The final spot in next year’s main WBC tournament is up for grabs this week in Brooklyn, in an eclectic pool of four countries that lack major baseball facilities and thus sort of have been thrown into Brooklyn in hopes that New York’s diverse population will come out to see the games. While Brazil and the American-heavy Israeli team should be considered the favorites, GB shouldn’t be totally counted out. The biggest mystery (and likely last-place finisher) is Pakistan, a newcomer to the WBC that has rarely participated outside of the regional level. You can see the rosters (which have since changed slightly due to call-ups and injuries) here.
Like the Mexicali pool, this is a pool that will pit Latin America and Europe. However, in some ways the only European team will be France, as Spain weighs heavily on imported talent. This should be the most competitive WBC qualifier bracket so far, with only France being a team that I can say has no chance.
Go below the jump for more:
Another round of WBC qualifiers starts on Thursday, with two pools going. One of them, in Mexicali, is a odd mix of two Latin American countries mixed with two European nations. While Mexico is most definitely the favorite, it’s not inconceivable that a shocking upset will take place… just very unlikely. You can see the rosters here.
Go below the jump for more:
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.
Go below the jump for the more:
New Zealand is a multi-cultural country that pays tribute to it’s significant Maori roots in various ways. One of those ways is by doing the Haka, a Maori dance, before sporting events. So, for the World Baseball Classic, that means that, before the game against Taipei, the “Diamondblacks” (a reference to the color of their uniform and the name of their nation’s rugby team, the “All Blacks”) did a Haka.
Check it out here.
It’s time for more qualifiers for the World Baseball Classic, as pools in Taipei and Panama are about to get started on November 15 (although, technically, the first game of the Taipei bracket will be on November 14 on the East Coast of the USA, thanks to time differences). These pools will be different from the two earlier brackets in Florida and Germany for a major reason: there will be MLB players in these qualifiers. They won’t be a majority of them (after all, there is a reason why these teams have to qualify to begin with), but there will be some, particularly at the plate (some pitchers won’t be available because, well, their arms hurt after a season of throwing).
The more interesting of the two, and the most interesting of the four qualifiers period, will be the one in Panama City. Go below the jump for my preview of that one:
The “Asian pool” of the World Baseball Classic qualifier takes place in Taipei, and the home team should be able to easily win it, and surely that is what the tournament’s organizers expect, since it has already been announced as a host for the WBC in the round of 16. The other three countries playing, while interesting, have nowhere near the pedigree that the Taiwanese have, nor- with the exception of the individual player here and there- the talent. In fact, the only reason the other three countries will have any chance whatsoever likely will be because of the so-called “passport players” that the lenient WBC eligibility rules will allow them to bolster their rosters with.
Head below the jump for a pool preview: