World Baseball Classic Qualifier Preview: Sydney (Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, South Africa)

The first qualifier for the World Baseball Classic will feature an eclectic group of three “Commonwealth” nations in addition to the Philippines, and while it’s likely that the host Australians will come out on top, it will be interesting to see how the others do, especially New Zealand, which arguably has the fastest-growing baseball program in the world.

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World Baseball Classic Update for February 9, 2016

As we barrel towards the World Baseball Classic Qualifiers, here’s the latest news:

 

The Run-Up to the Sydney Qualifiers:

First off, the most important news for all of us is how we’ll be able to watch it. And good news! In the USA and Canada, all games will be on the World Baseball Classic website! Go to the link to see how else you can watch it, as select games will be on TV on MLB Network and all games will be on ESPN in the Pacific Rim area, although some games will be tape-delayed.

There have been some changes to rosters since they were first announced. Perhaps the most notable addition has been that infielder Gift Ngoepe has been added to South Africa. Probably the best African baseball player in history, Gift is now on the Pirates’ 40-man roster, which probably delayed it being official.

Various teams have been playing informal warm-up games in the run-up to the qualifiers. You can see pictures and info on some of New Zealand’s play on their Facebook page, for example.

The New Zealanders will be wearing #37 on their uniforms in memory of Lincoln Holdzkom, who died in a car accident last year.

In other WBC news:

Tickets are now on sale for the Panama City portion of the Qualifiers.

Attention Britons and people with fairly close British ancestry: the United Kingdom’s baseball team is holding open tryouts on Sunday, March 6th!

Athletics catching prospect Bruce Maxwell, who was born in Germany, will be part of the German team in their qualifying tournament.

There are a few other stories I’ve missed, but I’m hard at work on the WBC Qualifier preview for Sydney, so those other stories will have to wait until next time!

 

 

A Thank You, a Reminder and some other things about the 2016 Blogathon

It’s now almost two days since the last post of the 2016 Blogathon went up, and we are at $610 dollars, over $110 over our $500 goal for Roswell Park Alliance Foundation and Roswell Park Cancer Institute. That is great, and I have a lot of people that I have to thank: the various people who have contributed books and other possible giveaways (I’ll be letting you know the winners once the donations are done), the people who donated, and, of course, the many people contributed pieces to the Blogathon.

However, the drive is not yet over! As I mentioned in the previous paragraph, the donations are not yet done! They are open until Super Bowl Sunday! And remember, if you donate, you have a chance to get…

  • Playing With The Enemy by Gary W. Moore
  • A “Living Baseball Card” mini-documentary on Andre Dawson
  • 2007 AAA Baseball Heroes comic
  • Signed copy of 501 Baseball Books Fans Must Read Before They Die by Ron Kaplan (contributed by Kaplan)
  • Wild and Inside by Stefan Fatsis (Contributed by Kayla Thompson)
  • Signed Copy of The Baseball Codes by Jason Turbow and Michael Duca (contributed by the authors)
  • One of three copies of Out of the Park Baseball (Contributed by Out of the Park Developments)
  • Hank Greenberg: The Hero of Heroes, by John Rosengren (Contributed by Sean Lahman)
  • The Last Hero: A Life of Henry Aaron,  by Howard Bryant (Contributed by Lahman)

 

So, please, donate!

And, what’s more, I am proud to announce that THE BASEBALL CONTINUUM BLOGATHON FOR CHARITY WILL RETURN IN 2017.

But, again, until then… DONATE!

 

Every Piece from the 2016 Blogathon

The Blogathon’s written portion is over. We had a great bunch of pieces from people from all across the spectrum of baseball: we had people from all over the world write pieces, and they ranged from award-winning pro writers all the way down to college students who are just getting started. And they wrote about all different kinds of things! In addition, I contributed pieces throughout Friday and pulled some pieces out of the archives to fill in those parts of the morning where nobody was awake for. And, remember, you can still donate until next Sunday.

Anyway, if you missed anything, here are links to all of the pieces from the #Blogathon (not counting “breather” posts where I posted about giveaways, who was writing, what you missed during the night, etc.), in chronological order (if you want to skip nearly all of my stuff, scroll down to Day 2):

Day 1 (all done by Dan Glickman):

Introduction

Famous For Something Else: Eddy Alvarez, Silver Medal Speed Skater

Baseball Card Haikus

Moe Berg’s Secret Agent Files

A Random Musing on the Fairport Little League Money-Grabbing Promotion

Songs of October (Post-2015 update)

On The Joe Maddon Head

Related To Somebody Famous For Something Else: Tony Lupien, WWE Star John Cena’s Grandpa

WBC News for January 29, 2016

International Baseball Culture: Mitsuru Adachi’s “Touch”, Part 1, which ironically doesn’t have much baseball in it

2017 WBC Team USA Projections Version 0.1

2017 WBC Team Dominican Republic projections Version 0.1

Three Mini-Book Reviews

Renaming Moved Teams

Mr. Go, if adapted for American audiences

Musings on AAA Baseball

The Sliding Scale of Fictional Baseball Realism

First References to Off-The-Field Innovations and Innovators

BREAKING OOTP, Ep. 5: The No-Homers Club

The 50th BIZARRE BASEBALL CULTURE: DC’s greatest heroes and villains… PLAY BASEBALL?

Rochester Red Wings Programs of the Past: 1990

Scanned Hats

Day 2:

Jonathan Weeks: The Greatest Man I Have Known

Mets Daddy: The Highs And Lows of 1986

Seth Poho: The 2016 Nuclear Plant Team

CONTINUUM CLASSIC: The “Backyard Baseball” Kids: Where Are They Now?

CONTINUUM CLASSIC: 2007 AAA BASEBALL HEROES

CONTINUUM CLASSIC- The time I wrote an obituary for the 2012 Baltimore Orioles’ playoff hopes. Whoops.

Yakyu Night Owl: Dreams of Kenji-kun

Matt Wojciak: 2015 Middle Relief Report

Matt Taylor: Adam Jones Is a Difference Maker for Baltimore

Diane Firstman: Baseball Crossword Puzzle

Kayla Thompson: “Wild And Outside” Review

Dan Hirsch: The Most Average Player in Baseball History

Dan Szymborski: Doughy Nerd Gets A Job

Stacey Gotsulias: Sonnet 13

Jason Cohen: Reminiscing about Chien-Ming Wang and What Could Have Been

Eric Stephen: On Baseball and Brothers

Jake Mintz and Jordan Shusterman: Nelly’s “Batter Up”

Sean Lahman: How Soon is Now? Reds Fans React to Rebuild Plan

Howard Cole: Thoughts on Retiring Roberto Clemente’s Number 21

Jeff Katz: Anniversaries and World Series

Matthew Kory: “My Friend Bud”

Mike Oz: The History of Baseball Players Rapping, Abridged

Graveyard Baseball- Your guide to adopting an NPB team Part 12: Saitama Seibu Lions (埼玉西武ライオンズ)

Nate Fish: Ezra, the Ballplayer

Day 3:

Ron Kaplan- Read All About It: Blogs That Will Keep You Up on Baseball Books

Chris Kabout: Former Red Sox farmhand gives a hand in battle against cancer

Andrew Martin: A talk with Alex George

CLASSIC CONTINUUM- Bizarre Baseball Culture’s “SHORTSTOP SQUAD”

CLASSIC CONTINUUM- BIZARRE BASEBALL CULTURE: COSMIC SLAM

Greg Gay: Victim of Circumstance

Hawkins DuBois- Searching for Baseball’s New Frontier: Examining the World of Mental Skills Training

Dan Weigel: Ranking the 15 most entertaining European baseball team names

James Attwood: Slow to Change is Not Always a Bad Thing

The Answer Key to Diane Firstman’s Crossword Puzzle

Stacey Folkemer: Baseball is more than a game, it’s part of the family

Stephanie Liscio- Forgotten Champions: The 1945 Cleveland Buckeyes

Patrick Dubuque: A Ghost Among Cardboard

Alex Skillin: Are we entering the Golden Age of Shortstops?

Gary Cieradkowski: Win Ballou

Jessica Quiroli- The Minor League Baseball Lawsuit: Wealth vs. the Working Class

The Author of @OldHossRadbourn: Three Catches

Kazuto Yamazaki: NPB Bat-Flip Juggernauts to Watch For

Jason Turbow: Thon-A-Thon

David Brown- Taters, tobacco and terror: Baseball in the Future

Marc Normandin: Bret Saberhagen’s case for the Hall of Nearly Great

Dan Epstein: The First Time

Michael Clair: An (Abbreviated) People’s History of the World Through Baseball Cards

Jen Mac Ramos: Baseball Bonds

 

So, thank you!

 

 

(Blogathon ’16) Jen Mac Ramos: Baseball Bonds

This guest-post is part of the 2016 Baseball Continuum Blogathon For Charity, benefiting the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation. The Roswell Park Alliance Foundation is the charitable arm of Roswell Park Cancer Institute and funds raised will be “put to immediate use to increase the pace from research trials into improved clinical care, to ensure state-of-the-art facilities, and to help improve the quality of life for patients and their families.” Please donate through the Blogathon’s GoFundMe page. Also, please note that the opinions and statements of the writer are not necessarily those of the Baseball Continuum or it’s webmaster.

I was 16 when I first took an interest in baseball. I didn’t grow up with sports and I leaned more toward art than anything else.

Something changed, though. I watched an NLDS game on a whim in 2007 and thought, “Hey, I actually like this sport.” I grew more invested as the Postseason went on and I knew this wasn’t going to be something that leaves me.

***

My father was a Mets fan when he lived in New Jersey in the 1980s. He can tell you stories about watching the 1986 Mets.

Growing up, a love of baseball was never instilled in me, though. Instead, I was the one who brought baseball into the family.

At first, my father thought that I had gotten interested in baseball because my friend at the time loved baseball.

I remember getting into a fight about it with him before my first game—Boston Red Sox at Oakland Athletics, May 24, 2008. He told me that it wasn’t something that I had ever been interested in before, but I know that I was going to be interested in it for a long time.

***

I dragged my father to more games. I was about 18 then and I didn’t have a car. After a while, I guess he realized that I truly loved the sport and everything surrounding it.

He began watching games when I wasn’t around. I had gone to college in Oakland—about two hours away from my hometown—and he would call me after the Giants game to talk about it. He would also watch A’s games, because my brother became a fan after that game in 2008.

***

2014 came around and my dad and I went to New Jersey. I had originally planned to go to Trenton alone to see the Richmond Flying Squirrels, the Giants’ Double-A affiliate, take on the Thunder. My dad wanted to come with and drive me there, so we did.

As the Flying Squirrels came out of the dugout, I started greeting the players—most of them responding with, “Hey, what are you doing here!” I had covered the team when they were in High-A the year before and most were surprised to see me in New Jersey.

Matt Duffy came out of the dugout and I said hi to him. Excitedly after, I told my dad that Duffy is one to watch.

***

August rolls around and Matt Duffy gets called up. I remember telling my dad, “Remember him?? We saw him in Trenton with the Flying Squirrels!” My dad didn’t forget. Not because he was intrigued by the way he played, though I’m sure that’s a part of it, but because he was surprised Duffy had remembered me from his short time in the California League.

From then on, whenever Matt Duffy did anything great for the Giants, we would call each other up and say, “DID YOU SEE MATT DUFFY DO THAT.”

***

The Giants made the postseason. Even year and all that. I decided to buy two tickets to Game 4 of the NLDS against the Washington Nationals. My dad had never gone to a postseason game before and I figured this would be a great father-daughter bonding moment.

This game ended up being the Hunter Pence Fence Catch game and I had never seen my dad more into baseball than at that game.

I wanted to take my dad to a World Series game, but so many factors derailed that idea. He told me to go, though, because he wanted me to go to a World Series game.

***

When the Giants won the World Series, I called my dad up immediately. I yelled, “MATT DUFFY GETS A RING.” Instantaneously, my dad started recalling how we saw him in Trenton and how he remembered me and now he’s a World Series champion.

***

It’s 2016 now. My dad still reminds me of that time in Trenton and asks me if I’m ever going to interview Matt Duffy now that he’s a fully fledged big leaguer.

Duffy placed second in National League Rookie of the Year voting in 2015, which exceeded my expectations for how well he would perform at the Major League level.

“You should interview Duffy at spring training,” my dad continues to tell me.

“I’ll try, Dad,” I say. “I’ll try.”

 

Jen Mac Ramos is a writer who is currently a grad student at the University of Southern California and has a bachelor’s degree in English. As a life-long resident of the Golden State, Jen grew up in Northern California and roots for most sports teams in the area. Their work can be found at Purple Row and Today’s Knuckleball. When they’re not writing, they can be found on Twitter talking about a variety of different subjects at @jenmacramos, or knitting.

This guest-post has been part of the 2016 Baseball Continuum Blogathon For Charity, benefiting the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation. The Roswell Park Alliance Foundation is the charitable arm of Roswell Park Cancer Institute and funds raised will be “put to immediate use to increase the pace from research trials into improved clinical care, to ensure state-of-the-art facilities, and to help improve the quality of life for patients and their families.” Please donate through the Blogathon’s GoFundMe page. Also, please note that the opinions and statements of the writer were not necessarily those of the Baseball Continuum or it’s webmaster.

(Blogathon ’16) Michael Clair: An (Abbreviated) People’s History of the World Through Baseball Cards

This guest-post is part of the 2016 Baseball Continuum Blogathon For Charity, benefiting the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation. The Roswell Park Alliance Foundation is the charitable arm of Roswell Park Cancer Institute and funds raised will be “put to immediate use to increase the pace from research trials into improved clinical care, to ensure state-of-the-art facilities, and to help improve the quality of life for patients and their families.” Please donate through the Blogathon’s GoFundMe page. Also, please note that the opinions and statements of the writer are not necessarily those of the Baseball Continuum or it’s webmaster.

In the beginning, there was nothing. Just a swirl of atoms and gasses mixing about in a sort of cosmic stew. Perhaps there were some Lovecraftian elder gods with tentacle faces flitting about but honestly, that’s all just conjecture.

And then, for some unknown reason, everything smashed together. This was the Big Bang.

From there … everything was set into motion, like when you’re playing Mouse Trap and you flip the switch that starts the aforementioned trap. Eventually, single celled organisms had to combine into fish who had to crawl out of the ocean and onto land.

Those things then turned into dinosaurs. I think.

Of course, Carl Everett may disagree with that.

Humanity eventually showed up, evolving from apes. Somehow,like Leo DiCaprio in “The Revenant,” they survived against the cold and the dark and the ancient beasts that wandered the world. After stumbling around, smashing rocks into things, the first farmers showed up about 8,500 years ago to plant crops.

It was at this time that animals were first domesticated, too. Little could these wild and violent creatures have imagined what would one day become of them:

With our faithful Labradoodles by our side, humans were safe to grow and learn. 5,000 years later, the first signs of writing appeared. Some say this was the first thing a homo sapien ever scratched out:

Flash forward to 800 BC and not only do we see the very first Homer, who is busy penning the Odyssey (side note: I can’t believe Topps has never come out with a Homer’s Odyssey line of cards, with dinger gods receiving Grecian-style prints), but, fittingly, that’s also when the Iron Age began.

Jacked bros will tell you that it’s never ended.

A few hundred years later, alchemists got busy looking for the philosopher’s stone that could transmute base metals into gold. They generally dressed like this:

Then in the 5th century King Arthur and his McKnights of the Round Table showed up. If you’re trying to tell me that Lancelot did not look like this, then you clearly haven’t been attending many Ren Fairs.

Soon enough, the Renaissance was upon us, ushering in a new world of emerging thought and, most importantly, art. A new understanding of human physics and how to depict them made humans look almost lifelike. Almost.

But the Renaissance would eventually be swept away under the coal-fueled wheels of the Industrial Revolution. Soon, the repeatable precision that came from factories and cameras forced man to become machine and art to change its very definition.

Soon after, the Wright Brothers would get tired of riding bikes all the time and they discovered flight. Sadly, it left poor Sean Lowe without a purpose any longer.

After some of the worst wars man had ever seen (shockingly, not a whole lot of World War I baseball cards featuring the poetry of Wilfred Owen), man discovered nuclear fusion and the world would be plunged into a new terror.

That fear would force humans to look to the stars. And if you believe the “official story”, we walked upon the moon. Yeah, right. Wake up sheeple.

Not much happened after that until the internet was created. Finally, people could send letters without having to write anything down, while also doing sex stuff without ever leaving their houses.

And cell phones were invented. And people could do more types of sex stuff without leaving their houses.

What will the future bring? Will we soon walk amongst the stars? Will we discover the purpose of existence? Will we be able to order pizza through emoji? Humans may have no idea, but baseball cards do.

(Image sources: Baseball Card Bust, eBay, Trading Card Database, Stunning Purple, This Card is Cool, Garvey Cey Russell Lopes, and probably more.)

Michael Clair writes for MLB.com’s Cut4 and will likely one day suffocate under his baseball card collection. Follow him @clairbearattack.

This guest-post was part of the 2016 Baseball Continuum Blogathon For Charity, benefiting the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation. The Roswell Park Alliance Foundation is the charitable arm of Roswell Park Cancer Institute and funds raised will be “put to immediate use to increase the pace from research trials into improved clinical care, to ensure state-of-the-art facilities, and to help improve the quality of life for patients and their families.” Please donate through the Blogathon’s GoFundMe page. Also, please note that the opinions and statements of the writer were not necessarily those of the Baseball Continuum or it’s webmaster.