Monday, March 4, 2013

Lee Yong-Kyu

Although the first round of the World Baseball Classic can feature some unbalanced matchups, we have had a couple of upsets so far. It's also great just to have some competitive baseball back on TV, even if I have to pretend I don't really need sleep in order to watch most of it.

Either way, my favorite player so far is Korea's Lee Yonk-Kyu. Lee started in right field and drew two walks in his team's upset loss to the Netherlands, but he is currently hitting leadoff and playing center field in the follow up against Australia. With another walk and a base hit, he has helped Korea build a 4-0 lead as it attempts to avoid elimination.

His on-base percentage aside though, the best thing about Lee is his batting stance. When the pitcher winds up to throw, Lee begins to slowly kick out his foot, eventually extending it all the way across the plate as the pitcher releases the ball. It's half-ninja, half-baseball and creates a second game within the game. Can the pitcher hit his leg if he trows fast enough? I bet he could! Will it happen? It might!

I think we have no choice except to cheer for Korea. The more games they play, the more I get to see a fastball headed straight for the karate kid's leg.

Friday, March 1, 2013

World Babseball Classic 2013 Quick Preview: Pool C

Pool C Predicted Finish: Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Spain

Dominican Republic

Notable players: Robinson Cano, Hanley Ramirez, Alejandro de Aza, Nelson Cruz

Manager: Tony Pena

First game: March 7 vs. Venezuela

The Dominican Republic team was stunned in 2009, losing twice to the Netherlands in the first round to head home early. This year's roster is absolutely stacked and should compete for the title. The pitching staff includes Edinson Volquez, Wandy Rodriguez, and Octavio Dotel, among others. More importantly, Carlos Marmol is not around to mess things up.


Notable players: Miguel Cabrera, Pablo Sandoval, Marco Scutaro, Anibal Sanchez

Manager: Luis Sojo

First game: March 7 vs. Dominican Republic

Of course, this roster is also loaded with talent and could give the Dominican team trouble right away. Venezuela finished 6-2 in 2009, losing once to the U.S. in the first round and then dropping their last game against Korea in the final round.

Puerto Rico

Notable players: Carlos Beltran, Alex Rios, Angel Pagan

Manager: Edwin Rodriguez

First game: March 8 vs. Spain

Puerto Rico has a good team, but it has little chance of advancing. It will be interesting to see if there is a huge upset waiting to happen in this pool. Beltran hit .421 in 2009 and will lead a decent offense, but the pitching staff may not be strong enough this year.


Notable players: Rhiner Cruz, Engel Beltre, Paco Figueroa

Manager: Mauro Mazzotti

First game: March 8 vs. Puerto Rico

Spain has never been in the WBC but defeated France, South Africa, and Israel to qualify this year. Now they'll be playing virtual MLB All-Star teams. Spain advancing would be the ultimate March Madness.

For complete 2013 World Baseball Classic rosters, schedules, and more, visit the official site.