World Baseball Classic

 

I know as a flag-loving American and blogger that it's my duty to be critical of just about everything, especially something new and different. But I just can't find the energy or a good reason to hate on the World Baseball Classic. The set-up certainly is not ideal, the biggest problems being the inability to get all the top talent and the schedule, but I'm not sure how to fix either situation. They could try playing in November after the World Series, and maybe a few extra bodies would show up on rosters...or maybe not. Teams and players would still have injury issues to deal with and most of the top pitchers would be wary of adding extra innings to their arms. At least having it in March, the pitchers are on their normal spring training schedule. Having it in March also capitalizes on the enthusiasm of not having any baseball for the last four months, put it in November and the average fan has been a bit burned out over the last seven months and probably already moved on to football (either version).

As far as I see it, it's competitive baseball in March with some of the best players on the planet. That sounds a lot more fun than watching So Taguchi getting four at-bats a game. 

I'm going to go get my face paint and flag as Team USA takes on Canada at 1pm CST on ESPN today...I'll try and stop by Parachat for the festivities.

The World Baseball Classic Rosters were announced and eight Cubs will be involved with the event - five from the major league squad. (Drumroll please)

  • Carlos Marmol (Dominican Republic)  (See Update below)
  • Carlos Zambrano (Venezuela) (See Update #2)
  • Kosukue Fukudome (Japan)
  • Geovany Soto (Puerto Rico)
  • Ted Lilly (USA)
  • *Vince Perkins (Canada) 
  • **Alex Maestri (Italy)
  • **Hung-wen Chen (Chinese Taipei)

* Non-Roster Invitee, ** Minor League System

So the story from yesterday turns out true about Zambrano and looks like Carlos Marmol had a last minute change of heart. Say hello to your 2009 closer - Kevin Gregg!

UPDATE: Either Muskat is doing her usual bang-up job or some things are still up in the air. Her story doesn't mention Marmol or Zambrano at all. Soto is set to DH in the first game for Puerto Rico and catch Jonathan Sanchez in their third game. Also, under the Cubs headlines on that story is the "Cubs' Marmol opts to skip Classic for D.R." article and it looks like the rosters no longer have Marmol on them, but Zambrano still is listed. Not so fast Kevin Gregg - hahahaha!!

UPDATE #2:  Zambrano said he's not pitching in the WBC. He is set to go Monday for the Cubs in Cactus League play. The Venezuelan teams attempt at the Jedi Mind Trick seems to have failed. 

"Carlos, it says right here that you're pitching for the team. You will pitch in the WBC. Look, it's been printed on the web."

"No, I'm not"

(Waves hand) "Yes, you will."

"No, I'm not, and stop waving your fucking hand around."

Hat tip to Bleacher Nation for the find, but it appears that Carlos Zambrano has duped us all. Official rosters are set to be announced tomorrow but SI.com has the scoop on Team Venezuela.


Carlos Zambrano of the Chicago Cubs will stand in for Santana on the mound while sluggers Magglio Ordonez and Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers will lead Venezuela's offense, according to the line-up released on Monday by Edwin Zerpa, president of the Venezuelan Baseball Federation.

In addition to Santana, Anibal Sanchez, Angel Guzman, Maicer Izturis and Renyel Pinto will not be participating, mostly because their respective Major League teams would not clear them. Others did not want to risk injuries.

Zambrano was not originally expected to join the line-up, but the Cubs decided to clear him.

No good will come of this.

MLB has released the 45-man provisional rosters of the national teams that will be playing in the 2009 World Baseball Classic (WBC).

Rosters will need to be cut-down to 28 (with at least 13 pitchers) by February 24th. 

There are presently a total of 17 Cubs major leaguers and minor leaguers on the provisional rosters of the WBC teams:  

The World Baseball Classic is happening again this spring and the rosters are starting to take shape. MLB.com came out with an article on the Dominican Republic team and it sounds like Alfonso Soriano and Carlos Marmol will be playing for them. In Carrie Muskat's latest mailbag, she says that Carlos Zambrano will sit out for Team Venezuela this time. It doesn't appear any Cubs will play for Team USA unless the Cubs do land Jake Peavy. You have to hope that Rich Harden wouldn't participate for Team Canada, although I'd guess that Ryan Dempster would. Kosuke Fukudome has indicated he would be honorod to play for Team Japan if they ask. And that's all the Cubs I can think of off the top of my head for the major league squad.

As for the minor leagues, I assume pitcher Alex Maestri will play for Team Italy. The Cubs also signed two Australian pitchers Ryan Searle and Cody Hams and they may play. There are also a few Korean prospects in the system, Lee Hak-ju and Dae-Eun Rhee, so watch for them. And there's a good chance I'm missing a few players so fill in the gaps in the comments if you know of anyone else. (UPDATE: And there you go, Geovany Soto is probably a good bet for the Puerto Rico team).

In the 2006 WBC, Carlos Zambrano and Henry Blanco played for Team Venezuela, Derrek Lee and Michael Barrett played for Team USA. The 2009 WBC will start on March 5th.

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