Archive for the ‘WBC2006’ Category

Ichiro to help Japan again in WBC 2009

Remember the inaugural World Baseball Classic? Ichiro Suzuki is the main parts that Japan won the Championship in 2006, and next March, he will represent Japan to defend their title.

According to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Ichiro told Kyodo News: “I will try to win the WBC in earnest again”.

The good news is due to Major League Baseball is handling the World Baseball Classic differently, starting spring training earlier and having Cactus League games stretch into the first week of April instead of ending March 23.

Unlike three years ago, Ichiro started the year in Japan and not in Peoria, Ariz., with the Mariners until the last two weeks of March. If Japan were to go to the finals again, Ichiro could once again be limited to just a couple of weeks of spring training.

Of course, now the Japan’s best player would take the field for his team, his participation is sure to shore up the WBC, but there are other controversial issue.

One is due to Major League Baseball, which doesn’t release its players (or at least alter the league’s schedule to allow them to play) for international competitions like the Olympics. With the Baseball season went through October, and pitchers and catchers reporting in early February, there’s a fairly narrow time for the WBC to hold its tournament

The other is even the WBC played during spring training, controversy among MLB players and teams has been the fatigue this adds to players, particularly pitchers, which could let it become preseason competition rather than a true competition.

For the eight-time Major League All-Star batted .364, scored seven runs in eight games and was a vocal leader, Ichiro ranked the Classic as a highlight of all of his career accomplishments.

“Apart from the Olympics, I really wanted this WBC tournament to be the event that decides the true world champions, so that’s why I participated in this event,” he said. “And at the end, I was able to be on the championship team, and this is probably the biggest moment of my baseball career.”

But the Seattle outfielder is not only playing, he is also urging Japanese baseball officials to get on with the job of picking a manager so the country can defend its title at the World Baseball Classic.

“(Japanese officials) say they want to build the strongest team, but at the same time say its difficult to pick an active manager,” Suzuki was quoted as saying in Sunday’s Nikkansports newspaper. “I wonder if they really want to build the best team.”

Right now Japan has had trouble finding a manager for the 2009 WBC, which starts in Tokyo on March 5. Two retired managers appear to be out of the picture.

Senichi Hoshino, who was the manager of the Japan team that failed to win a medal at the Beijing Olympics, has been mentioned as a candidate but has said he doesn’t want the job.

Sadaharu Oh, who guided Japan to the title at the inaugural WBC in 2006, stepped down as manager of the Softbank Hawks at the end of the 2008 season because of poor health.

Other candidates include active managers Katsuya Nomura of the Rakuten Eagles and Yomiuri Giants manager Tatsunori Hara.

Suzuki also said it’s important that Japan restores its baseball pride after such a disappointing result in Beijing. Japan finished fourth at Beijing despite having a team made up entirely of players from Nippon Professional Baseball leagues.

“We have to start out on the right foot if we want to get revenge for Beijing at the WBC,” said Suzuki.

Several Mariners to play in WBC

No matter which position they are, Seattle Mariners has lots of players who want to join the World Baseball Classic next March.

Include Starter Felix Hernandez, who was asked not to participate for Venezuela in 2006, is likely to want to pitch for his country. So does third baseman Adrian Beltre is likely to be on the roster for the Dominican Republic, as he was three years ago. Second baseman Jose Lopez could also play for Team Venezuela.

As for Catcher Kenji Johjima, who elected to work out with the Mariners in 2006, his first spring, rather than play for Japan, is likely to want to play for his country this time around.

The other possibility include Lefty Ryan Rowland-Smith would be a candidate for Team Australia. And outfielder Wladimir Balentien could be included on the roster of The Netherlands because his home of Curacao is part of the Netherlands Antilles in the Caribbean.

Due to Team rosters won’t be settled on in a couple of months, so other players could also be involved, it could be more interested to see player face their teammates during WBC.

Advancement rules change

Next time, no tiebreaking rules need to use for World Baseball Classic 2009.

In an attempt to avoid the kind of convoluted tiebreaking procedures the World Baseball Classic rules committee instituted for the inaugural 2006 tournament, the round-robin format will be replaced in ’09 by double-elimination to move teams beyond the first two rounds. Also, there will be a crossover of teams from their originating four-squad brackets in the semifinals.

Don Fehr, the executive director of the Players Association, said:

“Implementation of double-elimination and crossover games to the World Baseball Classic next year will make the games even more intense, and the tournament even more exciting for both players and fans,” “It will be an unforgettable experience.”

In ’06, each of the fours teams had to play three games in the first two rounds. Those with the top two records in each bracket ascended to the second round and the semifinals. If teams had identical records, a complicated formula of runs scored was used as the first tiebreaker.

Next year, as soon as a team losses its second game in each of the first two rounds, it is eliminated. Once two teams have lost out, the other two move on to the next round. The semifinals remain as a single elimination competition to qualify for the finals.

As far as the crossover goes, in ’06 Cuba and the Dominican Republic emerged from one second-round bracket and Japan and Korea from the other. Those teams played each other in the semifinals, with Cuba ousting the Dominican and Japan vanquishing Korea. Japan defeated Cuba in the finals to win the tournament.

That will change in ’09, when the final game for each pool will determine seeding for the following round. Thus, in the semifinals, the winners of each pool in the second round will play the opposite pool’s runner-up in the single-elimination games.

Japan, Mexico, Canada, Puerto Rico to host first round

Yes, the stadium to play first round of 2009 World Baseball Classic is decided.

As in 2006, Tokyo Dome and Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico, will host first-round games. In 2009, those venues will be joined for the first time by Rogers Centre in Toronto and Foro Sol Stadium in Mexico City.

Rogers Centre is the home ballpark of the Blue Jays, and Major League Spring Training exhibition games have been played at the 27,940-seat facility in Foro Sol Stadium in Mexico City.

The 16-team field is the same as ’06, though an expansion of the field to 24 countries and territories with qualifying rounds as a preface to reach the main competition is under consideration for 2013.

Next year’s brackets are as follows:

Pool A — China, Chinese Taipei, Japan and Korea will begin play on March 5 in Tokyo Dome.

Pool B — Australia, Cuba, Mexico and South Africa, from March 8-12 in Mexico City.

Pool C — Canada, Italy, the U.S. and Venezuela, from March 8-12 in Toronto.

Pool D — Dominican Republic, the Netherlands, Panama and Puerto Rico, from March 7-11 in Puerto Rico.

Venues for the second round, plus the combined semifinals and finals are still to be determined.

The semifinals and finals were sold out at San Diego’s 45,000-seat home of the Padres in 2006. Japan vanquished Cuba, 10-6, to win the tournament and Japanese pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka, who now toils for the Red Sox, was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.

Attendance for the ’06 tournament at its seven venues was 737,112 tickets sold, a major coup considering that the Asian bracket didn’t reach the 80 percent capacity in Tokyo Dome that was originally projected.

Several important figure and host representative has talked about 2009 World Baseball Classic:

Allan H. (Bud) Selig, Major League Baseball Commissioner, said:

“The 2009 World Baseball Classic will further demonstrate the remarkable global growth of our game,” “There has been incredible demand to host the games of the second World Baseball Classic, and we are pleased to have four international destinations as our first-round venues. We are excited about the 2009 World Baseball Classic and look forward to next March.”

Don Fehr, the executive director of the Players’ Association, said:

“The best baseball players in the world are looking forward with great anticipation to playing in the 2009 World Baseball Classic,” “Implementation of double-elimination and crossover games to the World Baseball Classic next year will make the games even more intense and the tournament even more exciting for both players and fans. It will be an unforgettable experience.”

Dr. Harvey Schiller, President, International Baseball Federation (IBAF), said:

“On behalf of the entire IBAF membership, we are excited to once again participate in this important event. The cooperation between IBAF, Major League Baseball, and the Major League Baseball Players Association is at an all time high. We all look forward to this event as a prelude to our return to the Olympic program in 2016 and beyond.”

Takuo Takihana, Chairman, The Yomiuri Shimbun, remarked:

“Since The Yomiuri Shimbun hosted the first US-Japan All-Star Tour in 1931, and invited Babe Ruth to Japan in 1934, we have dedicated our soul to spread this wonderful sport of baseball throughout the world. It is our great honor to be named the host of the Round One games in Tokyo once again, following 2006. With pride, as the largest selling newspaper company in the world, with a daily circulation of 10 million copies per day, we promise you to stage a supreme baseball event.”

Carlos Hermosillo Conade, Minister of Sport of Mexico, said:

“The government of Mexico, under President Felipe Calderón, is committed to working with the businesses of our country to bring international events like the World Baseball Classic to Mexico to demonstrate our hospitality, culture and organizing capabilities. We have worked very closely with ALHÜVA Entretenimiento, represented by the enthusiastic sports promoter Alejandro Hütt, and Mexico City is very excited to be host of Round 1 games at Foro Sol Stadium. For the enormous baseball fan base in our country, it will be especially exciting to be able to see the Mexican National Team filled with MLB stars compete in Mexico for the first time ever.”

Paul Godfrey, President and CEO, Toronto Blue Jays and Rogers Centre, added:

“This is a world class event for Rogers Centre and the City of Toronto. What better place to hold the World Baseball Classic than in a city that has such a strong international reach? The raised global profile of the tournament, along with the great performance of teams from the United States, Venezuela, Italy and our own Team Canada, will make these games most exciting as fans will see their favorite players demonstrate an unprecedented level of passion and dedication to their national teams.”

Antonio Muñoz, MB Sports Chairman of the Board, said:

“Over the years, we have brought to Puerto Rico the best baseball there is, including the historic games of the inaugural World Baseball Classic. We are very proud to once again be selected to host the world’s premier international baseball tournament and expect Hiram Bithorn Stadium to be a showcase for thrilling match-ups between the Dominican Republic, the Netherlands, Panama and our home team representing Puerto Rico.”

About World Baseball Classic, Inc.
World Baseball Classic, Inc. is a company created at the direction of Major League Baseball (MLB) and the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) to operate the World Baseball Classic tournament. The tournament, which is sanctioned by the International Baseball Federation (IBAF), is supported by MLB, the MLBPA, Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB), the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO), their respective players associations and other leagues and players from around the world.

About the World Baseball Classic
The World Baseball Classic is the premier international baseball tournament, sanctioned by the International Baseball Federation, and features the best players in the world competing for their home countries and territories. In March 2006, 486 players – 235 of them from MLB organizations – representing 16 teams from across the globe competed in the inaugural event. More than 740,000 fans from 48 states and 15 countries attended games and millions more watched on TV as Team Japan was crowned the first-ever World Baseball Classic Champion. Broadcast by 48 media outlets in 10 languages to 205 countries and territories around the world, the inaugural tournament had 50 official sponsors and 21 official licensees. Media members representing 25 different nations attended the 39 games in seven host venues across three countries/territories. The next tournament will be held in March 2009 and will again feature 16 of the greatest baseball-playing nations in the world. The tournament will be held every four years thereafter, with plans in place to expand the participant field beginning in 2013.

2009 World Baseball Classic to feature same 16 teams

After further discussion, the 16-team field is set for the second World Baseball Classic, which is scheduled for March of next year. Though it is exactly the same as the inaugural edition in 2006, it may be the last time the governing bodies of the tournament restrict the competition to that few teams.

Under consideration for 2013 is an expansion of the field to 24 countries and territories with qualifying rounds as a preface to reach the main competition.

“As the level of baseball continues to rise worldwide, it is essential that the World Baseball Classic expand its field to give the growing number of formidable teams the opportunity to participate,” said Paul Archey, Major League Baseball’s senior vice president of international business operations. “In accordance with the tournament’s goal of growing and enhancing interest in the game, the Steering Committee has strongly endorsed the expansion of the competition for the 2013 event.”

But that’s down the road. Next year’s field will again feature defending title winner Japan, runner-up Cuba, the U.S., Dominican Republic, Korea, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Venezuela — all teams that qualified for the second round last time and thus received automatic berths for ’09. It was announced on Feb. 20th that Australia, Canada, China, Chinese Taipei, Italy, Netherlands, Panama, and South Africa were sent invitations.

Similar to the last time selection process, the Steering Committee determined the 16 teams for the 2009 World Baseball Classic based on criteria established to create the most highly-competitive international baseball event in the world. Some of the key factors involved in team evaluation and selection included: strength of native player base, number of professional players, international rankings, viability of domestic baseball programs, participant’s impact on baseball development in country/territory and diverse global representation.

“There has been significant improvement in the level of play internationally and indeed, Major League ranks include even more players from across the world,” said Gene Orza, chief operating officer of the Players’ Association. “The 16 teams selected best represent the breadth of quality play around the globe, which meets a key tournament objective, showing the world how far baseball has come internationally. If you liked the tournament last time around, wait ’til you see her this time.”

The venues are expected to be announced next month with all four first-round competitions being played outside the U.S., which will host Round 2, the semi-finals and finals, as it did in 2006.

Toronto remains a “very strong candidate” to host one of the four groups in first-round play, a source with knowledge of the event’s planning told The Canadian Press. Canada is likely to be joined by the United States, a Latin American country and a non-traditional baseball country in the first round, with the games being held at the Rogers Centre, home of the Major League Team Toronto Blue Jays.

Attendance for the ’06 tournament at its seven venues was 737,112 tickets sold. The semi-finals and finals were sold out at San Diego’s 45,000-seat PETCO Park, undoubtedly a front-runner to host the Classic’s finale again in 2009.

It was the first time that all Major League players were allowed to represent their native lands in an international baseball tournament. The baseball competition in the Summer Olympics, which is slated for Beijing in August, includes non-25-man roster MLB players only.

“The intensity in the stands as well as the intensity on the playing field was absolutely remarkable, and I’m not sure that going into it you could have felt that,” Commissioner Bud Selig said at the time regarding the legacy of the Classic. “I’m very confident that this will be the platform we use to take this sport internationally to the dimension that I want to take it and believe that we will.”

About the World Baseball Classic Steering Committee
The World Baseball Classic Steering Committee consists of 12 members representing professional baseball leagues, Club owners, players, international baseball federations and other international organizations affiliated with the game of baseball (for a complete list of members, see below). The Steering Committee provides ongoing guidance regarding the development of the premier international baseball tournament, the World Baseball Classic. The focus of the committee is to ensure that the tournament continues to maximize its potential to develop the game of baseball worldwide.

Steering Committee Members
Major League Baseball (2)

Tim Brosnan, Executive Vice President, Business
Rob Manfred, Executive Vice President, Labor Relations

MLB Players Association (2)
Gene Orza, Chief Operating Officer
Michael Weiner, General Counsel

International BAseball Federation (2)
Harvey Schiller, President
Eduardo de Bello, Panama

Nippon Professional Baseball (1)
Kazuo Hasegawa, Executive Secretary

Japan Professional Baseball Players Association (1)
Toru Matsubara, Executive Director

Korean Baseball Organization (1)
Il-Sung Ha, Secretary General

Korean Professional Baseball Players Association (1)
Jin-kyun Na, Secretary General

Members-at-large (2)
Gyo Ishiguro, Chief Officer, Culture & Sports Projects, Yomiuri Shimbun
Roland Betts, President & Founder, Chelsea Piers, L.P.

About World Baseball Classic, Inc.
World Baseball Classic, Inc. is a company created at the direction of Major League Baseball (MLB) and the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) to operate the World Baseball Classic tournament. The tournament, which is sanctioned by the International Baseball Federation (IBAF), is supported by MLB, the MLBPA, Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB), the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO), their respective players associations and other leagues and players from around the world.

About the World Baseball Classic
The World Baseball Classic is the premier international baseball tournament and features the best players in the world competing for their home countries and territories. In March 2006, 16 teams from across the globe competed in the inaugural event, which was sanctioned by the International Baseball Federation (IBAF). More than 740,000 fans from 48 states and 15 countries attended games and millions more watched on TV as Team Japan was crowned the first-ever World Baseball Classic Champion. The next tournament is scheduled for March 2009 and will be held every four years thereafter.

World Baseball Classic a major hit

Believe it or not, World Baseball Classic is a Major Hit!

Cuban players in those lucky red uniforms sprinted to the mound for an exhilarating embrace. A South Korean band pounded drums right outside the ballpark. Dominican fans danced to a merengue beat, the Venezuelans draped themselves in bright yellow flags.

All the chants, cheers and national pride provided exactly the kind of international spirit Bud Selig envisioned all along for the World Baseball Classic.

Fans stayed up late to watch on television, even after the star-laden squads from the United States and Dominican Republic made early exits. Supporters remained in the seats at Petco Park – where a sign in left-center reads “America’s Pastime” – to wait out a 45-minute rain delay Saturday night and watch Japan eliminate its previously unbeaten rival, South Korea.

The Classic captured attention in the midst of NCAA March Madness, and that’s saying something.

One thing is clear: The interest is there. Moises Alou, a 39-year-old outfielder for the San Francisco Giants, said he heard from several of his countrymen who wished they had joined him on the Dominican team and plan to play three years from now.

Ken Griffey Jr. rejoined the Cincinnati Reds on Monday in Sarasota, Fla., wishing he and the U.S. team were still alive in the WBC. “The guys who showed up were awesome,” Griffey said. “Not just for me to be out there with my dad and my son but just for the guys to represent their country. It says a lot for everyone there.”

“Apart from the Olympics, I really wanted this WBC tournament to be the event that decides the true world champions, so that’s why I participated,” Ichiro Suzuki said through a translator after emerging from the fray of Japan’s bubbly celebration. “This is probably the biggest moment of my baseball career.”

“It’s not an ideal thing for a player to think, but I really didn’t care if I would get injured in this game. That’s how much I really wanted to win this one. That’s how we were driven to this championship,” Suzuki said.

“Last night was a good example of what this thing is all about — the reaction of the people,” U.S. Baseball Hall of Fame inductee and former Los Angeles Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda said. “That’s what made this thing a tremendous success. “Look, there’s two teams playing, and I think only one (MLB) player among them, maybe two. Still, there were 42,000 fans, and the excitement wasn’t the fact that they maybe just had tickets and had to go, but the excitement was already there. That’s the way it’s been.”

San Diego Padres catcher Mike Piazza left his new club because he was eager to play for Italy in the WBC. “This was an honor for me,” he said. “We didn’t make this decision lightly, this was something very special for us to play for the country of our fathers and mothers and forefathers and foremothers, and again, that’s something we really take seriously. We believe baseball can continue to grow in Italy.”

And, Selig hopes, in places such as Australia, South Africa, and the Netherlands, too.

Sure, more and better talented players could have shown an interest in playing for the U.S. team in the inaugural World Baseball Classic. Sure, the tournament could have been played at a more convenient time of the year, say, in November. And, sure, there’s a lot of hand-wringing over the Americans’ early exit from the tournament.

But CHAZ SCOGGINS of Lowell Sun is looking at the bigger picture here. And the bigger picture is that it’s wonderful to see baseball being played at such a high level in so many different countries in the world these days.

Once again, competition is good for the game. Any game.

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Baseball wins the World!

Nineteen days ago, when the inaugural World Baseball Classic began in Tokyo, no one knew what to expect. Right now, most nay-sayers had disappeared, some no doubt wondering how they could have been so wrong about an event.

“There was a time when people said there won’t be a next time,” said Gene Orza, chief operation officer of the Major League Baseball Players Association. “Now, it’s a given. There will be a tournament in 2009. And that’s a tribute to the tournament and how it has been conducted.”

It was noted that major-league baseball had only scant representation in the championship game, with two big-leaguers on Japan’s squad: outfielder Ichiro Suzuki (Seattle Mariners) and reliever Akinori Otsuka (Texas Rangers). The hitters, in particular, complained that they weren’t ready to face top-flight pitching during what normally would be the middle of spring training for them.

“You know who ended up winning? Baseball did, sports did, sportsmanship did,” said Cuban manager Higinio Velez. “We have to do this more frequently; we have to show the quality of the game, the passion that is put into the game. We have to forget about the millions (of dollars), like the players did, forget about what they make and play with their hearts and hands like they did for this tournament, forgetting about their problems and just concentrating on the game. They played because of the challenge.”

Before the first pitch of the WBC finals between Cuba and Japan on Monday, executives from Major League Baseball and the players’ association declared it a resounding success and began what is sure to be a long post-tournament discussion about tweaking the format.

Commissioner Bud Selig said he believed the tournament exceeded expectations in terms of interest and intensity from players and fans. “I’m thrilled, I really am,” he said. “When you do something for the first time, it’s not going to be perfect. We’ll tinker with it,” he said. “But I think for the most part, everybody really got it right.”

For Cuba, even without Championship, is a bigger winner. Thanks to the diligent lobbying effort of Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig and players association head Don Fehr and the Puerto Rican Federation’s promise to bail out as a first- and second-round host if Cuba wasn’t included in the WBC, Cuba ultimately was allowed to participate.

Baseball, not politics, won out. Selig and Fehr deserve tremendous credit for their vision and commitment to expand baseball throughout the world. Even while losing to Japan in the finals on Monday, Cuba showed it definitely belongs among the world’s elite baseball teams.

Selig’s WBC had folks talking about baseball at a time when March Madness has the supreme hold on America’s attention. The ratings in America weren’t off the chart, but check out the ratings in Japan and Latin America.

Latinos showed up in droves in Puerto Rico and San Diego to support their Cuban brothers. Soccer still reigns throughout Latin America, but baseball is second in the region as a whole and No. 1 in places such as the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Cuba and Puerto Rico.

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Matsuzaka is MVP

Image hosting by PhotobucketJapanese starter Daisuke Matsuzaka, who gained the victory by giving up only one run in four innings while striking out five, was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. He finished 3-0, 1.38 in three WBC starts–getting three of Japan’s five total WBC wins–by also defeating Chinese Taipei and Mexico in earlier rounds.

“It was my first experience to pitch in a game with the world championship on the line,” said Matsuzaka, who is interested in jumping to the major leagues as early as next season. “I was going to feel a lot of pressure as this is something you can not purchase. But I did not feel much of it once I got up on the mound.”

“It’s No. 1. It’s amazing. We’re champions,” said tournament MVP Daisuke Matsuzaka, Japan’s starting pitcher who’s hoping he caught the attention of some major league scouts.

“I knew by rule that [Shunsuke] Watanabe was available, but when [Oh] selected me as the starting pitcher, that really fired me up,” he said.

The adrenaline flowed so freely that Matsuka threw more heat than even Oh anticipated. “He was throwing his pitches harder than ever in first four innings,” Oh said after the 10-6 victory over Cuba. “That was something I haven’t really seen in the past.”

The extra effort Matsuzaka put into the game led to an earlier than expected departure. There is a 95-pitch limit in the final round of the tournament, but the starter threw just 62 pitches — 43 for strikes.

“I never thought about a pitch count or anything,” Matsuzaka said, “so from the beginning, I was throwing the hardest pitches possible. This was the first time for me to face the Cuba team since the Athens Olympics (in 2004), but they always have these intimidating hitters.”

Matsuzaka said fear of the Cuba lineup never entered his mind and his game plan was to challenge the fastball-hitting team with fastballs.

According to ESPN’s Jim Caple: The The next great Japanese import, no matter how great Matsuzaka is in Japan and in World Baseball Classic, he will try his best to Major League soon.

“I believe that Major League Baseball is the best league in the whole world, and I would like to see what I could do in that league,” Matsuzaka said after Japan beat Cuba 10-6 on Monday night. “That’s what I have in my mind.”

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World Baseball Classic All-Tournament Team

Ichiro - City
Like every international tournament, World Baseball Classic has it’s own All-Tournament Team, and six of the 12 players were played in Championship game at PETCO Park.

The all-tournament team, whose name probably should be changed to all-world, honored the best of the inaugural World Baseball Classic. It was an event that drew 737,112 spectators and was covered by 5,354 media outlets.

Sixteen countries and nine languages were represented, and at seven different venues and three rounds, one champion was finally decided.

Below is the All-Tournament Team:
C Tomoya Satozaki, Japan .409, 1 HR, 5 RBI
1B Seung Yeop Lee, Korea .333, 5 HR, 10 RBI
2B Yulieski Gourriel, Cuba .303, 2 HR, 6 RBI
SS Derek Jeter, United States .450, 9 hits
3B Adrian Beltre, Dominican Republic .300, 4 HR, 9 RBI
OF Ken Griffey Jr., United States .524, 3 HR, 10 RBI
OF Jong Beom Lee, Korea .400, 6 2B, 10 hits
OF Ichiro Suzuki, Japan .364, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 4 SB
DH Yoandy Garlobo, Cuba .480, 1 HR, 4 RBI
P Yadel Marti, Cuba 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 12.2 IP, 2 SV, 11 K
P Daisuke Matsuzaka, Japan 3-0, 1.88 ERA, 10 K
P Chan Ho Park, Korea 0.00 ERA, 10 IP, 3 SV, 8 K

Japan is WBC Champion.

It’s Japan, not Cuba, not USA, not Dominican Republic, not Venezuela, not Puerto Rico, not Korea, become the inaugural winner of World Baseball Classic.

Japan 10, Cuba 6

JAPAN           - 400 020 004   --  10
CUBA            - 100 002 021   --   6

No matter what the final score read when those tiny yellow bulbs high above left field stopped blinking, Cuba’s unforgettable and historic ride through the World Baseball Classic came to a memorable ending Monday night at PETCO Park. As expected. Even in defeat. Japan took advantage of an early lead and never looked back, paving the way for a 10-6 victory in front of 42,696 in the tournament’s championship game.

Baseball fans around the globe have long been clamoring for an authentic world champion. Finally they have one. Japan is the winner of the inaugural World Baseball Classic. And now, baseball is not only spoken here, it is spoken everywhere. The Japanese put the crowning touch on the 17-day tournament that was played in Tokyo, Arizona, Florida, Puerto Rico and Southern California with the climax coming on Monday night at PETCO Park.

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