Although Venezuela enters the game 0-5, they are stiff competition for Australia (2-3). Australia defeated the Netherlands 5-2 after losing tough games to the USA 4-3 and Cuba 2-1. In their game against the Netherlands, Liam Hendriks led the way by hurling six innings of scoreless baseball, while Luke Hughes provided the offense, hitting two home runs and knocking in four runs.  Australia is led by Dushan Luzic who has a 0.00 ERA in 18 innings but remains at 1-1 because of 3 unearned runs. On the offensive side, Luke Hughes is hitting .313 with 4 home runs and 12 RBI’s.

 

Venezuela (0-5) lost to Canada on Wednesday night 9-2. Orlando Perdomo took the loss for Venezuela when he was hit up for four runs in the second inning, and only lasted 1 2/3 innings.  Rene Reyes provided the Venezuelan offense by hitting a two-run seventh inning home run, and now has 4 home runs and 18 RBI’s in the tournament.  Also leading the way for Venezuela is Lino Connel, hitting .370 over 12 games, and Luis Torres who has a 0.00 ERA over 10 innings. 

 

 


Grosseto Tuesday and Wednesday 052.jpgPuerto Rico – Chinese Taipei:

 

The third round of the 2009 Baseball World Cup has been a difficult road for Puerto Rico and Chinese Taipei.  Both teams come into their Thursday match up with an 0-2 record, and face a hard road in order to advance further in this tournament. 

 

Puerto Rico, who entered the third round with an 8-2 record, has dropped two straight to Canada and the United States respectively, and have yet to score a run, losing both matches by the score of 3-0.

 

Chinese Taipei has been outscored by a combined run total of 19-2 in their two third round match-ups.  Prior to the last two games, they had won 5 of their last 7. 

 

Puerto Rico’s offensive attack is lead by power hitting Miguel Abreu and Luis Matos, who are both hitting over .300 for the tournament.  Chinese Taipei is headlined by Han Lin, who boasts an impressive .409 batting average through 12 games.  

 

WEDNESDAY GAME RECAPS:

 

USA 3 Puerto Rico 0:  Behind a dominant pitching performance from Todd Redmond, the U.S. (5-0) defeated Puerto Rico (2-3) and guaranteed itself a place in the World Cup gold medal final.  Redmond tossed 8 1/3 shutout innings, struck out four and walked only one for the win.  Jason Childers recorded the final two outs for the save.  Team USA’s leading hitter, Jon Weber, continued his torrid pace, going 2-for-4 with a home run, and leadoff man Buck Coats hit a home run as well, on a 3-for-3 night at the plate.  The victory keeps the U.S. perfect at 5-0 in Pool G, with Canada alone in second, two games back at 3-2.  With only two pool games remaining and with the U.S. owning any tie-breaker against Canada (head to head in Round 2), the defending World Cup champions have punched their ticket to Sunday’s final in Nettuno.  The loss was Puerto Rico’s second 3-0 defeat in as many Round 3 games.  Pool F’s No. 2 seed coming in has yet to score a run to back up its solid pitching.  Sta  rter Efrain Nieves went 4 1/3 innings, allowing only three hits and two earned runs in the loss, and Irving Falu led Puerto Rico’s hitters, going 2-for-4.

 

Canada 9 Venezuela 2:  Canada (3-2) continued its perfect run through Round 3 on Wednesday night, defeating Venezuela (0-5), 9-2.  The win moves Canada to 3-2 in the round and alone in second place in Pool G.  The Canadians started quickly with four runs in the second inning and they never looked back.  Eight of nine of the Canadian starters had at least one hit, with four players recording two each.  Rene Tosoni was at it again, going 2-for-4 with two runs scored and two RBIs.  Matt Kniginyzky contributed another stellar performance off the mound for Canada, throwing six shutout innings and striking out three for the win.  Orlando Perdomo had been among the Venezuelans top arms coming into the game, but he was tagged for all four of the runs in the second frame, and he was chased from the game only two outs into the inning.  Rene Reyes drove in both of the Venezuela runs in the seventh inning, courtesy of a home run.  Canada/Venezuela was the first World Cup game to be hoste  d by Chieti – one of the areas affected by the devastating earthquake that ripped through Italy in April of this year.

 

Cuba 9 Chinese Taipei 2:  Cuba (4-1) knocked off Chinese Taipei (1-4), 9-2, Wednesday, and coupled with the Netherlands loss, it now stands alone in first place in Pool F, with two pool games remaining.  The Cubans were in control throughout, buoyed by a dominating performance from starter Miguel Gonzalez, who struck out eight and walked only one in seven shutout innings.  Jonder Martinez pitched two scoreless frames to slam the door on the win.  At the plate, Cuba was once again led by Alfredo Despaigne, who, in a 2-for-5 night, added two more home runs to his World Cup leading total of nine (tied with Justin Smoak, USA).  The total also ties him with Orestes Kindelan for the most home runs by a Cuban player in a World Cup (1990).  Frederich Cepeda tacked on three RBIs as well – two of which were on a home run in the first inning.  Chia-Chun Tang took the loss for Chinese Taipei, surrendering five runs in 3 1/3 innings.  Five Chinese Taipei batters recorded one hit each.

 

Australia 5 Netherlands 2:  After two-straight nail-biting losses for Australia (2-3), it staged an eighth-inning rally to defeat the Netherlands (3-2), 5-2.  On the heels of a 4-3 loss to the USA to close out Round 2, and a 2-1 defeat to open Round 3, the Aussies were looking to turn things around on Wednesday.  Liam Hendriks continued the night’s trend of strong starting pitching performances, hurling six innings of two-hit, scoreless baseball.  Luke Hughes had another huge night at the plate for Australia, belting two home runs and tallying four RBIs.  The Dutch stayed in the game late, scoring one run in each of the seventh and eighth innings, but their offense was never really in sync.  Randall Simon led the way, going 2-for-4 with one runs scored and an RBI.  Hard-luck starter Tom Stuifbergen threw five shutout frames of his own for the Netherlands, but the relievers gave up five earned the rest of the way.

 

NOTES

 

TWO TIED FOR THE HOME RUN LEAD:  With his two home runs tonight against Chinese Taipei, Alfredo Despaigne has tied the Cuban record of 9 for a single World Cup. Orestes Kindelan also had 9 in Italy in 1990.  Despaigne is also now tied with the United States Justin Smoak for the tournament lead.

 

TV COVERAGE EXPANDS AGAIN: The International Baseball Federation today announced additional game coverage for the final games of the 2009 Baseball World Cup, currently taking place in Italy.  In the United States, the MLB Network will add the USA vs. Cuba game on Thursday 24 September at 2:00 p.m. EDT, as well as the championship game from Nettuno, Italy on Sunday 27 September at 9:00 a.m. EDT. NOS in the Netherlands will add three additional games involving the Dutch team, including today’s game against Australia, tomorrow’s game against Canada and Friday’s game against the USA.  This television coverage is in addition to already announced local broadcasts in Cuba, Venezuela and Italy, as well as on Eurosport2 across Europe.

 

FIRST GAME IN CHIETI:  The Canada-Venezuela game marked the first time that a 2009 Baseball World Cup game was played in Chieti.  Chieti is also scheduled to host the Chinese Taipei – Puerto Rico match tomorrow and the Australia – Puerto Rico game on Friday.

 

MLB INTERNATIONAL OPENS CHINA ACADEMY: Another example of baseball’s growing global footprint was announced today, as Major League Baseball International announced the opening of a baseball development center in Wuxi, China. The new academy will provide professional baseball training for middle school and high school-aged students within an academic setting. This is the latest and boldest step in the development of baseball in China.  An initiative which began in 2001, continued through the Beijing Olympics and will grow into the future.

 

CROWDED TRAFFIC ON THE WEB: The IBAF’s official site, www.ibaf.org, has attracted over 250,000 visitors and several million page views during the first two weeks of the World Cup.  These viewers have come from over 150 countries, an increase of over 60% from during its last heavy visit period, which was the Beijing Olympics.

 

WINNERS REMAINING IN THE FIELD: Of the eight teams advancing to the final round, four have won at least one of the 38 previous World Cups.  Cuba is the leader with 25, followed by the United States (3), Venezuela (3) and Puerto Rico (1).  The last European country to win was also the first, Great Britain in 1938.  The last Asian team to win was Korea in 1982 and Australia’s best finish was sixth in 2007.

 

CUP HISTORY: This is the 38th time the Baseball World Cup has been played…it was an annual event from 1938 until 1953 and then was discontinued until 1961 in Costa Rica…it went to an event every four years in 1965 and 1969 and then back to an annual event from 1969-1976…the format then moved to every other year from 1978-1990, became a four year event in ’94 and ’98, and starting in 2001 has been played every other year…two World Cups were also played in 1973, one hosted and won by Cuba and the other hosted by Nicaragua and won by the United States.

 

HOST COUNTRIES: This is the first time the Baseball World Cup was held in multiple nations since its formation in 1938…Italy will host the final for the fourth time, after hosting it in 1978, 1988, and 1998…Cuba has won all three times Italy has hosted the World Cup….

 

THE WORLD CUP IN EUROPE: This is the seventh time Europe has hosted the World Cup…Great Britain hosted and won the inaugural Cup in 1938, defeating the United States…other than Italy (three times), the Netherlands hosted the World Cup in 1986 and 2005…other than the win by Great Britain in 1938, all of the other six World Cups held in Europe have been won by Cuba.

 

GLOBAL HOSTS OF THE CUP: Cuba has hosted the Cup the most times (10), while Nicaragua (5), Italy (4) and Colombia (4) have been the hosts the second and third most. Each of the three North American countries…the United States (’74) , Mexico (’51) and Canada (’90) have hosted the event once…Japan (’80), Korea (’82) and Chinese Taipei (2001 and ’07) have been Asian hosts…Venezuela has hosted the event three times and the Dominican Republic and Costa Rica have hosted the Cup once.

 

HOST DOES NOT FIND GOLD AGAIN: Italy’s failure to reach the final eight continues a tough run for World Cup host countries. The host country won eight of the first nine titles (Great Britain, Cuba four times, Venezuela twice, Columbia), but since 1948 the host team has only won the Gold Medal eight times…Cuba (’52, ’71,’73, ’84,’03) Colombia (’65), USA (’74), and Korea (’82)…Cuba’s win in 2003 was the only time in the last nine events the World Cup has been won by the host country and was also one of two times in the last nine the host country won a medal (host Chinese Taipei won Bronze in 2001).

 

RECORD-BREAKERS THUS FAR: The World Cup thus far has seen several team and World Cup records tied for fall. They include:

 

 - The USA’s Justin Smoak has set the USA World Cup record with nine home runs thus far.  

 

- Alfredo Despaigne has tied the Cuban World record with nine home runs.

 

- Cuban pitcher Miguel Gonzalez striking out ten consecutive batters against Puerto Rico in his first start (13 overall in 6 1/3 innings), one short of the World Cup mark of 11 set by former Major Leaguer Burt Hooton (Dodgers and Cubs) of the USA in 1971.

 

- Australia pitcher and Milwaukee Brewers pitching prospect David Welch set an Australian record with 13 strikeouts in just seven innings Tuesday against Chinese Taipei.

 

- USA pitcher and California Angels prospect Trevor Reckling, had 11 K’s against China last Saturday, tying the team mark of pitcher Burt Hooten, who fanned 11 consecutive batters in 1970.

 

- USA infielder and Pittsburgh Pirates prospect Pedro Alvarez set a team mark by hitting three home runs in Thursday’s win over Chinese Taipei

World Cup heats up with final round games.. an hopefully dries out.


 


P9210628.JPGRain headed south to Nettuno yesterday.  Lack of resources ( like a big TARP) made it challenging to get the infield dried out but we did and the game was played.  

IBAF  puts out some reports on a daily basis and the following is a sample of the report with highlights. LAst night was crazy here in Nettuno.  Rain delay plus a pitching duel.  Canada edged PR in a 10 inning pitching duel on a field that was soaked.  Plus my cmaera was smoked with a rake…casualty of the game i guess.  No worries as I carry a back up. 
P9210633.JPG 

CUBA 2 AUSTRALIA 1: Alfredo Despaigne hit a two-run first inning home run off of Dushan Ruzic, and Cuba pitchers Norge Vera and Pedro Lazo combined to hold Australia to six hits in a 2-1 thriller. Australia scored its only run in the third on a James Bereford ground out, and outhit Cuba, 6-3, but were never able to tie the score. Australia had the tying run on third in the ninth inning, but Lazo struck out Andrew Graham to end the game.

 NETHERLANDS 11 CHINESE TAIPEI 2: The Dutch broke open a close game with a seven-run fifth inning and went on to an opening win in Messina. Hung-Yu Lin’s second inning homer had tied the game at one, but Randall Simon’s two-run single and another RBI single by Sidney de Jong in the bottom of the inning staked the Netherlands to a 4-1 lead. It was still 4-1 when the Dutch sent 11 men to the plate in the fifth, scoring seven runs on eight hits – seven singles and a double – to break the game open. Simon’s three hits and three RBIs led the Dutch attack, while Alexander Smit pitched six innings of one-run relief for the win.

 UNITED STATES 6 VENEZUELA 3: The USA avenged its lone World Cup loss, scoring four runs in the third inning and going on to a 6-3 win in Firenze. Terry Tiffee’s two-run single off reliever Jose Escalona helped key the four-run third, and Pedro Alvarez’s home run stretched the lead to 5-0 in the fourth. Venezuela scored one run in each of the sixth, seventh and eighth innings and had the tying run on base with two outs in the ninth, but Geno Espanelli got Luis Landeata on a line-out to end the game. Brad Lincoln pitched 6 2/3 innings to get the win.

 CANADA 3 PUERTO RICO 0: Brett Lawrie hit a leadoff home run in the ninth inning and Rene Tosoni followed with a two-run double, breaking a scoreless tie and leading Canada to a 3-0 win in Nettuno. Nick Bucci’s five no-hit innings highlighted a spectacular pitching day for Canada, as it held a veteran Puerto Rico squad to just one hit – a Jose Valentin leadoff single in the seventh inning. Seven Puerto Rico pitchers combined to hold Canada to seven hits in the pitching duel.

 WEDNESDAYS POOL GAMES: Canada-Venezuela (Chieti), Australia-Netherlands (Grosetto), Puerto Rico-USA (Firenze), Chinese Taipei-Cuba (Nettuno)

 PREVIEW NETHERLANDS-AUSTRALIA: Offensive fireworks should be on display during the Netherlands-Australia matchup in Grossetto on Wednesday as the top two hitting squads in the 2009 Baseball World Cup meet for the first time in the tournament. The Netherlands, who enter the game with a 7-1 record and are fresh off a dominating 11-2 victory, look to continue their drive towards the championship game. Australia, who has dropped two straight one run games, will look to get their hitting shoes back on.

 The Netherlands, who are hitting a tournament leading .325 as a team, are led offensively by three players who are batting over .400; their double play combo of San Francisco Giants prospect Sharlon Shoop (.464) and Los Angeles Angels prospect Hainley Statia (.417) and veteran catcher Sidney de Jong (.435). Others who have been impressive include former major leaguer Randall Simon, who went 3-5 with 3 RBI in the victory against Chinese Taipei, and first baseman Sharnol Adriana, who also added 3 RBI in the win.

The Aussies, whose success has been dependent on their bats, are second in the tournament in batting average (.316) and third in runs scored (80). Pacing the squad is the Mr. Do-Everything Tim Kennelly, a Phillies Prospect who has hit for average (.325) and power (three home runs, nine RBI). His help comes in the form of fellow Phillie prospect Joel Naughton (.478, seven RBI) and Minnesota Twins prospect Luke Hughes (.317, two home runs, eight RBI) among others. On the mound, Adam Blackley, who has an yet to give up an earned run in 13 innings of action, and Milwaukee Brewers prospect David Welch, who has struck out 22 in 18 innings pitched while only allowing two runs, have been dominant.

 PREVIEW PUERTO RICO-USA: USA enters Wednesday on a10 game winning streak and avenged their only loss, to Venezuela, on Tuesday. Puerto Rico had a five game winning streak stopped by Canada’s pitching Tuesday.

Puerto Rico will look to create havoc on offense, leading the tournament through two rounds in On Base Percentage (.408) and second in stolen bases (11). The team is led by Toronto Blue Jays prospect Angel Sanchez (.400) and Baltimore Orioles prospect Miguel Abreu, their second leading hitter at .366 (15 hits) and a team best 9 runs scored. Puerto Rico has a tournament high NINE players with Major League experience on their roster in addition to their rising stars.

The United States hopes to continue to ride their hot offense, which leads the tournament in home runs after the first two rounds (31), slugging percentage (.650), and was second in hits (119). The US pitching boasts a 2.04 team ERA, and have three starters now at 2-0. Wednesday night’s game between the USA and Puerto Rico will start at 8pm (CET) in Firenze, Italy. Game stats can be followed on CBS stat tracker onwww.2009baseballworldcup.com.

PREVIEW CANADA-VENEZUELA: Canada’s pitching and defense continue to improve, the latest example being Tuesday night’s one hitter led by Milwaukee Brewers prospect Nick Bucci, who combined with Trystan Magnuson, Dustin Molleken and Jimmy Henderson for the one hit shutout.

 The 9-2 Canadian squad faces off with Venezuela. Venezuela hopes the bat of Rene Reyes can stay hot and ignite some offense, which has seemed to abandon the team as of late.

The Canadians have scored 9.3 rpg in their 9-2 run thus far, and are led by Minnesota Twins prospect Rene Tosoni .390 3 HR, 11 RBI.

PREVIEW CHINESE TAIPEI-CUBA: Cuba will face off against Chinese Taipei in Nettuno for the second series of games from Round Three of the 2009 Baseball World Cup. The Cuban pitching staff continued its World Cup mastery today, holding the tournament’s leading hitting team, Australia, to just one run. Pitcher Norge Vera improved to 3-0 today, and has allowed just one run in 20.2 innings far. The Cuban staff has amassed 114 strikeouts thought the first two rounds (second only to Japan’s total of 120) and given up only 24 walks and three home runs. Freddy Alvarez is 2-0 and has allowed one earned run in 15 innings and Miguel Gonzalez struck out ten consecutive batters against Puerto Rico in his first start (13 overall in 6 1/3 innings), one short of the World Cup mark of 11 set by former Major Leaguer Burt Hooton (Dodgers and Cubs) of the USA in 1971. The Cuban hitting is led by veteran Alfredo Despagne, who is now hitting .447 with 7 HR and 13 RBI in their 10-1 run thus far.

Lin Han leads the way for Chinese Taipei, hitting at a .415 clip, and Yen-Feng Lin sports an impressive .60 ERA over 15 innings. Chinese Taipei heads into the matchup Wednesday with a 1-3 record. Wednesday’s matchup will be played at 8:00p.m. (CET) in Nettuno, Italy. The game can be seen using live streaming atwww.2009baseballworldcup.com, or with CBS Sports StatTracker.

CROWDED TRAFFIC ON THE WEB: The IBAF’s official site, Ibaf.org has attracted over 250,000 visitors and several million page views in the first two weeks of the world cup, coming from over 150 countries, an increase of over 60% from during its last heavy visit period which was the Beijing Olympics.

WINNERS REMAINING IN THE FIELD: Of the eight teams advancing to the final round, four have won at least one of the 38 previous World Cups…Cuba is the leader with 25, followed by the United States (3), Venezuela (3) and Puerto Rico (1)…the last European country to win was also the first…Great Britain in 1938…the last Asian team to win was Korea in 1982…Australia’s best finish was sixth in 2007…

CUP HISTORY: This is the 38th time the Baseball World Cup has been played…it was an annual event from 1938 until 1953 and then was discontinued until 1961 in Costa Rica…it went to an event every four years in 1965 and 1969 and then back to an annual event from 1969-1976…the format then moved to every other year from 1978-1990, became a four year event in ’94 and ’98, and starting in 2001 has been played every other year…two World Cups were also played in 1973, one hosted and won by Cuba and the other hosted by Nicaragua and won by the United States.

HOST COUNTRIES: This is the first time the Baseball World Cup was held in multiple nations since its formation in 1938…Italy will host the final for the fourth time, after hosting it in 1978, 1988, and 1998…Cuba has won all three times Italy has hosted the World Cup….

THE WORLD CUP IN EUROPE: This is the seventh time Europe has hosted the World Cup…Great Britain hosted and won the inaugural Cup in 1938, defeating the United States…other than Italy (three times), the Netherlands hosted the World Cup in 1986 and 2005…other than the win by Great Britain in 1938, all of the other six World Cups held in Europe have been won by Cuba.

GLOBAL HOSTS OF THE CUP: Cuba has hosted the Cup the most times (10), while Nicaragua (5), Italy (4) and Colombia (4) have been the hosts the second and third most. Each of the three North American countries…the United States (’74) , Mexico (’51) and Canada (’90) have hosted the event once…Japan (’80), Korea (’82) and Chinese Taipei (2001 and ’07) have been Asian hosts…Venezuela has hosted the event three times and the Dominican Republic and Costa Rica have hosted the Cup once.

HOST DOES NOT FIND GOLD AGAIN: Italy’s failure to reach the final eight continues a tough run for World Cup host countries. The host country won eight of the first nine titles (Great Britain, Cuba four times, Venezuela twice, Columbia), but since 1948 the host team has only won the Gold Medal eight times…Cuba (’52, ’71,’73, ’84,’03) Colombia (’65), USA (’74), and Korea (’82)…Cuba’s win in 2003 was the only time in the last nine events the World Cup has been won by the host country and was also one of two times in the last nine the host country won a medal (host Chinese Taipei won Bronze in 2001).

RECORDBREAKERS THUS FAR: The World Cup thus far has seen several team and World Cup records tied for fall. They include:

The USA’s Justin Smoak has set the USA World Cup record with nine home runs thus far.

Cuban pitcher Miguel Gonzalez striking out ten consecutive batters against Puerto Rico in his first start (13 overall in 6 1/3 innings), one short of the World Cup mark of 11 set by former Major Leaguer Burt Hooton (Dodgers and Cubs) of the USA in 1971.

Australia pitcher and Milwaukee Brewers pitching prospect David Welch set an Australian record with 13 strikeouts in just seven innings Tuesday against Chinese Taipei.

USA pitcher and California Angels prospect Trevor Reckling, had 11 K’s against China last Saturday, tying the team mark of pitcher Burt Hooten, who fanned 11 consecutive batters in 1970. USA infielder and Pittsburgh Pirates prospect Pedro Alvarez set a team mark by hitting three home runs in Thursday’s win over Chinese Taipei

Sunday World Cup Games Setting stage for Semi Finals


2009BaseballWorldCup.gifWith all of the rain the we have had in Italy, the supplies needed to dry the fields with are dwindling very quickly.  Considering most ballparks in italy only planned for a couple games… there was not a huge need to stock up on drying material. It has been raining most of the week and the fields are really soft so the “rosso red” is being heavily used. 

Puerto Rico beat Nicaragua 16-0 earlier this afternoon in Haarlem ( holland)  In Italy 3 important games are progressing along with Team USA playing Italy in front of a packed house in Torino. (They just beat Italy 12-3) Skies have been  threatening all day and into the games throughout Italy.  In Parma , Chinese Taipei and Canada are in the bottom of the 7th in a rain delay. Looks like that one is completed.  Austrailia just beat Mexico 6-5 in Macerata.  So tomorrow we have a make up game in Bologna between Austrailia and USA. 

DSCF4262.JPGThe photo above may remind you Arizona folks of a spring training ballpark in Mesa or Papago.  Its actually in Messina, Sicily.  A lot of history in Sicily and some great food.  You can get there by sea via a ferry from Reggio Calabria or by air into Catania.  This tournament is showing some really good baseball. A couple blow outs but over all very competitive.  As we go into the semi final round with 8 teams,  I am sure the teams will step up there game another level.  Finals are in Cheiti, Florence, Messina, Nettuno, and Grosetto.  To finish up the tournament field wise…We have Joe Skrabak in Cheiti, Brandon Putnam in Florence, Kevin Moses in Grosetto, Budgie Clark in Messina and Im in Nettuno.  photo below in Messina from the ferry.
sicily2.jpg

 

 

World Cup Games continue through rain soaked fields


Torino photo China taipei USA.jpgHats off to the groundcrews in Torino and Macaerata and Verona for pulling off some miracles in getting the games played.  Last night team USA took on Chines Taipei in a lopsided match with team USA doing the mercy rule  14-3. in a tight Game canada beat japan 3-2 in 11 innings using the new extra inning rule.  Field at top is china taipei in torino. Nice team photo from gerardo f.
Piacenza 018.jpgPhoto below is the field in Piancenza for tonights game between USA –  Austrailia. Which should be a slugfest.  Go to the IBAF.org web site for up todate info on the tournament. 

MACERATA… A cool ballpark


Macerata 025.jpgTonight was another great game between Japan and USa. Team USa won 4-2 in a very tight game.  Japan playing the small ball game and USA with the long ball. 

Macerata USA Game 037.jpgThe stadium in Macerata is pretty cool.Home to the local club the Macerat Angels. ( Logo looks a lot like LA angels)  It sits above the town and when you look over the centerfield fence it drops pretty quickly. Above the ballpark on the hill is the old town dating back to the 1200AD and off in the distance are the apenine mountains of the Marche region oif Italy.  Its a small park but has a lot of nice lines and amenities.  The dugouts have a bench that has built in storage.
Macerata 047.jpgThe crew does a good job on the field. Kevin M. spent some time with the crew this week rebuilding plates and mounds.  Check ou the Macerata web page.  very well done.

http://www.macerataangels.net/index.php

 

WORLD CUP GAME NOTES


 

BELOW ARE MONDAYS GAME NOTES DISTRIBUTED BY IBAF

 

AUSTRALIA 5 CANADA 3 (10 INNINGS): Canada held Australia to a World Cup low six hits, but the Aussies prevailed 5-3 in 10 innings to move to 4-1 in World Cup play. Canada grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first, but Australia knotted the score in the fifth on a Nichila Kimpton RBI single, and took a 2-1 lead in the top of the ninth when Luke Hughes hit a one out home run off of reliever Jimmy Henderson. Canada answered in their half of the ninth, when Rene Tosoni greeted reliever Adam Bright with a home run of his own to tie the game again. The Canadians had a chance to win the game with two on and two out, but Shawn Bowman grounded out against reliever Matthew Williams to send the game into extra innings. With the extra inning rule in place, Australia started with runners on first and second, and Daniel Berg broke the tie with a run scoring single. Australia added two more unearned runs to take a 5-2 lead, and the Canadians could only muster one run on an Adam Stern sacrifice fly in their half of the tenth.

SPAIN 8 VENEZUELA 1: The biggest upset of the World Cup to date took place in Amsterdam, where Spain, who had played tight games with Puerto Rico and Cuba in the first round before losing, handed Venezuela their first defeat of the World Cup. The Spanish took a 3-0 first inning lead against starter Jose Rojas, keyed by a two run single by catcher Dewis Navarro, and never trailed in the game. Outfielder Luis Perez’s two run sixth inning home run finished the scoring, as San Diego Padres prospect Eric Gonzalez and two other pitchers held Venezuela to just six hits. Leadoff hitter and Baltimore Orioles prospect Daniel Figueroa went 3-5 with three runs scored for Spain, while his twin brother Paco went 1-3 with two RBI and two runs scored.

SOUTH KOREA 15 GREAT BRITAIN 5: In a game that was actually much closer than the final score, South Korea broke a 5-5 tie in the bottom of the seventh, scoring ten unanswered runs to defeat Great Britain. The Brits took a 1-0 lead on a bases loaded walk to Jason Holowaty by starter Hee-Girl Kim in the second, before a three run Korea rally in the third gave them a 3-1 lead, with two runs coming in on a double by Bon-Ki Shin. It was 5-1 when Great Britain rallied in the top of the seventh, taking advantage of two Korea fielding errors and Samuel Wiley’s one out, bases loaded two run double off Kyung-Eun Noh tie the score. However Korea answered back, scoring six runs on three hits, including a two run triple by Jong-Wook Ko in the bottom of the inning, and Hun-Gon Kim’s three run home run in the eighth broke the game open.

USA 11 NETHERLANDS ANTILLES 1: Justin Smoak hit two home runs and had five RBI and Team USA got another solid pitching performance, this one from Kasey Kiker and Lucas Harrell, who combined on a two hitter to rout the Netherlands Antilles. The Netherlands Antilles actually had a 1-0 second inning lead before Lucas May tied the score with his first home run of the World Cup leading off the third against starter Johannes Gregorius. Jon Weber’s solo homer, one of his three hits on the day, gave USA the lead for good (2-1) in the fifth, and Smoak’s first homer of the game followed later in the inning. The US broke the game open with a six run seventh, with Smoak’s three run shot providing most of the damage. With the win the US improved to 4-1 in World Cup play.

CUBA 4 NICARAGUA 1: Yulieski Gourriel and Alfredo Despaigne both hit two run homers, in the sixth and eighth innings respectively, and Yulieski Gonzalez and Pedro Lazo combined on a six hitter, outdueling Elvin Orozco and Julio Raudez (who held Cuba to five hits) to lead Cuba to the tight win in Haarlem.

MEXICO 6 ITALY 3: Mexico scored single runs on a bases loaded walk in the first and an RBI single by Ivan Terrazas in the second and never trailed in a 6-3 win in Bologna. The Italians cut the lead to 2-1 on Jairo Ramos’ third inning homer, but Terrazas’ first home run of the World Cup in the sixth made it 4-1 and Italy never got closer. Shortstop Oscar Robles also went 3-3 for Mexico.

NETHERLANDS 5 PUERTO RICO 2: The homestanding Dutch improved to 2-0, with a win over a veteran Puerto Rico squad in before 2,500 in rainy Rotterdam. Second baseman Sharlon Shoop went 3-4 for the Netherlands, including an RBI triple as part of a three run fifth inning that broke the tight game open. Puerto Rico tried to rally in the ninth inning, scoring their first two runs of the game and had the tying run on deck, but Dennis Neuman came on to get to Luis Matos to end the game. The Netherlands used five pitchers in the game, with starter Rob Cordemans going the first five to get the win.

NOTES

USA PITCHING CONTINUES STRONG: Texas Rangers prospect Kasey Kiker became the fourth USA starter in as many days to dominate an opponent, striking out seven and allowing just one hit in four innings in Team USA’s win. The last four USA starters…Kiker, San Diego Padres prospect Cory Luebeke, California Angels prospect Trevor Reckling and Atlanta Braves prospect Todd Redmond…have combined to allow just one earned run, seven hits and 35 strikeouts in 26 2/3 innings. On Saturday Reckling, had 11 K’s against China, which tied the mark of former Dodger and Cubs pitcher Burt Hooten, who fanned 11 consecutive batters in 1970. Sunday, Luebeke joined Reckling, Ben McDonald (1988) and Hank Woodman (2003) as the only USA pitchers to reach double digits in a game. Overall Team USA set their own World Cup record with 16 strikeouts vs. China, breaking the mark of 14 set against Brazil in 2003.

CUBANS ONLY 5-0 TEAM: Led by a pitching staff with a 1.88 ERA and 58 strikeouts vs. only 12 walks, Cubans is the lone remaining undefeated team from the first two rounds. Cuban pitcher Miguel Gonzalez struck out ten consecutive batters against Puerto Rico in his first start (13 overall in 6 1/3 innings), one short of the World Cup mark of 11 set by former Major Leaguer Burt Hooton (Dodgers and Cubs) of the USA in 1971.

WHILE HITTING KEYS AUSSIES 4-1 START: Despite being slowed by Canada Monday, the Australians continue to lead in most offensive categories, including batting average, .356, runs scored 57, hits 68 and doubles 20. Their 13 home runs trail only Team USA’s 14 as well. Phillies prospect Joel Naughton (.571), and Twins prospects Daniel Berg (.545) and James Beresford (.429) led the team in hits with nine in the five games. Six Twins prospects are on the Australia roster.

NETHERLANDS GOES 2-0 : The Netherlands improved to 2-0 on Monday with a win over Puerto Rico, just the third overall for a home country in this World Cup. Spain went 1-2 in Barcelona, while the Czech Republic, Sweden and Croatia all went 0-3, and Italy is now 0-2, making the host country just 3-13 thus far. The host country has only won the Gold Medal eight times since 1948…Cuba (’52, ’71,’73, ’84,’03) Columbia (’65), USA (’74), and Korea (’82)…Cuba’s win in 2003 was the only time in the last nine events the World Cup has been won by the host country and was also one of two times in the last nine the host country won a medal (host Chinese Taipei won Bronze in 2001).

SMOAKIN THE HOMERS: Team USA’s Justin Smoak had his second multiple home run game of the World Cup, with a pair on Monday vs. Netherlands Antilles. A Texas Rangers prospect, Smoak’s five homers are tied for the most in the Cup, while the team now leads in homers with 14.

SPAIN NOTCHES EPIC WIN: After narrow losses at home to Cuba and Puerto Rico in round one, the Spanish team, led by twin Baltimore Orioles prospects Daniel and Paco Figueroa and San Diego Padres pitching prospect Eric Gonzalez, pulled off the biggest win for Spain in World Cup history, defeating 4-0 Venezuela Monday. Paco leads the team with a .438 average, while Daniel is hitting at a .421 pace. Spain is coached by Italian Mauro Mazzotti, 50, the only manager to win three Italian Serie A championships, Rimini 1999, Bologna 2003 and 2005 and Grosseto in 2007. Currently he manages Rimini, which spent most of this past season in first place in the Italian League. Mazzotti, who has a degree physical education, speaks three languages, his native Italian, English and Spanish. He has been a scout in Europe for the Seattle Mariners and became the coordinator for the scouting in Europe for the Houston Astros.

NICARAGUA’S GONZALEZ CONTINUES TORRID PACE: Nicaragua’s third baseman Jimmy Morales Gonzalez continues to lead all hitters with 5 HR 12 RBI and a .688 average through five games. The 31 year old Gonzalez played in the Pioneer and California Leagues from ’98-2000 in the Dodgers organization, for Great Falls and San Bernadino, and has played for Granada in the Nicaraguan Professional League since then. He had 20 HR and 180 RBI with a .295 average in his three seasons in the minors.

EXTRA INNING RULE TAKES EFFECT: The IBAF’s Extra Inning Rule, designed to control the length of games, took effect for the second time Monday in the Australia-Canada game. For extra innings, each team starts their half of the inning with runners on first and second and no out. Each subsequent inning starts the same until a winner is determined. A version of the rule, starting in the 11th inning, was implemented during the Beijing Olympics and was used five times, with only one game going an additional inning before being decided. The World Baseball Classic adapted the rule, starting in the 14th inning, but it was never put into effect. Last Thursday the rule was used for the first time, with both Venezuela and the United States scoring two runs in the 10th inning before Venezuela’s four run 11th inning decided the game and gave Team USA their only loss thus far.

 

DUTCH ADD JERSEY SPONSOR: On Sunday it was announced that Argos Oil will be sponsoring the Dutch team during the Baseball World Cup. The name of the fast growing company in Rotterdam-Hoogvliet (400 employees, 1.5 billion euros turnover) will be displayed on the sleeves of the Dutch players the coming weeks. Argos Groep is one of the largest independent oil companies in the Netherlands and is active in the areas of trading, storage and sales of (bio)fuels and lubrication. Founder and general director is Peter Goedvolk, Havenman van het Jaar (Harbourman of the Year) 2006.

Rain becomes a factor in Round 2 World Cup Games.



IMG_3377.JPGWith a bit of rain this week in the forecast I am sure we will have a challenging time with the venues as none have a full infield tarp. nevertheless, the ground crews will do there best to get the games in and keep the field playable.  The following notes are from the IBAF update summaires we are given every day.  
 

 

SECOND ROUND CONTINUES MONDAY: The second round, which will be held at sites in the Netherlands and Italy, continues Monday 14 September with eight games, including Mexico-Italy (Bologna), Cuba-Nicaragua (Haarlem), Netherlands-Puerto Rico (Rotterdam), Canada-Australia (Novara) and USA-Netherlands Antilles (Verona)

 

The complete second round matchups for the week can be seen at: http://hosting3.sportingpulse.com/www.2009baseballworldcup.com/index.php?id=10

 

NETHERLANDS 4 KOREA 2: The second round of the 2009 World Cup opened in dramatic fashion, as Netherlands catcher Sidney de Jong hit a three run home run off reliever Kyung-Eun Noh in the bottom of the eighth inning, giving the Dutch a come from behind win in Amsterdam.  Korea took a 2-0 lead in the top of the third, with an RBI double by Lee Ho and a second run scoring on a ground out against starter Tom Stuifbergen.  The Netherlands got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the fourth when Scharlon Schoop tripled with two outs, knocking in Raily Legito.  The score remained the same until de Jong’s three run shot in the eighth. Dennis Neuman pitched the ninth to earn the save for the Dutch.

 

AUSTRALIA 19 NETHERLANDS ANTILLES 6:  The Aussies continued their torrid hitting, jumping out to a 10-0 lead after three innings on their way to a 19-6 seven inning win.  Luke Hughes’ two run first inning homer off starter Andley Simmons got the scoring going, and they then broke the game open in the third, sending 10 men to the plate, scoring seven runs on seven hits,  with Stefan Welch’s three run homer and a two run double by Bradley Harman keying the inning.  Australia also sent 16 men to the plate in a nine run, eight hit fifth inning as well to move to 3-1 thus far.  Tim Kennelly and Joel Harmon had four hits apiece for Australia, who used four pitchers and allowed just six hits in the win.    

 


2009 World Cup reggio Tournament - Italy 034.jpgUSA 8 CANADA 0: 
The defending World Cup champions cooled off the first round’s hardest hitting team, as Cory Luebeke flirted with a no-hitter into the eighth inning, and eventually allowed one hit and had 10 strikeouts in 7 2/3 shutout innings, as the Americans used a balanced hitting attack to down Canada in their round two opener in Caselli, Italy.  Team USA touched up Canadian starter Chris Begg for four runs on three hits in the first, with Terry Tiffee’s two run double the key hit. Tiffee had another RBI double as part of a two run third that made it 6-0, and Pedro Alvarez’s first World Cup homer in the seventh closed the USA scoring.  Tiffee and Jon Webber had three hits apiece to lead USA, while catcher Chris Robinson had Canada’s only hit, a single with two out in the eighth inning.

 

PUERTO RICO 12 SPAIN 2: The second meeting of the World Cup between Spain and Puerto Rico was not as close as the first, as Puerto Rico rallied for seven runs after two were out in the second inning and went on to the win in seven innings.  Major League veteran Jose Valentin helped stake Puerto Rico to a 2-0 lead in the first with a solo home run, and then PR broke the game open in the second, getting seven straight batters on base, including a pair of two run singles by Carlos Rivera and Angel Sanchez,  to give them a 9-0 lead.  Luis Perez’s two run third inning homer was all Spain could muster against a trio of Puerto Rico pitchers, including Luis Atilano, who went five innings for the win.

 

JAPAN 9 MEXICO 3:  The Japanese posted their most impressive victory of the World Cup, stopping undefeated Mexico 9-3.  Kenichi Yamakoa’s two run fourth inning triple off starter Juan Pablo Oramas opened the scoring for Japan, but Mexico rallied and tied the game at three on Saul Soto’s two run homer in the top of the sixth.  However the Japanese answered right back, scoring three runs on five hits in the bottom of the inning, with Go Yamaoka, Ikuhiro Kiyota and Yoshinobu Kotegawa plating runs with singles.  Japan then put the game away in the bottom of the eighth on a Keiji Ikebe three run home run.

 

VENEZUELA 7 NICARAGUA 4: Venezuela moved to an impressive 4-0 in World Cup play, scoring four runs in the first and two in the third on their way to a 7-4 win over previously undefeated Nicaragua.  Venezuela batted around in the first inning against Nicaragua starter Alvaro Aguilar, scoring four, two out runs on singles by Rene Reyes, Luis Landaeta and Jonathan Sivira, and broke the game open on a two run Landaeta home run in the third. Nicaragua rallied late in the game to get within 7-4, and had the tying run at bat with two outs in the ninth, but Danilo Sotelo flew out against pitcher Jose Rodriguez to end the game. For Nicaragua, third baseman Jimmy Morales failed to homer after hitting five in their Nicargua’s first three games, but he did go 4-5 at the plate with another RBI.  Landaeta and Yosnel Garcia had three hits apiece for Venezuela.    

 

CHINESE TAIPEI 5 ITALY 2: Chinese Taipei spoiled Italy’s home World Cup opener, taking an early 3-0 lead and then holding Italy to only four hits in Firenze. Tai-Yung Kuo’s leadoff third inning homer off Tiago DaSilva got Chinese Taipei on the scoreboard,  and Ming-Jen Kuo’s RBI single and an throwing error pushed the lead to 3-0 after four.  Leonardo Zilari’s fifth inning RBI single got the Italians their first run, but a Chung-Chun Wu RBI single made it 4-1 in the eighth, and the Italians never threatened after that.  Yen-Feng Lin allowed two hits and one run over six innings for Chinese Taipei, who had four pitchers combine on the four hitter.

 

CUBA 6 GREAT BRITAIN 0  Freddy Alvarez pitched a two hitter for the Cubans, who scored three of their runs in the second inning and three more in the eighth.  Yoennis Cespedes and Ariel Pestano homered  off starting pitcher Stephen Spragg in the second to lead the victory.

 

NOTES

 

USA PITCHING DOMINATES AGAIN:  San Diego Padres prospect Cory Luebeke became the second Team USA pitcher in as many days to reach double digits in strikeouts with 10 on Sunday vs. Canada. On Saturday teammate and California Angels prospect Trevor  Reckling, had 11 K’s against China, which tied the mark of former Dodger and Cubs pitcher Burt Hooten, who fanned 11 consecutive batters in 1970.  Luebeke joined Reckling, Ben McDonald (1988) and Hank Woodman (2003) as the only USA pitchers to reach double digits in a game.  Overall Team USA set their own World Cup record with 16 strikeouts vs. China, breaking the mark of 14 set against Brazil in 2003.

 

NETHERLANDS WIN A RARE ONE FOR THE HOME SQUAD IN WORLD CUP:  The Netherlands come from behind win Sunday against Korea was just the second overall for a home country in this World Cup. Spain went 1-2 in Barcelona, while the Czech Republic, Sweden and Croatia all went 0-3, and Italy lost their home opener Sunday to Chinese Taipei, making the host country just 2-12 thus far. The host country has only won the Gold Medal eight times since 1948…Cuba (’52, ’71,’73, ’84,’03) Columbia (’65), USA (’74), and Korea (’82)…Cuba’s win in 2003 was the only time in the last nine events the World Cup has been won by the host country and was also one of two times in the last nine the host country won a medal (host Chinese Taipei won Bronze in 2001).

 


P9020607.JPGJAPAN’S WIN CHRISTENS NEW STADIUM: 
Japan’s win over Mexico was the inaugural game in Parma’s new Aldo Nottari Stadium, named after the late IBAF President.  Australia will play Italy in Parma Thursday in the second game at the new field.

 

deJONG CONTINUES INTERNATIONAL HEROICS:  Catcher Sidney deJong was a key member of the Netherlands successful World Baseball Classic team, leading the Netherlands by hitting .500 (5 for 10). He continued the heroics on Sunday, hitting the game winning three run homer run against Korea.

 

DUTCH ADD JERSEY SPONSOR: On Sunday it was announced that Argos Oil will be sponsoring the Dutch team during the Baseball World Cup. The name of the fast growing company in Rotterdam-Hoogvliet (400 employees, 1.5 billion euros turnover) will be displayed on the sleeves of the Dutch players the coming weeks. Argos Groep is one of the largest independent oil companies in the Netherlands and is active in the areas of trading, storage and sales of (bio)fuels and lubrication. Founder and general director is Peter Goedvolk, Havenman van het Jaar (Harbourman of the Year) 2006.

 

AUSSIES CONTINUE TO HIT AWAY:  Australia continued their torrid hitting on Sunday, and have now smacked 11 home runs and scored 50 runs in their first four games.  Philadelphia Phillies prospect Tim Kennelly’s three homers and 9 RBI while Minnesota Twins prospect James Beresford led the team in hits with nine in the four games. Six Twins prospects are on the Australia roster.

 

NICARAGUA’S GONZALEZ CONTINUES TORRID PACE: Nicaragua’s 3-1 start has been led by the long ball of third baseman Jimmy Morales Gonzalez, who has hit five home runs in their first four games and went 4-5 from the plate Sunday.  The 31 year old Gonzalez played in the Pioneer and California Leagues from ’98-2000 in the Dodgers organization, for Great Falls and San Bernadino, and has played for Granada in the Nicaraguan Professional League since then.  He had 20 HR and 180 RBI with a .295 average in his three seasons in the minors.

Round 2 of World Cup begins today


IMG_3358.JPGAll the Teams are heading to Holland and Italy from the first round except for the 4th place teams which head home.  Play begins today ( actually in a few hours in Reggio Emilia for team USA and Canada along with Australia taking on a tough team from the Antillies in Piancenza. See the day schedule below.

Photo above is Godo Stadium in the Southern Part of Italy Rick Newville is heading to Parma today Chad Olsen to Reggio and Piancenza, Joe in Florence, Budge in Messina, Jeff in Bologna and Chad kropff and Tom Neilson in Amsterdam and Rotterdam.  ( Splitting time in Haarlem)

It was a great First round and the Local Organising Groups did a great job with limited resources.  Thanks to all of the crews from each venue formaking our MLB/IBAF groundcrew be a part of your team.  Regnesburg’s big game photo below from IBAF web site.  Check out the action at http://2009baseballworldcup.com/index.php?id=49

 

regensburg cat eye veiw.jpg 

Check out the Game schedule at: http://2009baseballworldcup.com/fileadmin/user_upload/Schedule/BWC09_Second_Round_01.pdf

ATTENDANCE MARKS FOR ROUND ONE: Further evidence of baseball’s growth in Europe was seen throughout the first round attendance numbers at local sites. Leading the way was Regensburg, Germany, which saw crowds in excess of 5,000 for almost all of the three days of competition, highlighted by a Friday night crowd of almost 10,000 fans for USA-Germany…Friday night’s Jahn Regensburg soccer match drew approximately 5,000 at the same time, which is a solid sign of interest in baseball in Germany…at other sites, Sweden had a capacity crowd of over 2,100 for Saturday’s final day and strong crowds approaching 1,500 on the others…Spain had overflow crowds on both Friday and Saturday in excess of the 1,500 seating capacity for their games with Puerto Rico and Cuba…and Prague had an overflow of 2,500 for Saturday and crowds in excess of 1,500 for Friday, all positive signs of growth…large crowds are expected in both the Netherlands and Italy for round two.

 

Baseball World Cup Day 3 Highlights


See Below Game Highlights from last night distributed by IBAF Operations.  

 


P9060594.JPGAUSTRALIA 7 CHINESE TAIPEI 5:
  The game of the day took place in Croatia, where Australia broke a 5-5 tie in the bottom of the eighth to edge Chinese Taipei 7-5.  The Aussies jumped out to a 4-0 third inning lead, three runs coming on Tim Kennelly’s third home run in the first two games of the World Cup, but Chinese Taipei rallied to cut the lead to 4-3 on OF Chung-Chun Wu’s three run homer in the sixth.    Australia held a 5-3 lead in the top of the eighth, but Chinese Taipei tied the game at five on 1B Kuo-Min Lin’s two out, two run homer off reliever Matthew Williams. Australia then broke the tie in the bottom of the eighth, when James Beresford hit a two out two run homer off reliever Ching-Ming Wang. Chinese Taipei had the tying runs on with one out in the ninth, but reliever Adam Bright struck out Chia-Yu Lin and got Hsin-Min Wang to ground out to end the game.

 PUERT RICO 5 SPAIN 3:  Puerto Rico jumped out to a 4-0 lead and then held on to defeat Spain 5-3 in Barcelona, giving each team a split of their first two games. Ruben Gotay’s second inning lead off homer gave Puerto Rico the lead, Spain cut the score to 4-3 in the sixth and setting up a tense couple of innings. Carlos Rivera led off the top of the eight for Puerto Rico with a double and moved to third on a wild pitch. Then Spanish manager Mauro Mazzotti brought in right hander Rhiner Cruz, who struck out Raul Casanova and Gotay, and got Alex Cintron to pop to short left, but shortstop Nestor Perez and left fielder Luis Perez bumped into each other, causing the ball dropped free and give Puerto Rico an insurance run. In the bottom of the eight, Spain had the tying runs in scoring position, but reliever Melvin Pizarro struck out Montiel.Ruerto to end the threat.  

 UNITED STATES 9 GERMANY 1: A crowd of just under 10,000 had their upset hopes dashed, as Todd Redmond allowed two hits and one run and struck out seven over eight innings to give the  defending Champions from the U.S. their first win of 2009. New York Mets prospect Ike Davis’ second inning homer, his first of three hits on the night, gave the U.S. a 1-0 lead. They stretched it to 4-0 with a trio of runs on three hits in the third and then broke the game open with another three in the sixth, two coming on a Buck Coates homer.  Trevor Plouffe and Justin Smoak also homered for the U.S.

 NICARAGUA 10 GREAT BRITAIN 0:  For the second straight game, 3B Jimmy Morales hit a pair of home runs, leading Nicaragua to the seven inning win.  1B Sandor Mayorca also homered twice for Nicaragua, who have outscored their first two opponents by a combined scord of 20-1

 CUBA 10 SOUTH AFRICA 5: The Cubans moved to 2-0 and held off South Africa in Barcelona.  Pittsburgh Pirates prospect Gift Ngoepe got South Africa started with a single and scored on a first inning error, but Alfredo Despaignes home run in the second tied the score, and Cuba broke the game open with three straight solo homers (Espinoza, Sotelo and Morales)  in the third. South Africa did rally with a four run sixth, again started by a Ngoepe double, but they never got any closer than 9-6.

 VENEZUELA 17 CHINA 2: Venezuela continued their torrid hitting display, scoring seven runs on six hits in the first inning and went on to trounce China 17-2 in five innings. Luis Landaeta’s two run shot opened the flood gates in the first inning and Venezuela never looked back. Starting pitcher Junior Guerra gave his team a solid start allowing just 2 runs on 3 hits, while striking out seven and walking two.

 JAPAN 13 CROATIA 3: The powerful Japanese again had trouble against a European novice before breaking open a close game in the seventh inning and going on to a 13-3 win in a game shortened by rain. Japan jumped out to a 2-0 first inning lead, but Croatia’s Josip Broznic hit a three run homer off Japan’s Tomohisa Otani to give Croatia a 3-2 third inning lead. Japan tied it in the fourth on a double by shortstop Ken Kume and then took the lead for good at 4-3 an inning later when Keiji Ikebe. They broke the game open in the sixth, when RF Hisayoshi Chono hit a bases loaded triple to give Japan a 7-3 lead, and they then scored six more in the seventh, coming off home runs by Go Yamaoka and Tsutomu Sasaki, and improved their record to 2-0

 CANADA 15 NETHERLANDS ANTILLES 0: Matt Kniginyzky and Vince Perkins combined on a one hit shutout, and Canada steadily built a lead and then exploded for eight runs in the seventh to beat the Netherlands Antilles.  Rene Tosoni’s first inning homer gave Canada the 1-0 lead, Jonathan Malo hit a two run homer in the fourth to stretch the lead to 5-0. A two run single by Adam Stern and  a three run homer by Brett Lawrie did the most damage in the seventh, as Canada pounded out 13 hits to move to 2-0.

 MEXICO 9 CZECH REPUBLIC 0:  For the second straight game, Mexican pitchers combined for a shutout, this time downing the hosts in Prague before 1,500 disappointed fans.  Middle reliever Francisco Cordova struck out nine in six innings, and Mexico broke the game open with a four run third inning, three of the runs coming on a Sergio Contreras home run. Edgar Quintero and Ivan Terraza also homered for Mexico.

 

get-attachment.jpgKOREA 5 SWEDEN 1: 
The largest crowd ever to see a baseball game in Sweden had their upset hopes dashed, as pitcher Seung-Lak Son went eight innings and allowed only a solo home run to centerfielder Peter Johannessen to lead the visiting Koreans. Team Korea jumped out to a two-run lead in the first inning, capitalizing on three walks by Sweden’s knuckleball pitcher Kent Karlsson. Eui-Ji Yang put Korea on the board, driving in a run with a ground ball to the shortstop and Yong-Kyu Choi added a run with an RBI-double.

 NOTES

CUBA’S GONZALEZ JUST MISSES STRIKEOUT MARK:  Cuban pitcher Miguel Gonzalez today struck out ten consecutive batters against Puerto Rico, one short of the World Cup mark of 11 set by former Major Leaguer Burt Hooton (Dodgers and Cubs) of the USA in 1971.  Gonzalez struck out 13 with one walk in 6 1/3 innings in earning the win for Cuba.

SPAIN HAS TWIN ORIOLES:   Spain’s baseball playing twin brothers, Daniel and Paco Figueroa, spent last season with the Bowie Baysox of the AA Eastern League, and are property of the Baltimore Orioles.  They are so alike they even spent the same time on the disabled list last season, but with different injuries.  Both have been impressive at the plate thus far, with Daniel going 3-8 and Paco 3-7 in Spain’s 1-1 start.

MEXICO. NICARAGUA KINGS OF THE HILL THUS FAR: Through their first two games, neither Mexico nor Nicaragua have allowed an earned run.  Mexico’s pitchers have 23 strikeouts and have allowed 12 hits in 18 innings, while Nicaragua has allowed one unearned run in their first two games, both of which they have won by mercy rule.

FORMER MAJOR  LEAGUE STARS WALKER, PIAZZA, WHITT ON THE COACHING LINES:  Team Canada’s continued success stems from their coaching staff.  Head coach Ernie Whitt spent 15 seasons in the Major Leagues as a catcher with the Blue Jays, Braves, Red Sox and Orioles, and was a 1985 All-Star.  Canadian coach Larry Walker spent 17 seasons with   the Montreal Expos, Colorado Rockies, and St. Louis Cardinals and was National League Most Valuable Player in 1997 and was a five time All-Star. Italy will begin play in Round Two and will have Mike Piazza on their bench.  Piazza, easily one of the greatest catchers in Major League history, was a 16 year veteran for the Dodgers, Marlins, Mets and Padres and was a 10 time all-star.   

LEAVE TV, MANAGE PUERTO RICO: ESPN Baseball Tonight analyst Eduardo Perez took a leave from ESPN to manage the Puerto Rican team. They were good to me, he said. They gave me 30 days to manage Puerto Rico in the World Cup. Perez, the son of Hall of Famer Tony Perez, said he is proud to do it. He played for seven Major League teams from his debut with the Angels in 1993 to his retirement after playing for the Mariners in 2006. That same year, he became a Baseball Tonight analyst. He played college ball at Florida State and played the 2001 year in Japan with the Hanshin Tigers.

MAZZOTTI TRIES TO BRING ITALIAN SUCCESS TO SPAIN: Mauro Mazzotti, 50, is the only manager to win three Italian Serie A championships, Rimini 1999, Bologna 2003 and 2005 and Grosseto in 2007. Currently he manages Rimini, which spent most of this past season in first place in the Italian League, but his goal now is to get Spain into round two of the World Cup as the manager for the national team. Mazzotti, who has a degree physical education, speaks three languages, his native Italian, English and has handled press conferences a the World Cup in Spanish. He has been a scout in Europe for the Seattle Mariners and became the coordinator for the scouting in Europe for the Houston Astros. 

ITALIANS IN SPANISH BASEBALL NOT UNCOMMON: Mazzotti is not the first Italian coach to manage the Spanish National Team. Pepe Guilizzoni, the technical commissioner for the Barcelona tournament, also managed the Spanish national team. The veteran on many Italian campaigns coached the Spanish from 1884 to 1988.  Guilizzoni brought Spain to its first World Cup in 1988. He had coached the national team to third in the European tournament the year before and since Italy was a host team, Spain qualified.  He was also the first coach from Spain in any sport to bring a team to play in post-Revolutionary Cuba when the Spanish national baseball team played there in 1988. Guilizzoni, who played his first baseball game in 1954, married in Milano in 1965. In 1967, he was in need of a job and came up with the idea of a baseball team. He put an ad in a newspaper in the Milano suburban town of Novara. In Nov. 1967, he formed the team that played its first game in March of 1968. It later became part of the lore of Italian baseball. 

JAPANESE TAKE A DIFFERENT ROUTE TO BUILD A ROSTER:   Team Japan, even though comprising amateur players and coaches from the industrial teams only, has a number of forthcoming draft hopefuls of Nippon Professional League on this World Cup roster, and is 2-0 thus far. Manager Yasuhiko Sugimoto lead the Japanese National Team at the 2005 World cup, Inter-Continental Cup in 2006 and to the top of the Asian Championship in 2009. Most of the players joined the 2009 Asian Championship except for the pitchers, which had been represented by college players only, and are veterans of international competitions.  Star players include Takashi Saito, left handed pitcher (East Japan?Railway), Hisayoshi Chono, outfielder (Honda), Kenji Suzuki, catcher (Nippon Express) .  Ikuhiro Kiyota, outfielder, (NTT East-Japan) and the M.V.P. of Asian Championship last August as well as Keiji Ikebe, outfielder (Nippon Oil ENEOS) are key members of this Japanese team.

ATTENDANCE STRONG:  Day three saw a near-capacity crowd of almost 10,000 attend the Germany-USA game in Regensburg, while the largest crowd ever for Sweden, almost 2,500 was on hand for the Sweden-Korea game in Sundbyberg. The first two days of play saw standing room crowds in Barcelona for Cuba-Puerto Rico (capacity 2,500), near capacity crowds of over 5,500 in Regensburg, Germany, a first day crowd of 2,500 in Prague and a crowd of over 1,500 in Sundyberg. Ticket sales in the Netherlands and Italy for the second round are also very strong, with teams at select sites still to be determined. 

THE DIGNITARY WATCH: Cuban consul to Barcelona Carlos Castillo attended Friday’s game vs. South Africa in Barcelona. Former International Olympic Committee president Juan Antonio Samaranch attended Spain’s opening win over South Africa…Samaranch was instrumental in bringing baseball to the Olympic programme  in Barcelona in 1992…baseball was denied re-entry into the Olympics for 2016 recently, making it the largest sport in the world not on the Olympic programme…on Thursday, Bruce Bourbeau, the U.S. consul stationed in Barcelona was joined by Ayaz Hussain, consul general from Pakistan for the Puerto Rico-Cuba game.

Round 1 Games come to close for Baseball World Cup



local service guys hang with team USA.JPGWe are now well into the first round of games at the 2009 World Cup we have had a few upsets. Not field related but  competition wise. USA’s losing to Venezuela. WOW. Great game and exciting but it wasnt supposed to happen.   Not that it couldn’t happen..it wasn’t supposed to in my book.  Being a little biased here but we had them headed for Holland.  Oh well..it is a game of adjustments.  With that being said that threw a monkey wrench into our staffing of the 2009 World Cup to help teams so we are moving one of our guys ( Chad Kropff) from Amsterdam to Italy.   ( We had a few of our boys attend the game and hang with team USA guys) Team USA took a big hit by getting beat by VEnz. But better these guys than night game regensburg.JPGCuba or Australia or even Holland later on.  Its going to be a very competitive tournament.  USA has some strong bats and a good group of starters… but even last night struggled with the junk pitchers.  That is what happened when they got beat by Venezuela.  They were up 7-1 in the through the 2nd then they brought in a guy who through nothing but off speed stuff and basically stopped the bats until the 10th inning.  The new international rule of putting to guys on base for each team went into effect.  Final was 13-9 Venz. Tonight we beat Germany in front of the packed house.  The german fans really surprised me as they knew quite a bit about baseball.  When to cheer, boo etc.. Great fans! 


field set up.JPG 

Finishing up here in Regensburg this weekend before heading south the ball park is holding up very well and the attendance of the games have been great. Last night we had almost 10,000 an din the past 3 days have drawn over 20,000 just in Regensburg.  Prague Stockholm Zagreb Barcelona also turning in big  numbers.   Thanks to a great Ground crew of volunteers from the local teams.  You guys are the best!

groundcrew.JPGThe big story is that we are over the hump with the 1st Round venues. Thanks to dennis, Budge, Kevin, greg and Joe along with of the LOC folks and volunteers it worked out well.

 

World Cup Venue Armin-Wolf Baseball Arena… Set for Round 1


regensburg panorama.JPGWithout a doubt the field of play in Regensburg Germany will be one the top playing surfaces in the tournament.  Martin Mueller the person leading the charge for the field maintenance prepartions has set the standard pretty high for the other World Cup sites.  Attention to details and following a plan have provided a successful venue for the tournament that will no doubt earn praises from the teams that play on it.

martin mueller final touches.JPG 

World Cup teams start practice Tuesday in Regensburg.  Round 1 teams playing here include China, Germany, USA and Venezuela. 

Final touch ups for 2009 Baseball World Cup venues


parma stadium field.JPGThe 2009 World Cup starts next week and as usual there are quite a few loose ends. The logistics of this tournament are the most challenging I have ever experienced.  Shuffling our field guys around europe between 1st round cities in Zagreb Croatia, Sundyburg Stockholm Amsterdam and Rotterdam, Prague, Barcelona and 14 sites in Italy is a FT job in itself.  Our hosts have been most gracious and plans are underway for field maintenance clinics in Prague and Rotterdam as well as Italy.   With over 100 pro players representing there countries on various teams the competition will be very strong. ( Parma Field Photo in there new ballpark)florence scoreboard.JPG  ( How about the Roman numeral scoreboard…in florence!)

We had materials shipped over from Turface and Beacon on this one but only for a few parks. Clearing customs in Italy has also been a bit frustrating but we are working through it.  Just to many and to expensive for every venue to have all the bells and whistles so the guys are having to be inovative in building and maintaining the fields with what they have locally.  Easier said than done in most locations.  The crew we have on this one is from all over the USA.  Tom Neilson  Louisville Bats, Dennis Klien Texas Rangers, Kevin Moses Camden River Sharks, Jeff Nancarrow and eric Odgen Daytona Cubs, Joe Skrabak Staten Island Yankees,  Chad Kropff VPI, Rick Newville USA Training Center Oklahoma City, Budgie Clark , Chad Olsen and few to be named later.  Heading to regensburg then Prague Tomorrow.  

parma sod delivery truck.JPG                            How about the covered sod truck.  Pretty cool..literally.

 

piancenza field.JPG
                           Field in Piancenza draggin with a carpet material. 


Thumbnail image for amsterdam.JPG
              Round 2  Amsterdam Stadium taking shape…with New lights for the tournament.

 

barcelona.JPG
        1st Round Barcelona Stadium at Mount Juic with Olympic Tower in Background.

For those of you TV satellite dish owners you can tune into the games. Here is the schedule.

http://www.2009baseballworldcup.com/fileadmin/user_upload/Schedule/TV_Schedule.pdf

The MLB Network is suppose to cover some games as well so keep your eye on the tube.

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