Friday, January 20, 2006

All is right with the world, as Cuba has been approved to play in the WBC. Let the rejoicing begin.

Look for a Cardinals preview early next week, and of course more WBC analysis.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

OK, here's the promised World Baseball Classic analysis:

Pool A: Japan will win this pool handily, while the second spot will come down to the winner of the South Korea-Chinese Taipei (Taiwan) game. China might be competitive in the future, but this year will be a learning experience. My Picks: Japan and South Korea

Pool B: The United States is obviously the favorite here, but again, the real battle is going to be for second place. Canada and Mexico are both good teams, but Canada has a bit more MLB experience on their roster. About half of Mexico's national team will be coming from the Mexican League, which is about AAA-level. My Picks: United States and Canada.

Pool C: This pool is going to depend entirely on whether or not Cuba participates. If Cuba's playing, they'll be in a dogfight to get out of the pool and it may come down to the last game against Puerto Rico. Panama is good, but I don't know that they're quite good enough to get out of the first round if Cuba's playing. If Cuba's out, Nicaragua will be the likely replacement, and will probably finish second in that pool. My Picks: With Cuba, Puerto Rico and Cuba. Without Cuba, Puerto Rico and Panama/Nicaragua.

Pool D: This is the "The Dominicans have to play SOMEONE" pool. They're obviously going to be the favorites, with Venezuela and Olympic silver medalists Australia fighting over second place while Italy's bunch of Italian Leaguers and MLB players who have Italian-sounding names bring up the rear (they won't win a game.) My Picks: Dominican Republic and Venezuela.

Speaking of ridiculous rosters, let's take a look at some of the more insane "residency" decisions.

* Mark Mulder, Danny Haren, Shea Hillenbrand playing for Holland: HUH? The closest one there is Mark Mulder, who is from South Holland, IL.

* The Italian team: I swear, the eligibility requirement appears to be "have you ever eaten at the Olive Garden?" based on this roster. I understand needing the team to be at least a little competitive, but this is a stretch.

* The A-Rod fiasco. Pick a team, Alex. You're either American or Dominican, and your birth certificate says you're American.

Thoughts?

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Wow, I'd almost forgotten about this thing.

The World Baseball Classic is coming up in a couple of months, and the 60-man rosters have been announced. No major surprises on the US roster, at least so far.

Clemens may pitch, but no one's sure (he will,) and Bonds will play. More when I can do a full analysis.