2023 World Baseball Classic Pool A Preview: Taichung

Photo by michael spadoni on Pexels.com

We begin our 2023 World Baseball Classic Pool Previews with Pool A: Taichung.

About the Venue: Situated in the island’s second-largest municipality, Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium is no stranger to hosting big baseball events. This will be the second time that it has hosted the WBC (having also held a round in 2013), and it has also hosted rounds of the Premier12 tournament and Asian Championships. It’s currently home to the CTBC Brothers club (also called Brothers or Brothers Elephants) of the CPBL. The stadium holds 20,000 fans and has symmetrical dimensions of 325 feet down the lines, 379 to left and right-center, and 400 to dead center.

About The Pool: This is a bit of a hodge-podge pool, made up essentially of teams that were odd-man-out of the more geographically based pools that are elsewhere. It also is one of the tougher ones to predict, with no true favorite and reasons to be optimistic about all five teams. The fight for the two top spots in the pool and a trip to the quarterfinals will be fierce.

Go below the jump for the full preview.

Continue reading

Quick World Baseball Classic Update 7/26/22: Story is in

I’ve been busy the last few days, so this isn’t as thorough as it should be. I haven’t been able to scour the non-English sites for World Baseball Classic news, for example. I’m hoping to have a more full update in the coming days.

Anyway, the main news is that Team USA has its second confirmed player: Trevor Story. The Red Sox infielder was confirmed yesterday. He hasn’t been hitting as well this season, but his overall pedigree and ability to play second or short will make a good asset for the team. He joins Mike Trout as players confirmed for Team USA.

Speaking of Red Sox and the tournament, manager Alex Cora says he expects that Rafael Devers (Dominican), Xander Bogaerts (Kingdom of the Netherlands), and Christian Vazquez (Puerto Rico) will also take part. Cora himself admitted he’d love to manage but can’t due to rules against current managers taking part.

Come back in the coming days for updated WBC projections and perhaps more WBC news.

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:

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading