March 4, 2006

World Baseball Classic

I'm not all that excited about the World Baseball Classic, but I'll be rooting for David Ortiz and the Dominican Republic (though they are without Pedro, Manny and Vladimir Guererro).

Pool A: China, Chinese Taipei, Japan, Korea
Pool B: Canada, Mexico, South Africa, United States
Pool C: Cuba, Netherlands, Panama, Puerto Rico
Pool D: Australia, Dominican Republic, Italy, Venezuela

Rosters for teams in Pools B, C and D are here. Pool D's games will be played in Orlando, Florida:
March  7  1pm  Dominican Republic at Venezuela
8pm Australia v Italy
March 8 7pm Italy v Venezuela
March 9 1pm Italy v Dominican Republic
8pm Venezuela v Australia
March 10 7pm Australia v Dominican Republic
Before those games, however, there are a few exhibitions:
March 3 Canada v Toronto (ss)
March 5 Dominican Republic v Houston (ss)
Australia v Boston (ss)
There's an article on the DR team in today's Times:
Dominicans Draw Crowd as Deep as Their Lineup

Within five minutes of the opening of the first practice of the Dominican national team, autograph seekers stand four rows deep. Jerseys wait folded over cardboard to facilitate signing. Sharpies are uncapped. It will be two hours before autographs are even possible, yet the fans wait. ...

"I would love to be an underdog and kind of sneak by some teams and win it," Manager Manny Acta said of the 16-team World Baseball Classic, which starts Tuesday for the Dominican team. "But it's impossible not to be a favorite with the kind of talent we have." ...

The red-and-blue quadrants of the Dominican flag are stitched onto caps so new that the one for first baseman Ortiz still displays the gold sticker identifying his as official merchandise. ...

The Dominicans open against Venezuela. Starter Bartolo Colon is expected to platoon with Miguel Batista. Acta expects each to throw only about 50 pitches, 15 below the imposed 65-pitch count.
The list is shrinking, but I think eight Red Sox are participating:
United States:      Jason Varitek, Mike Timlin
Dominican Republic: David Ortiz, Julian Tavarez
Canada: Adam Stern
Puerto Rico: Alex Cora
Italy:
Lenny DiNardo
Australia: Trent Durrington

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