Wednesday, March 08, 2006

'06 World Baseball Classic – Round 1 update

Stupid me. I picked Japan to get through to Round 2, mainly because the level of play in the Japanese leagues is so good, that many of their best players are playing in the Major Leagues. I don’t know why I didn’t use the same logic in considering Korea’s chances. They, too, have players in the Majors and so, in hindsight, I should have picked them over Taipei. There are no Chinese players (mainland or Taiwanese) that are in the Majors. I guess I was blinded by all of the Little League World Series titles won by Taipei. Stupid me.

The Dominicans looked every bit as good as I feared as they rolled over a very good Venezuelan team. I don’t see anyone touching them in the first round or the second; this is one awesome team. They have great hitting and excellent pitching and defense and I think they are the deepest team in the tournament.

The Americans won, but I’m worried about the lack of run production. The Americans are not going to be able to shut out everyone they play and if their hitting doesn’t pick up, they could face problems. There’s not a lot of room for error in a tournament where, at most, a team will play only eight games. Two long balls just isn’t going to get it done against the better teams. If they can’t string together some hits, they could be making a quick exit from this tournament.

I’m glad these games are being broadcast on ESPN2 – they are a great “fix” for my baseball cravings.

Only 25 more days until Opening Day!!

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