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!

(Blogaton ’16) Chris Kabout: Former Red Sox farmhand gives a hand in battle against cancer

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.

For this first Blogathon for charity it seemed a good idea to me to write a piece on Swen Huijers’ Baseball Against Cancer foundation.

Swen signed a contract with the Boston Red Sox organization in 2008. He started to pitch for the GCL Red Sox. He played three seasons for the Boston Rookie team for which he posted a 9-4 record in 37 games. In 2011 Swen was promoted to the Lowell Spinners in the New York-Penn League (A Short Season). In that season with the Spinners, Swen posted two victories and two losses in ten games of which he started two. He finished the season with a 2.43 ERA. Despite the decent season he was released by the Red Sox. Back in the Netherlands, Swen startd to attend the police academy. That was very time consuming. Now he is a police officer, he has to deal with irregular shifts. And when you play in the Hoofdklasse, you have to practice at least twice a week. Together with three competition games per week, it was very difficult to combine. Due to the irregular shifts, his performance deteriorated. Eventually Swen decided to stop halfway the 2015 season, mainly because he could not combine his job with top sport.

Right now Swen doesn’t have time to play baseball at all. He is mainly occupied with organizing baseball clinics out of Baseball Against Cancer. If possible he wants to play baseball at a lower level

In the meantime Swen and a friend decided to participate in a big Dutch cycling event against cancer: Alpe d’HuZes. In this cycling event every participant has to cycle up to mount Alpe d’Huez, one of the biggest mountains during the Tour de France. To participate everyone needs to bring 2,500 Euros at least, which will be donated to the KWF (Koninging (=Queen) Wilhelmina Foundation), the Dutch foundation that fights against cancer. Despite pleas with friends and family they didn’t quite make it to raise the 2,500 Euros. At that point, Swen came up with the idea to raise money with a baseball clinic. 250 children attended the first edition of this clinic. These kids were taught the basics of baseball by several Dutch Hoofdklasse players, World Champions and other baseball players. This event raised the whopping amount of 4,167,25 Euro. Baseball Against Cancer was born.

But why did Swen decide to participate in Alpe dHuZes? His cousin is an ex cancer patient. He started to do voluntary work for the event Alpe d’HuZes. He arranged the yearly transportation. Other family members also traveled to France, to help in this magnificent event. Because Swen was playing baseball for the Red Sox organization at the time that the event took place, he made a vow that he would participate as soon as he had the chance. That chance came in 2012 after he was released by the Red Sox, when he could enlist for the 2013 edition of Alpe d’Huzes.

The second edition of Baseball Against Cancer drew even a lot more children. In the brand new baseball facility of Vaessen Pioniers from Hoofddorp, Swen’s hometown team, 275 children attended the event under the watchful eye of more baseball players. At the end of the day, over 8,000 Euro could be handed over to the KWF.

In 2015, Swen’s event even got bigger and even got the much deserved attention in the Dutch media as he was invited for an interview on Dutch national radio. The players that participated in that event were all Dutch Hoofdklasse (Major League) players like: Bas Nooij, Eric de Vries, Nick & Tom Stuifbergen, Sidney de Jong, Pim Walsma, Kevin Weijgertse, Bayron Cornelisse, Danny Rombley, Vince Rooi, David Bergman, Scott Ronnebergh, Sedley Karel, Damian Melis, Zerzinho Croes, Jasper de Jong and Lars Huijer. But next to these players, also young players that took the clinics in the first edition, now participate as instructors.

As far as Swen concerns, the media intention was nice for the battle against cancer. Not for the recognition. Swen just wants to collect as much money as possible for the battle against cancer.

In the Dutch baseball world there is much demand for events in which children can participate. Swen managed to organize a successful event.

A little step back to his participation in the Alpe d’HuZes event: On my question if he managed to climb the mountain six times, Swen answered that it was never his intention to do that. He drove up the mountain on a mountain bike instead of a racing bike, which makes it much harder. The night before the event he got very ill. On the day itself, he carried a backpack with two bottles of water and two canteens. About halfway up the mountain he drank all of his water supply. In the fifth curve of the climb, he was bothered by cramps in his thighs. He had to stretch for about fifteen minutes before he could finish the climb to the top.

This year the Baseball Against Cancer event will take place for the fourth time. It will take place on May 3 and 4. For the first time in the history of the event there will be a softball edition on May 3. The baseball edition will be on May 4. So far, Swen only had time to organize the softball part. He does this in cooperation with Golden League player (Dutch Hoofdklasse Softball) Ginger de Weert. Next to her the following softball players will participate in the clinic as instructor: Karen Tuk, Kirsten Scheele, Sophie Molee and Rebecca Soumeru.

Baseball nut born and raised in Amsterdam. Played for the oldest baseball club in Europe (AHC Quick, founded in 1913). Writer for Universo Beisbol (Cuban baseball magazine), for the website of the KNBSB (Dutch baseball and softball federation) and my own blog www.yankeebiscuitfansdutchblog.mlblogs.com

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.

WBC Semi-Final Preview: Dominican Republic vs. Kingdom of the Netherlands

It’s a showdown tonight, a grudge match four years in the making. In one corner, the mighty Dominican, now by far the biggest fish in the increasingly small WBC pond. In the other corner, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the upstart amalgamation of the Netherlands, Curacao and Aruba. Four years ago, the Dutch upset the Dominican twice, and now the Dominican has a chance for revenge. They probably will get it, but as we saw in Puerto Rico-Japan (and Puerto Rico-USA, and Netherlands-Cuba, and… you get the idea), there are no guarantees in baseball.

Go below the jump for the tale of the tape:

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Jurickson Profar will be playing for Team Netherlands after all- here’s why that matters

Jurickson Profar will be playing for Team Netherlands after all, taking over for the injured Yurendell de Caster.

So why does that matter?

Well, for one Profar (a switch-hitting middle infielder) is the top prospect in baseball, according to MLB.com and other sources such as Baseball America. He’s only 20, but has already played a short stint in the majors last season, even having a home run in his first AB. But it’s what he’s done in the minors that is especially impressive… take a look:

2010 17 Spokane NORW A- TEX 63 288 252 42 63 19 0 4 23 8 3 28 46 .250 .323 .373 .696 94 8 0 6 2 0
2011 18 Hickory SALL A TEX 115 516 430 86 123 37 8 12 65 23 9 65 63 .286 .390 .493 .883 212 7 11 6 4 2
2012 19 Frisco TL AA TEX 126 562 480 76 135 26 7 14 62 16 4 66 79 .281 .368 .452 .820 217 11 5 2 9 5
3 Seasons 304 1366 1162 204 321 82 15 30 150 47 16 159 188 .276 .367 .450 .817 523 26 16 14 15 7
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 3/13/2013.

And, what’s more, it provides another MLB-level (or close to it) bat into the Dutch lineup, something that will come in handy against whoever they play in the semi-finals. Okay, that isn’t really that much of analysis, but it is true. And, what’s more, it could provide a psychological boost for the Dutch: they are now heading into the semi-finals round and now they are going to be joined by one of the best future stars of baseball.

Should be interesting to see how it all turns out.

Video of the undetermined amount of time: The crazy Cuba-Netherlands game

In case you missed that awesome game between Cuba and the Netherlands this morning, MLB has this little recap for you:


It was a good game.

Picture of the day: Honkbal Forever

It is well known that I am a big fan of the Dutch word for baseball: Honkbal. In Dutch, apparently honk means home, purpose or goal, but thanks to the fact that it means something entirely different in English, it is, well, an inherently fun and an inherently funny word to us. And the style of play of the the Dutch National Team, who upset Cuba yesterday, is infectious, a team of athletic, smooth-fielding players who won’t let the fact they play for a country that isn’t among the traditional baseball powers stop them from showing that they belong.

And, by the looks of what was trending late last night, I’m not alone in having Honkbal fever:

Screen Shot 2013-03-08 at 1.58.39 AMHonkbal fever- catch it!

WBC Round 2 Preview: Pool 1 (Tokyo)

Well, Pool 1 of Round 2 of the World Baseball Classic is all set. Go below the jump for a preview of the pool, and also consider looking back at my predictions for Pool A and Pool B of the first round, which include a good amount of other information, such as the history and culture of the nations.

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World Baseball Classic Preview: Pool B (Taichung)

Pool B is a tough one. All four teams involved in it- Taipei, Korea, the Netherlands and Australia- all have the ability to win on any given day, and all four also have professional leagues of their own. While the Asian nations must be considered the favorites, the Dutch and Aussies cannot be counted out.

See the preview after the jump:

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Could a MLB team be heading to Korea in 2014? Or the Netherlands? Or both?

According to an article linked to from MyKBO, there are some talks in the works by the KIA Tigers to try to get an MLB team to travel to Korea to play them in an exhibition game to open the Tigers’ new stadium.

Now, no team is mentioned, although it’s said that it’s likely to be a team popular in Korea. Of course, who knows if it will happen due to logistics and other issues.

What will probably happen- at least some time in the next few years (possibly as early as next year) there will be games in the Netherlands. These games, which will be the first in Europe, will likely involve AL or NL East teams, will be played at a new stadium being built in Hoofddorp that will be able to be expanded temporarily to a 30,000 seat stadium.

It’ll be interesting to see how all of this turns out, especially given the upcoming World Baseball Classic.