Archive for October, 2005

Clemens will play World Baseball Classic

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usAlthough Roger Clemens has not decided whether he will play next year, but one official confirmed that Clemens has agreed to represent the United States, will play in World Baseball Classic next spring.

The seven-time Cy Young Award winner, who wanted to pitch in 2004 Athens Olympic but failed (due to USA beaten by Mexico in qualify games), will have another chance to play for United States. Currently Clemens, 43, did not know if he will return to Astros in 2006, but he will keep workout this winter to prepare the World Baseball Classic.

According to MLB and one club source, Barry Bonds agreed to play in the Classic as long as his health permits, because one o his closet friends, Bobby Bonilla of the Players Association, are recruiting.

Other players who have extended early commitments to play include Pedro Martinez and Albert Pujols for the Dominican Republic team, Ivan Rodriguez and Carlos Beltran for Puerto Rico. Ichiro Suzuki and Hideki Matsui are expected to play for Japan, though those arrangements have yet to be completely finalized.

Game 1 won’t be last start for legendary Clemens
Astros say Clemens is 50-50 for Game 5

Valentine wants real World Series, not World Baseball Classic

Image hosted by Photobucket.comBobby Valentine, who manages Chiba Lotte Marines of Nippon Professional Baseball, did not like World Baseball Classic, wants to see a true World Series between the best team from NPB and MLB.

The former New York Mets manager said Japanese baseball has closed the gap with the MLB, and the next logical step is a competition between the best teams from the two organizations. “Watching our guys all season and the World Series on TV, I can tell you the level of play is equal.” said Valentine. “Such a competition would be great and it’s time to do battle.”

Valentine is the only manager to manage in both World Series and Japan Series, brushed aside the World Baseball Classic. “I’m not talking about all-star exhibition games,” Valentine said. “I’m talking about two battle-proven teams who have played a season together and know how to play baseball.”

“If the people making all the big decisions in baseball don’t know the difference between all-star exhibition games and a competition between true champions, they shouldn’t be in the decision-making process to begin with.”

Valentine who managed the Mets in 2000 but got swept by Yankees, also guide Marines to finish 2nd in 1995, is the only foreigner to manage in the Japan Series and only the fifth to head a team in Nippon Professional Baseball.

“The only problem would be the unions,” said Valentine. “But they’d make a fortune from the TV. It’d be the biggest contract ever.”

Major League Baseball has never been keen on the idea. “Maybe it’s just time for our owner to make the challenge to the owner of the team that wins the World Series,” said Valentine.

Valentine says time for true World Series has come
Bobby V. wins Japan title, pushes for series with MLB

Joey Cora might manage Puerto Rico

Chicago White Sox third-base coach Joey Cora is on a short list of candidates to manage the Puerto Rican team in World Baseball Classic next March.

”I’m being considered. That’s as far as I can go with it,” said Cora, a native of Caguas, Puerto Rico. “Right now I have to concentrate on [the World Series].”

Cora will get some practice managing this winter. When the World Series ends, he’ll fly to Venezuela to manage the winter league team in La Guaira

Former MVP Thomas supportive

USA Still has no Manager

USA Baseball, will be in the Pool B of World Baseball Classic next March, is still without a manager.

Bob Watson, Major League Baseball’s vice president of on-field discipline, also the general manager for USA Baseball, said he is considering a number of former big league managers.

“I want a guy who will not only be a good manager and a strategist, but he’s got to be a good spokesman for the game,” Watson said. “We’re trying to boost baseball worldwide.”

Among those on Watson’s list are Davey Johnson, current USA Team Manager, (ex-manager of Baltimore, Cincinnati, Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets; Lloyd McClendon (Pittsburgh); Buck Martinez (Toronto); Art Howe (Oakland); Bob Boone (Cincinnati); Larry Bowa (Philadelphia); and Don Baylor (Colorado).

USA Baseball continues manager search

Pedro wants to play for Dominican Republic

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Pedro Martinez, starting pitcher of New York Mets, want to represent Dominican Republic in the inaugural World Baseball Classic in March.

“I’m going to start a rehabilitation program,” Martinez said during a news conference in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. “To see if I can pitch in the Dominican tournament with the Licey Tigers.” “If I can recuperate from the inflammation in a toe on my right foot, I’m going to join the Dominican team in the World Baseball Classic,” he said.

“All baseball players that consider themselves to be Dominican must represent us, if at all possible, to render for the country the very best,” “If you are not bothered by your country ranking poorly in a Classic, in spite of having such good players, then you probably are not Dominican. I feel committed, but I also want my colleagues to support me, because I do not intend to go out on the field with 10 Class A minor-leaguers. That is not possible, because I would play a deficient role, I would not perform to the general public’s expectations and a bad performance would jeopardize my standing,” stated Martinez.

If Martinez indeed pitches in the Dominican winter league this year, it will be the first time he pitched for his country since 1996.

However, even General Manager Omar Minaya previous mentioned that they support Martinez to play WBC, they are concern about his fatigue and needs to “sit down and talk with Pedro” about winter ball and WBC.

“We support it (World Baseball Classic),” Minaya said on the beginning of October. “We all want to grow the game. The pressure to play, for some guys, like Petey, is very strong [and is] coming from their home countries. When the president of your country wants you to play, that’s pretty strong.”

One Mets official said. “I’m not sure it’s such a good idea that he pitches in the [World Baseball Classic],” the person said. “He’d have to be in game shape to do that, and that would put him at least a month ahead of schedule for our season.”

Minaya said he hasn’t spoken with Martinez about winter pitching or the condition of his toe, and Martinez didn’t say how much he might pitch in winter ball or in the Classic yet. Based on the conference, Pedro still has some problem, and is rehabbing his injured toe.

Minaya suggested Martinez’s pitching in the Dominican “could be just a way to get ready for the World Classic.” Although he expressed no concern, he did say that a conversation with Martinez would be advisable.

Martinez dealt with several injuries this season, the most bothersome being the toe inflammation, which also cost him the final two weeks of the season. He pitched 217 innings, the most he had in regular season since 2000.

Mets’ Martinez Plans His Winter
Pedro wants to play for Dominican Republic
Steroid rap for Heredia
Pedro makes pitch for WBC stint
Pedro Martinez to play on local Licey baseball team

Lou Melendez named general manager of Puerto Rico

Top Major League Baseball official Lou Melendez was named as the general manager of Puerto Rico’s team for the World Baseball Classic next spring.

According to Israel Roldan, President of the Puerto Rico Amateur Baseball Federation, Melendez, who is vice president of international baseball operations, accepted the job after MLB approved his nomination.

Melendez was scheduled to travel to Puerto Rico soon to discuss his plans for the team, including the manager.

Puerto Rico will play with Cuba, Panama and the Netherlands in the first round, and the Hiram Bithorn stadium in San Juan will be the host site of first- and second-round games of World Baseball Classic.

A package of news briefs from the Caribbean

Pool D expected to play in Florida

Pool D, include Venezuela, Dominican Republic, Italy and Australia, are expected to play first round in Florida, will announce shortly.

Major League Baseball currently negotiate contract with Disney about six first-round games at Disney’s Wide World of Sports, spring training base of Atlanta Braves. Four team of Pool D will play their round-robin games on March 8-11 at Orlando, Florida.

Pool A will take place at Tokyo Dome in Japan, and Pool C will play at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico, as for Pool B, it likely to play at a spring training park in Arizona.

WORLD CLASSIC

Contreras want to pitch for Cuba

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Chicago White Sox Pitcher Jose Contreras, who defected from Cuba three years ago, said he want to pitch for Cuba in inaugural World Baseball Classic next spring.

Contreras has played seven years with the Cuban national team; include 7-0 with a 0.59 ERA in the last three major international tournaments, also compiling a 117-50 with a 2.82 ERA in Cuban League. When asked about play for Cuba, Contreras said ”Certainly.”

However, even his four-year $32 million contract (signed in 2002 with New York Yankees) inserted a clause to free him to pitch for Cuba when its national team plays off the island. Politics might figures to prevent that happen.

Blame it on Paul

Inaugural World Baseball Classic selects GCI Group

NEW YORK: The World Baseball Classic has tapped GCI Group to help promote the first-ever international baseball tournament, which will take place in March 2006.

The Classic is a joint effort between Major League Baseball (MLB) and the Major League Baseball Players Association. It will feature teams from 16 countries, including the US, Canada, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Japan, Venezuela, Italy, and The Netherlands.

As part of the tournament, MLB players are eligible to play for their home country’s teams.

Dominick Balsamo, a specialist in international business and market development for MLB, said the organization selected GCI Group for its experience in outreach to international audiences.

“One of our goals it to… increase the popularity of baseball around the world,” he said. “The international reach was really important.”

He added that GCI would work alongside MLB’s internal PR department.

Ray Kerins, EVP/MD of the media relations and corporate communications practices at GCI, said the agency is working with the baseball federations in the individual countries to garner attention for the event. One of the main messages is that this competition marks the first time that baseball is a truly global competition.

“The appeal for baseball around the world is fairly clear,” he said. “This is a way to leverage the success that baseball has had in the US and 16 other countries.”

Kerins said that the agency has already started international media outreach.

“Our main goal is focusing on international press and non- traditional baseball press,” he said, adding that the agency will target lifestyle, business, and even technology publications for possible stories. “The hope is to expand this beyond the sports pages.”

GCI helped to launch the event at a 600-person press conference at the MLB All-Star game in July.

Inaugural World Baseball Classic selects GCI Group

Puerto Rico to host part of WBC

Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico will hosted first and second round of the first ever World Baseball Classic next spring.

Major League Baseball and Major League Baseball Players Association formally announced that Hiram Bithorn Stadium, the same place that ex- Montreal Expos called home in 2003 and 2004 (each for 22 games), will host Group C with Puerto Rico, Cuba, Panama and the Netherlands on March 9-11.

Then top two teams from Group C and also top two teams from Group D (Italy, Venezuela, Australia and the Dominican Republic) will play second round in San Juan on March 13-17. PETCO Park, home of the San Diego Padres, will be the host for the semi-finals and final games.

MB Sports, the same company that ran the Expo’s games in San Juan pass two years, was named promoter of the World Classic in Puerto Rico.

“I am extremely pleased that the city of San Juan is hosting two rounds of the inaugural World Baseball Classic,” Commissioner Bud Selig said. “Baseball is entwined in the culture of Puerto Rico, and the festive, enthusiastic crowds that Major League Baseball has experienced in past games at Hiram Bithorn Stadium will provide the perfect environment for this world baseball tournament.”

“The players association is delighted that Puerto Rico will be hosting not one, but two rounds of the inaugural World Baseball Classic,” MLBPA Executive Director Don Fehr said. “Time and time again the people of Puerto Rico have shown both an enthusiasm for baseball and a respect for those able to play it at the highest level. As the greatest players from around the world gather to play in this historic event, those who play in Puerto Rico will enjoy an experience they will not forget.”

Puerto Rico to host two rounds of WBC
SAN JUAN TO HOST WORLD BASEBALL CLASSIC
Puerto Rico to host 19 Classic games


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