Posts Tagged ‘Japan’

Yu Darvish to skip 2013 World Baseball Classic

One of the biggest star in Japan and the winning pitcher of 2009 WBC Championship game against Korea, Yu Darvish decided to skip 2013 World Baseball Classic.

Yu Darvish vs Royals - 9/3/2012
(Photo via eric.langhorst, CC License)

In his MLB rookie season, Darvish made a career high 29 regular-season starts for the Texas Rangers, but his 191 inning is not, he did average 217 innings in 2010 and 2011 in Japan. Overall, he got 16-9 with a 3.90 ERA, 1.28 WHIP and 221 strikeouts in 2012 and he was 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA in 13 innings in the 2009 WBC.

Below is his full statement:

After much deliberation, which has included a lot of consultation with my coaches and trainers, I have decided that I will not play in the upcoming World Baseball Classic. This was a very difficult decision for me as it is always a tremendous honor to represent my native country of Japan. I greatly enjoyed being a part of the 2009 Championship ballclub and I will be supporting this year’s team as they look to defend their title. There are many very talented players in Japan and I am confident this team will uphold Japan’s great tradition in this event.

Given my substantial workload over the last few seasons and the numerous changes I’ve endured in my move to the United States, I have decided with my team of advisors that getting ample rest is the most important thing for me right now as I prepare for the 2013 season. My ultimate goal is to help win a World Series with the Texas Rangers and to share that accomplishment with the great baseball fans in Japan. I look forward to next season and am excited about our chances of winning.

I thank everyone for their understanding with my decision.”

Rangers also released a statement:

Yu has informed the Rangers of his plans regarding the 2013 World Baseball Classic. We support what had to be a very difficult decision for him to make. He made an outstanding transition in his first year in Major League Baseball and we look forward to another strong season from him in 2013.”

It will be a big loss for Japan being without Darvish this spring, but the team should still be one of the favorites to take the WBC.

Hara to manage Japan Team

Finally, Team Japan has named manager.

After long time research, Yomiuri Giants manager Tatsunori Hara formally agree to be the manager of the Japan national team for World Baseball Classic next March.

“I’ll do my best to help Japan form a strong squad to defend the title,” “I will do my level best and become a power in forming a strong team” said Hara, who led the Giants to overcome a 13-game deficit to the Central League pennant for the second straight year and their first Japan Series in six years. “I didn’t expect at all [to be asked for the managerial job]. But leading the Japan squad is an honor for me,” Hara said.

According to Yomiuri Shimbun, Nippon Professional Baseball commissioner Ryozo Kato visited The Yomiuri Shimbun’s head office Tuesday morning and asked Giants owner Takuo Takihana to allow Hara to skipper Japan as it looks for its second straight WBC title. Then Kato went to the Yomiuri Giants training complex in Kawasaki to meet Hara.

Kato, former Japanese ambassador to the United States, said he appreciates that Hara accepted the job. “I really appreciate Mr. Hara’s understanding in accepting this job even while he prepares for the Japan Series,” Kato said. “I told him he will have our full cooperation–along with special adviser Sadaharu Oh–in the process of selecting coaches and players.”

“Now I’m focusing on our preparations for the Japan Series. After doing my best for the Giants, then I’ll give my all for Japan,” Hara said, ahead of Game 1 on Saturday against the Saitama Seibu Lions at Tokyo Dome.

“We’ll have players, fans and coaches all banding together to take on the world,” said Hara at a press conference following the decision. “That’s the power of Japan.”

Japan’s Olympic coach Senichi Hoshino has refused to stay on to lead the defending champions at next year’s World Baseball Classic (WBC). The 61-year-old’s decision not to answer his country’s call leaves Japanese baseball officials with even fewer options ahead of the March tournament.

“Even if I am asked I will turn it down,” Hoshino told Japanese media. “I have informed (Japan’s baseball) commissioner of my decision.”

Hoshino suffered intense criticism after Japan failed to secure a medal at this year’s Beijing Olympics.
“I’ve already been engulfed in flames once — why should I have to drag someone’s chestnuts out of the fire again?” he said on his personal website. “I don’t want to put my family through that again.”

After Hoshino reject, Katsuya Nomura, manager of the Rakuten Eagles, thinks Seattle outfielder Ichiro Suzuki could be just the man to lead Japan’s defense of the title at the 2009 WBC.

“Maybe we should just let Ichiro be a playing manager,” Nomura was quoted to say on the Nikkansports Web site. But the idea is not come true.

“In the end, We got back to the drawing board after Mr. Hoshino decided to back off and we decided an active manager would be best, and Hara’s name came up,” said Sadaharu Oh, a special adviser to the committee and former manager of the Softbank Hawks.

Kato said Hara was chosen by an NPB advisory committee because of his youth, good health and managerial experience. “Earlier we planned to pick a manager who is not a club team manager, but it eventually wasn’t a practical idea,” Kato said. “And we decided that Mr. Hara fits mostly to the position considering his experience and achievements.”

Apart from Kato and Oh, who led Japan to victory in the inaugural 2006 WBC competition, other members of the WBC organizing committee include Senichi Hoshino, Rakuten Eagles manager Katsuya Nomura; Yakult Swallows manager Shigeru Takada, and baseball commentator Kenjiro Nomura.

Hara is scheduled to start selecting coaches and players after the Japan Series. Training camp for the WBC will begin on Feb. 15.

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.

Fukudome, Blanco and Zambrano want to play

Some Cubbies want to join the World Baseball Classic in 2009.

That’s include Kosuke Fukudome, about to begin the first year of his four-year contract with the team, although it means that he could be late getting to Spring Training next year, due to first round of games will begin March 5 at the Tokyo Dome in Japan.

“I’d be honored if selected,” Fukudome said through interpreter Ryuji Araki.

This would not be Fukudome’s first international competition. He was the center fielder on the gold-medal winning Japanese team in the 2006 World Baseball Classic, and was a member of the Japanese Olympic Baseball team that won the bronze medal in the 2004 Olympics. He also helped the Japanese team win the silver medal in the 1996 Olympics.

So does catcher Henry Blanco, who said he’d be honored to play for the Venezuelan team, if invited.

“It was a good experience, and I’d definitely do it again,” Blanco said. “Now we know what it’s all about and we’d have time to prepare. You can see in a couple guys who didn’t play winter ball, they didn’t have good timing. I think Carlos Zambrano was practicing and throwing early, and it didn’t make any difference for him.”

And Zambrano, who was more than willing to pitch for his country.

“Sure, why not?” the Cubs Opening Day starter said.

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.

First eight teams of 2009 WBC decide

Yes, there will be another World Baseball Classic.

In 2009.

A joint steering committee overseeing the tournament made official on April 20th. what long has been presumed: that the second international baseball competition to include Major League players will be staged in March 2009, with dates and venues yet to be determined.

Additionally, all eight teams that advance to the second round in first World Baseball Classic — the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Puerto Rico, United States and Venezuela — will receive the first invitations. The remaining eight will be determined and unveiled by the seven steering committee members in December 2007, but it will be a tough decision, for there are many countries interested in participating.

“We are extremely pleased with the impressive results of the 2006 World Baseball Classic and excited about the momentum and anticipation it has generated for the upcoming 2009 event,” said Bob DuPuy, MLB’s president and chief operating officer. “As international baseball continues to develop and thrive, and the supply of quality baseball nations grows, the task of selecting the 16 deserving teams has become increasingly difficult,” DuPuy said.

The eight countries that were eliminated in the inaugural first round were China, Chinese Taipei, South Africa, Canada, Australia, Panama, Italy and The Netherlands. There has been a desire from other baseball-playing countries to be included in the 16-team field, and some that so far don’t play the game. Israel, for example, is starting its first professional baseball league this summer and is seeking a berth in the next Classic.

“Numerous countries, far more than we currently can invite, are clamoring to get in,” said Gene Orza, the chief operating officer of the MLB players association and its representative to the steering committee. “Given the limitations on the size of the field that we face at this date, we want to make sure that the widespread interest in participation gets the attention it deserves.”

The first tournament was such a rousing success that the steering committee announced a dispersal of $8 million to the International Baseball Federation (IBAF), plus the baseball federations of the 16 nations and commonwealths that participated based on their finish in the tournament. The federations are expected to distribute a minimum of $3.3 million to their local baseball programs. And in addition, the IBAF will receive $1 million to continue developing the game globally.

Attendance at the seven venues was 737,112 tickets sold, the semifinals and finals were sold out at PETCO Park, undoubtedly a front runner to host the Classic’s climax again in 2009. The steering committee said it would begin taking bids for venues immediately.

Last time, the games were also hosted in San Juan, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Ariz., Anaheim and Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

Japan won the initial tournament from March 3-20, 2006 with a squad featuring just two major league players by defeating Cuba 10-6 at San Diego’s PETCO Park, while Communist Cuba made it to the final with the latest generation of their amateur dynasty.

Many US major leaguers shunned the Classic in favor of pre-season workouts with club teams in advance of the April opening of the US season. Some had suggested moving the event to November, after the major league World Series, but major league baseball commissioner Bud Selig had voiced doubts about a change.

Thursday’s meeting in New York was the second for the steering committee, which is made up of officials from Major League Baseball, Nippon Professional Baseball, the IBAF, and representatives for the MLB and NPB players associations.


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