Posts Tagged ‘Baseball’

USA Baseball Downs Japan, Will Play Cuba for Gold

August 5, 2010 Leave a comment

The US college national team advanced to their 4th straight gold medal game at the World University Championships by defeating Japan 4-2. George Springer (Connecticut) hit a first inning grand slam to give righthander Sonny Gray (Vanderbilt) all the runs he would need. Gray allowed 3 hits over 7 innings, while striking out 6 and allowing his first 2 runs of the entire summer (only one earned).

The US will now take on Cuba, who defeated Korea 11-1 in the semis. The Cubans have outscored their opponents 70-6 over the course of the tournament.

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USA Baseball Update

August 2, 2010 Leave a comment

It took 11 innings, but the college national team was able to down Chinese Taipei 8-7. The game lasted just under 4 hours, and was ended by a Nick Ramirez (Cal State Fullerton) walk-off single. Each team scored a run in the 10th, as the IBAF rules stipulate that in extra innings runners are placed on first and second to begin the inning.

Gerrit Cole (UCLA) struck out 8 over 6 innings, and gave up just 1 run, but it was Brian Johnson (Florida) who got the win in relief. The collegians face Canada tomorrow.

In other USA Baseball news, the U-18 team beat the Netherlands 18-2 to finish the World Championships with a tournament best 7-1 record. The team went 19-2 over the summer.

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USA Baseball Opens World University Games with Record Breaking Win

July 30, 2010 1 comment

It was just Sri Lanka, but the United States opened the World University Games with a 15-0 win ended after 5 innings via the run rule. In the game starting pitcher Sonny Gray (Vanderbilt) struck out 14 Sri Lankan hitters, breaking the previous record held by Stephen Strasburg.

George Springer (Connecticut) and Nick Ramirez (Cal State Fullerton) hit back to back homers in the 5th to end the game.

Other good games were turned in by Mikie Mahtook (LSU) who went 3-3 with 3 RBI, and Ryan Wright (Louisville) who was 2-3 with a double, a stolen base and 2 RBI.

The World University Games feature two brackets each of four teams. All four teams from the pool will advance to the knockout round.

The US next plays Taiwan on August 1st before finishing up pool play v. Canada August 2nd.

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Could The Loss Of The Olympics Be The Death Knell For International Baseball?

October 26, 2009 1 comment

In August, the International Olympic Committee recommended squash and golf be added to the 2016 Olympic program, effectively killing baseball’s chances at ever returning, and killing the expansion of baseball worldwide along with it. Jacques Rogge, the current IOC president, is a very “old school” European and is a huge rugby fan. Not to mention his wife used to head up the Belgian golf team, and it was almost a foregone conclusion as to which two sports would be added. In addition, the IOC is dominated by Europeans, many of whom do not understand baseball, and baseball is only big in the Netherlands and Italy, although it is growing in Germany and the United Kingdom. Five of the current top 10 rugby teams in the world are in Europe, although Wales and Scotland won’t be allowed to compete independently. And it is almost a given that at least one European would medal in golf, if not multiple Europeans.

If baseball can’t get on the 2016 program – where two of the favorites for host city are Chicago and Tokyo, and one other (Madrid) has hosted an Olympic baseball tournament before – it doesn’t seem likely it will happen, at least until Rogge is done as head of the IOC.

If baseball won’t be back to the Olympics, baseball won’t be expanding any more than it has already, and in fact it will probably contract. Many countries get funding from their national governments or governmental sporting bodies based on whether they are Olympic sports or not. A country like South Africa has no incentive to invest heavily in baseball when they are the only country from Africa that is going to play in the WBC, and don’t have to qualify for the Olympics anymore. Sure they’ll still qualify for the WBC, but they won’t get any truly talented kids to play the sport.

Now that baseball isn’t in the Olympics, China won’t be mandating that its people play the sport. Kids won’t want to play the sport either when they see Yao Ming making millions of dollars. Kobe Bryant is far more popular in China than Albert Pujols ever will be.

Lastly, baseball is an expensive sport. In order to play it properly you need wooden bats (or aluminum), balls, gloves and a field. The cost of building a field for the Olympics is tremendous, and if it is never used again (such as Greece in 2004) the cost only rises. Without the Olympic carrot dangling, international baseball could be on its way out.

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Rugby, Golf Up For 2016 Vote

August 13, 2009 1 comment

Baseball, softball and two others were rejected for the 2016 vote, and instead next month the IOC will vote on whether to accept rugby and golf as olympic sports. Helping golf’s case was Tiger Woods and other notable golfers saying they would play in the Olympics if golf was accepted on the program. Golf would propose a 72 hole stroke play competition for both men and women. The top 15 players in the world would automatically qualify, with competitions set up for other qualifiers.

Rugby would be featured as rugby sevens, a quicker and faster paced game than the standard game, which has 15 players to a side. In this scenario the Rugby governing board would axe the Rugby Sevens World Cup to ensure that the Olympic games are the most prestigious tournament on the program. The vote, taking place in October, requires a majority to get rugby or golf into the Olympic program.

Baseball failed its bid, even though it had offered a shortened 5 day, 8 team tournament designed to bring top Major League Baseball stars over for the tournament. Famous softball pitcher Jennie Finch said she was “severely disheartened and disappointed by the IOC’s vote not to put softball back in the Olympics for 2016” via her Twitter.

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