Results tagged ‘ World Baseball Classic ’

BASEBALL/SOFTBALL UP FOR OLYMPIC VOTE THIS WEEKEND!


sydney 2000

This weekend the IOC will vote on 3 major items when they meet in Rio.   The host city for the 2020 Olympics, a new chief to replace  J. Rogge and which of 3 sports ( Squash, Wrestling or baseball/softball)  will be included in the 2020 games.

As for  which sport should be chosen as the  26th discipline  in my opinion, that decision should be made based on what the federations have accomplished towards improving the sports worldwide exposure both on the field and off.   The IOC members also  should consider what sport will be more appropriate at building relationships through teamwork at all ages and genders.  These values make our world a better place to live.

Beijing Olympic Recovery Mode

Wrestling was booted off the Olympic program just a few months ago and according to their federation have made huge changes to improve the sport.    From what I have read  they changed the scoring system and added two women competition classes.  I don’t see much change here even though I think the sport should be in the Olympics because of its tradition.   I could think of a few others that should have been considered for removal way before wrestling but that’s just me.

Squash is banking on the fact that they may not need a major sporting venue. I understand they’ve  also developed a new type of graphic scoring program.   I’m sure the sport has a large following  but  I travel quite a bit and I don’t see a lot of squash tournaments around nor do i hear people talking about the history of squash such as who their favorite team is, etc…  There is a World Squash Hall of fame and the current  top 10  players  are  from Egypt, England, Spain and France.   ( five from Egypt)

The Spirit of Olympic Baseball

Baseball and Softball have changed things drastically thanks to the leadership of  Don Porter and Riccardo Fricarri co-presidents of the World baseball softball confederation.    After being out of the Olympic program for 8 years,  they have retooled and made strides in growing the game around the world in both genders.      They have combined the baseball and softball organizations into one federation.  65 million participants play  the game around the world. They have  also developed a shorter competition format and the ability to host  both sports in the same venue instead of building separate facilities for both softball and baseball.  (That was a bit tricky but it will be cool!)

In the past  ( baseball and softball) was considered  an “American dominated sport”.  That tagline has really changed.

1.  During the past 3  World Baseball Classics you have seen teams such as Holland, Japan, Korea, Dominican Republic, Italy and Puerto Rico when top spots in the competition.

2.   Who won the 2012 Pan American Games?  Canada!

3.    Who won the last Softball Olympics? Japan!

4.    Who won the 2008 Beijing Baseball Olympics?   Korea!

5.    Who won the last 2011 Baseball World Cup featuring 16 top teams from around the world?    Holland 1st, Cuba 2nd Canada 3rd.

Bottom line the sport has emerged in the past 10 years as a true world sport with millions of kids and adults playing the game.   In my opinion (all though a bit biased as you can tell from the photos)  I’m pretty sure I would vote for baseball/softball.

Olympic Games are Underway...Rain an all!

I haven’t really followed who will be the next President of the IOC but most people are talking about Thomas Bach.  He’s from germany and supposedly made the suggestion to softball and baseball to combine federations back when they were trying to figure out what to do to get back in the games.

athens 2004

The 2020 site selection vote also makes for a nice dessert at this IOC function. Madrid, Istanbul and Japan will present to the group.   My take is  Spain has some economic issues to figure out however they already have most of the venues completed and they are a sports crazed nation but the summer games were just in Europe.    Istanbul is a 14 hour car ride to Syria which isn’t great timing for that group considering whats going on today,  however i understand its a beautiful country.    Then there is Japan … they are probably the safest country outside of the USA and feature baseball and softball as the top sport.     I think Japan has the inside track on this one but you never know.

It’s going to be an interesting weekend as the IOC members tend to vote based on protocols that no one has been able to figure out.   Stay tuned!

“United at the Seams – Divided by Country!” Congrats to the 2013 WBC Groundcrews


???????????????????????????????With Rounds 1 and 2 coming to a close there have been some great stories and awesome competition during the first 2 weeks of the WBC.   The Games in PR were packed as were the game sin Japan.  Country pride says a lot for each of the teams competing.  I love the ground crew T-Shirts  in Taichung.  “United at the seams divided by country.”     In our case its more united by the rake…  nevertheless a pretty cool T-shirt.   The fields have played well all the way around so far.    Some really hard work by each of the crews and the local staffs in each country.     Looking forward to seeing some photos from our US ballparks that hosted some of the first round action.

2013 WBC - Tokyo Dome 035Chad Olsen has been overseeing our Japan fields, Kevin Moses,  Joe and Darrell  in Taichung and Chad K.,  Dennis and myself in San Juan along with some help from Eric, and Anthony.    Our groundcrew  in San Jaun had the tarp down to a mere 1:30 seconds.    With rains threatening almost everyday we were able to get everything in with only a slight delay on opening night.    Tough to do when  NOAA‘s  satellite services were down for a few days but they were so pumped to to a great job it made it easy.

???????????????????????????????A big thank you goes out to Deborah Martorell Meteorologist at WAPA.   She really helped us out with some accurate info until the NOAA satellite radar came back up.   Onto round two in Miami and the final in SF.     Good luck guys!

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2013 WBC International Ballparks


Plans are well underway for the World Baseball Classic  in all of the ballparks around the world.  Its hard to believe that the event  starts in about 3 weeks!     As for the international venues,  in the first round we have Hiram Bithorn in San Juan Puerto Rico, Fukuoka Dome- Japan , Intercontinental Stadium- Taichung Taiwan and Tokyo Dome in the 2nd round.

Hiram Bithorn Stadium –  The old park built in 1962 is seeing some upgrades to the field,  batting tunnels, padding,  basically a little  facelift.   Hiram Bithorn has seen 2 previous rounds of the WBC  action and the teams competing at this latin themed ballpark will create some real excitement for the fans!    Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Venezuela and Spain. each club loaded with big leaguers.   It will seat about 20,000 and is an open air synthetic turf field. Same dimensions of 325 down the lines and 400 to center.

fukuoka moundFukuoka Dome – Also known as Fukuoka Yahoo.    We last played here during the 2006 All Star Tour.   An all synthetic turf field with great site lines.  Not a lot of improvements but they will see  a few upgrades to the mounds and homeplate. It seats about 38,000 and was Japan’s first re-tractable roof stadium.  With dimensions of 328 down the line and 400 to center its a big park with quick turf.  The teams competing here are Japan, Cuba,  China and Brazil. intercontienentalIntercontinental stadium –  We just played the 2012 All-Star tour in this venue as well as several Baseball World Cups over the years.  An all grass playing surface that is undergoing some improvements to the outfield and infield for the tournament.   Our guys, Kevin Moses and Joe Skrabek are currently there assisting the local governments with the improvements.  With distances of 325 down the lines and 400 to center field we witnessed some great baseball here for the 2012 All Star Tour.  The fans in Taiwan are second to none when it comes to supporting baseball.   Exhibition games are being played in Dio-Liu stadium which is about an hour outside of Taichung.  Teams competing here include Korea, Taipei, Nederlands and Australia. The Tokyo Dome aka: The EggTokyo Dome –  MLB’s season opener took place here in 2012.  A very long history with MLB and Yomuri.  A great partner in developing developing the game in Asia.  They will see the basic improvements to the mound and home plate areas. A great ground crew headed up by Tamba and Hokike. Good luck to all the teams and federations.  Its going to be a great tournament.

2012 World Baseball Classic Qualifier Venues & Fields


Based on all the comments from folks in Taiwan and Panama the ground crews have done a wonderful job with the renovations and field maintenance operations of Rod Carew Stadium, Panama  and New Taipei City Stadium, Taipei.   In Taiwan they renovated all the mounds added 50 tons of clay to the infield and overseeded..  At Rod Carew a totally new field was constructed as the old one had become slow to drain.   The Zoysia turf at Rod Carew is only 3 weeks old.  But holding up ok.

Great job to the guys in both sites.

New Taipei City Stadium prepares for 2012 WBC qualifier


New Taipei City stadium also known as Xinzhuang stadium is preparing for the WBC qualifier.  New pitching mounds and bullpens along with new grass and a renovated infield surface will provide an improved playing surface.  The ballpark is familiar to big events  it has recently Hosted the MLB All Star Tour and past World Baseball Cup tournaments.   A smaller ballpark that seats about 12500 the venue will also feature some updates in the locker rooms and batting tunnels.  Don’t forget to check out the games later this month.  They begin November 15th.  New Zealand, Taiwan, Thailand and the Philippines.  www.worldbaseballclassic.com

Canada wins 1st WBC game against Great Britain


All in total the field and venue held up well in front of 4000 people. Canada moved up a notch with a win over GB 11-1 that was ended in the 7th due to the 10 run rule.    Compliments to great ground crew from Germany along with Dan and Kevin.  After 9 two hour practices these guys really did a great job holding the field together.

 

 

WBC Workouts for Great Britain & Canada


A great first day for the two clubs at the renovated ball park in Regensburg for the World Baseball Classic.  Field held up great as did the weather.  GB’s Sam Dempster was excited to see the field and the upgrades.  Canada’s Ernie Whitt and Greg Hamilton also had some great things to say about Armin Wolfe Arena grounds.  Always good to get the first day over.  Martin Brunner and his groundcrew did a great job managing the practices.  With 8 practices and only 6 games it sounds a bit upside down but that’s baseball.

GB’s squad actually met yesterday for the first time with the pros that joined them.  i think with the influx of pro guys for Czech, Germany and GB this will be an interesting tournament.  By the way… Thanks to Dan Bonanno and Kevin for painting some awesome logos!   You guys rock!

WBC Qualifier sites preparing for games


Rod Carew Stadium in Panama continues to make progress.  Fields and facilities are being upgraded with some major and minor improvements to host the World Baseball Classic.     Regensburg received a new infield and Taiwan will be seeing some new mounds and home plates as well as turf upgrades.    Even the training sites are planning improvements in Managua, Santiago, Cartagena .  These improvements include field clinics and training for the local staffs which establishes a higher field of play surface for the clubs to train there athletes.    Its not a surprise that “better fields make better players”.

Estadio Rod Carew to replace field for 2012 WBC


After 12 years it looks like Rod Carew stadium in Panama will get a new field.    After working with a great crew and staff on this field for many years,  Pandeportes and the LOC committee  is replacing the field before the 2012 World Baseball Classic qualifier in November.

The WBC is considerd the new Baseball World Cup.  The last World Cup was held here 2 years ago.   During the last world cup at Rod Carew, we had several rain outs due to pour drainage  of the outfield and infield turf areas.  The USA vs.Canada Bronze medal game was cancelled and we almost had to cancel the final.     With the rainy season ( Oct-Nov)  typically dropping an average of 12 to 15   inches of rain each month, a new field with an updated drainage system  was badly needed.   The old system served its purpose over the years. In fact back in 2003 during the Olympic Qualifier we had similar rains fall but the field was only a few years old and handled the water pretty well.

The work plan is to remove a couple feet of material which includes about 6inches of thatch of 12 year old Bermuda along with a series of geo clothe fabrics.  We will be adding a new drainage system, irrigation system,  10″inches of sand for the grass,  and the new sod will be zoysia Turfgrass.  We used zoysia on the new fields in Aguadulce and Santiago when they were renovated in 2010 for the World Cup.   They have performed very well.  Along with the  new field there will upgrades to the stadium drainage and locker rooms.  Thanks again to Gil, Guy, Lenny, Ruben and Lauren for making this happen!

http://video.telemetro.com/video/MLB-inspecciona-el-estadio-Rod-Carew/8ef814b252eb73d36b86f5d4de0dc050

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