World Baseball Classic Update 8/27/2022: Team USA sets coaching staff and continues to grow, plus other news

Another busy week of WBC News, so here’s a bit of a catch-up:

There will be another WBC post tomorrow.

World Baseball Classic Update 7/27/2022: An Aussie confirmed, Team Pakistan starts to take shape, and more.

Curtis Mead, a top-100 prospect who plays in the Rays organization, told an MiLB reporter that he plans to play for Australia next year. It should be noted, however, that the Adelaide-born infielder has had an injury since then, so that could change.

In Qualifier news, Team Pakistan is starting to take shape. Infielder Alex Khan of West Virginia University has been confirmed by the Pakistani team’s Twitter feed, and Pakistani-Canadian infielder Ahmad Mahmood (a commit to a community college in California) has had his participation confirmed by both his Twitter bio and a tweet from his old baseball academy. Other players either confirmed or implied for qualifiers by the Pakistani baseball federation’s Twitter page include former DIII player Shahid Shattar, community college outfielder Sami Khan, 16-year-old pitcher Amaan Khan, former Astros draftee Omar Arif, Citadel baseball player Rohan Shah, Tulane pitcher Blake Mahmood, Bethune-Cookman pitcher Amir Asghar, Canadian college pitcher Adam Khan, and Lyad Ansari, the nephew of a internationally-experienced cricket player. While the Pakistani team will likely be massively outgunned in qualifying against teams from places like Panama and Nicaragua that will primarily have professionals, you never know what might happen in baseball. One of my favorite WBC memories, for example, is when a bullpen for Team Brazil that included a 16-year-old amateur was able to close out Colombia.

On the business side of things, a Korean paper looked into why Korea isn’t hosting a round in next year’s tournament. Reasons include the want to have as many Japan-Korea games as possible, fairly low attendance in 2017 in Korea for the WBC (not helped by a surprise early elimination for Team Korea), and the fact that apparently Taiwan lobbied for a round more than Korea did.

World Baseball Classic Update 7/22/22: Dominican and Korea get managers

The big news since our last update is that Rodney Linares will manage the Dominican Republic team in the WBC. Currently the third base coach for the Tampa Bay Rays, Linares had a brief minor league career and has been coaching ever since. He managed for several years in the Astros system before joining the Rays.

Speaking of the Dominican Republic, don’t expect to see Albert Pujols suiting up to play for them next year. With him retiring after this year and the Dominican talent pool so deep, he says he wouldn’t want to take the spot of a more worthy player. Instead, he’s planning on getting some traveling and spending time off with his kids. It’s similar to what I noted Miguel Cabrera said a few days ago, although Cabrera didn’t completely close the door to some sort of involvement.

Meanwhile, over in Asia, it’s been announced that Lee Kang-Chul will manage the South Korean squad in the WBC next year. A longtime pitcher in the KBO, he was the league’s strikeout champ back in 1992 and who remains one of the leaders in the league’s history in strikeouts and win. Lee has been the skipper of the KT Wiz since 2019, including a Korean Series title last season.

Finally: As has been noted before here and elsewhere, an effort is being made by Cuban players in North America to be part of the WBC. Major League Baseball again has noted that it isn’t up to the league, though, since rules for international competition put such decisions with national federations.

World Baseball Classic Update 7/15/22: USA GM and other news

Tony Reagins has been named the General Manager for Team USA in the 2023 World Baseball Classic. Reagins is perhaps best known for his stint with the the Angels from late 2007 until Sept. 2011, where he oversaw a team that made two playoff appearances. In 2009, he was among those who made the decision to take a chance on a somewhat-iffy prospect from the northeast named Mike Trout. He also was the GM for Team USA in the last Olympics, which may suggest we’ll see a similar coaching staff to that (for example, Mike Scioscia).

As I mentioned in a translated-from-Korean article a few days ago, Team Korea is open to potentially having Americans of Korean descent on the team. Meanwhile, KBO pitcher Chang Mo Koo, who has a 0.99 ERA this season, wants to take part and wants a start against Japan.

In the Dominican Republic, meanwhile, Tony Pena isn’t impressed with the slow pace that the Dominican federation has taken to the tournament thus far. Although they have yet to announce a manager, the head of the federation has said Moises Alou is a possibility.

In Puerto Rico, Carlos Beltran is voicing his interest in managing the WBC.

Enrique Reyes, a longtime skipper in the Mexican League who has managed several Mexican teams at the international level as well, is being called the “natural candidate” for the WBC job. Other possibilities are Benji Gil (who managed the Olympic team) and Juan Castro (who managed the team in the 2019 Premier12 tournament).

Argentina’s addition to WBC qualification has gotten some minor press attention there.

Tickets are now on sale for the qualification pool in Germany.

World Baseball Classic Update (July 9, 2022): Korea prepares for Japan (and vice-versa)

The ultimate rivalry of the World Baseball Classic is likely that of Japan and Korea. Fueled by historic grievance, geography, a similar style of play, and the way that international tournaments often end up being scheduled, any match-up of the two is must-see TV.

So it’s not surprising, then, that people involved with baseball in the two countries are already talking. At least, that’s what the Google translated articles I’ve found say.

In a talk with Korea’s Yonhap News Agency (translated to English by Google here), the KBO President agreed that the match-up with Japan is extremely important and that they will have to “prepare thoroughly” for it. The KBO has seen bumps in domestic popularity after previous success by Korea in the WBC, but the team has had a rough patch lately. That’s especially true when it comes to the Japan rivalry: Korea hasn’t beaten Japan in a major tournament since the 2015 Premier 12. The Koreans will be forming a committee shortly to begin the process of building the WBC team. The article says that while Hyun-Jin Ryu won’t take part due to his Tommy John surgery, it is possible that the Korean team may include players like Tommy Edman and Dane Dunning, who both have mothers from Korea.

Meanwhile, Japanese manager Hideki Kuriyama has been quoted as saying that the Japan-Korea games have always been fierce battles. That’s caught the attention of various Korean outlets, like this one.

Sticking with Japan for a second, some there are already speculating on what MLB players may play for Samurai Japan in 2023. A reporter for the Sanspo newspaper, for example, feels like Shohei Ohtani may be in an iffy position due to his two-way nature and the fact that 2023 will be the last year of his contract. However, he does believe that Seiya Suzuki of the Cubs would likely be able to participate if he wants to, and that Yu Darvish will likely have a big role in the rotation.

Finally, in other WBC news: Taiwan reportedly will be putting together a selection and training committee soon to pick a coach and begin selecting players for the tournament.

Stay tuned to the Baseball Continuum for more World Baseball Classic news as I find it.

BIZARRE BASEBALL CULTURE 2.0: “Mr. Go” is about a GORILLA PLAYING BASEBALL IN KOREA

In Bizarre Baseball Culture, I take a look at some of the more unusual places where baseball In Bizarre Baseball Culture 2.0, I take an updated look at some of the more unusual places that I previously covered where baseball has reared its head in pop culture and fiction. In the process, I clean up some mistakes of mine and add some more perspective.

NOTE: The original form of this post ran here. It has some grammatical mistakes and out-of-date information that has been corrected in this post but remains up for posterity. In addition, I have added some extra stuff.

In 2019, the Bong Joon-ho film Parasite took the world by storm. The tale of a poor Korean family that integrates its way into the life of a wealthy family, it became the first film not in the English language to win the Academy Award for Best Picture. It spurred a greater appreciation and interest in Korean cinema amongst cinephiles and even general audiences.

This post is not about that film. No, this is about the exact opposite of the award-winning works of Bong Joon-Ho. This is a post about the 2013 film Mr. Go, a Korean-Chinese co-production (more on that later) about a gorilla trained to play baseball.

This was a film much beloved by people throughout the baseball internet at one point for the sheer curiosity factor of its existence. Places like the now-defunct Big League Stew did posts about it, but few actually saw it. I, however, was able to procure a copy of the film in 2014. It was in the form of a DVD from Hong Kong, acquired from a Canadian seller on eBay. All for you, the readership of the Baseball Continuum (and anybody who found this link). Times have changed since 2014, though. Now, you can watch it streaming for free (with advertisements) on the Amazon FreeVee service and on Tubi.

So, buckle up. Below the jump, we dive deep into Mr. Go. Prepare yourself, because gorilla baseball, MLB cameos, banana-shaped thunderstix, pizza commercials, a bullpen-cart chase, and other madness awaits you:

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Possible international sites for MLB games

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Previously, I discussed some possible neutral-field games in the USA or Canada. Today, it’s time to look beyond the borders and muse about possible neutral-field games internationally going forward.

Go below the jump for more.

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World Baseball Classic Update (Sept. 6, 2016)

Due to my trip and other responsibilities, I’ve been slacking on WBC updates. So, here is one.

The Pools for the 2017 WBC have been revealed:

The biggest piece of WBC news in the past few weeks is probably the reveal of the actual pools and locations for the tournament. They are:

Pool A (Tokyo Dome): Australia, China, Cuba, Japan

Pool B (Geocheok Dome in Seoul, South Korea): Taipei, Korea, Netherlands, winner of Brooklyn Qualifying pool (more on that later)

Pool C (Marlins Park in Miami): Canada, Colombia, Dominican Republic, USA

Pool D (Estadio Charros de Jalisco in Guadalajara, Mexico): Italy, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Venezuela

Pool E (Tokyo Dome): Top two of Pool A and Pool B

Pool F (Petco Park in San Diego): Top two of Pool C and Pool D

Semi-Finals and Finals are in Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.

Rosters for the Brooklyn Qualifier have been revealed:

Late in August, the rosters for the final qualifying pool were revealed. Baseball America has a good rundown of them, and I’ll go more in-depth on them when I do my preview of the group later in the month. But my early impressions say that Brazil and Israel will be the main teams to beat in the pool, although the UK could surprise.

Other WBC News:

Kim In-Sik, the manager for Team Korea, is pessimistic about the team’s chances due to a lack of pitching, especially right-handers. He hopes to get Seung-Hwan Oh, but problems with a gambling situation in Macau that led to his suspension from KBO and NPB (it’s complicated and I’m not entirely sure if I fully understand it, but it has to do with rules in Korea and Japan that frown upon gambling even if it’s in a place where it’s legal) make that less than a slam-dunk. On the position player side, Dae-Ho Lee and Byung-Ho Park have been supportive, although Park’s injury makes it unlikely he will take part. Among the KBO players Kim is looking at is Jae-Kuk Ryu, who had some time in the majors from 2006 to 2008. Another article suggests that Hyun-Soo Kim of the Orioles is a certainty to be on the team, but that other MLB players besides him and Dae-Ho Lee are iffy due to the fact they all have had injury problems throughout the year.

Ervin Santana is eager to represent the Dominican at the next WBC, and hopes that Miguel Sano can join him. However, based on conversations that Sano has had with Latin American scouting sources for the Twins, it’s possible he’ll be the odd man and might be better served staying with the Twins, since the DR likely will have players like Adrian Beltre and Edwin Encarnacion filling the roles that Sano would likely would be most fit for.

Noah Syndergaard is likely to receive an invitation from Team USA, although it’s unknown if he would accept.

21-year-old Tyler O’Neill, named the Mariners’ best Minor League player this season by the Seattle Times, is a candidate for Team Canada.

Ken Rosenthal speculates that Clayton Kershaw and A.J. Ellis may have a reunion on Team USA next spring. However, he notes that there are plenty of “ifs” connected to that, especially related to Kershaw’s health and whether Ellis would even be considered for Team USA given America’s depth at the position.

Russell Martin has said he intends to play for Canada if he is healthy. John Axford is also excited to participate.

Omar Vizquel will be scouting the Venezuelan League to keep an eye on people who are on Team Venezuela’s shortlist.

 

WBC Update (May 18, 2016)

It’s time for a WBC update!

Taiwan has abandoned plans to bid for a WBC pool, likely ensuring that Korea will host something.

Aroldis Chapman is now a US Citizen and says he’d play for Team USA if asked.

And if he is going to take part in the WBC, it’s going to have to be on Team USA, since Cuba has announced that, despite some negotiations to make it happen, defectors will not be allowed on the Cuban national team.

Bryce Harper is in so long as some of the other top US players are going to be playing.

Manny Machado is now on record as being on Team Dominican Republic next year.

And, finally, in what I believe is the first appearance of the WBC in a English-language fictional work, Japanese-American author Naomi Hirahara’s latest book involves a amateur detective trying to solve a murder that takes place at the 2009 WBC finals between Japan and Korea.

WBC Update for 4-25-16: Rule changes, Team USA, Puerto Rico, and what Asian Countries will get WBC Pools?

It’s been awhile, but it’s time for a World Baseball Classic update!

General News:

A possible change in the WBC rules will be introduced in order to entice more pitchers to play. It would allow teams to add extra players the further they advance, so it could be possible, for example, for Clayton Kershaw or David Price (who both have passed on the tournament in the past because they didn’t want to rush their throwing schedule) to join later in the tournament.

At least two pools will take place in Asia during the 2017 Classic, with one in Japan and one in either Korea or Taiwan.

Connected to that: earlier this year, Twins broadcaster, Hall of Famer, and occasional Netherlands pitching coach Bert Blyleven said that the Dutch were expected to start their WBC campaign in Korea. Apparently that isn’t official yet, but definitely possible. This is mainly because Korea has a domed stadium and Taiwan does not.

While I can’t find the exact tweet/article about it, apparently the locations of the first round of the “main” World Baseball Classic will be revealed on May 10, so presumably all these questions will be put to rest then.

Pakistani coaches have attended a clinic in China in preparation for their qualifying pool.

Players on possibility of WBC play:

Mike Trout says it’s too early to say whether he’ll play in the WBC, although it sounds like he does want to do it, it’ll depend on how he feels.

Staying on Team USA, the dream of a Team USA Madison BumgarnerBuster Posey battery apparently isn’t a pipe-dream. Although neither of them have said definitively, both of them said they were open to it.

Sonny Gray, meanwhile, thinks it’d be “awesome” to be on Team USA.

Francisco Lindor is excited to play for the Puerto Rican national team.

Look later this week as I make another projection for Team USA! And if you see any WBC news I missed, let me know by tweeting me at @DanJGlickman or e-mailing me at Djgwriter@yahoo.com!