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Saturday February 16th, 2013
By Jonathan Hacohen (Lead Baseball Columnist, Oakland A’s Correspondent and Website Founder): Follow @Jhacohen
Going into the 3rd edition of the World Baseball Classic, the #1 question that I get asked on a daily basis is: “Which country will win it all?” A fair question, as all sports fans (not just baseball ones) love to predict champions before the first game is even played. Given that Japan has won the first two WBC titles (2006 and 2009), they have to be the favorites going into this year’s tournament. But as every new WBC edition begins, every country begins to get hungrier and hungrier. We had a qualifier tournament recently, the inaugural one for a WBC. 16 countries battled it out to win the 4 coveted spots into the tournament. Chinese Taipei, Brazil, Canada and Spain will field teams next month.
Canada and Chinese Taipei were two of the four countries that did not receive automatic entries and were required to qualify. Brazil and Spain were the newcomers that got their first taste of the WBC…and evidently loved it. So who will be it folks? Japan beat Korea in 2009 and Cuba back in 2006. Ironically, Cuba lost to Japan twice back in the 2nd round of 2009. If not for Japan, Cuba would have at least WBC title under their belts. Maybe two. So who does Cuba get in their group as part of the 1st Round of the 2013 WBC? Japan, of course. This time around, things will be different. Cuba is ready to knock the Japanese gorilla off their backs and take the 2013 World Baseball Classic.
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Friday, February 9th, 2013
Sam Evans (Baseball Writer): Follow @RJA206
With the World Baseball Classic starting not too long from now, it’s time to preview all of the teams and their individual superstars. Group A is perhaps the most talented division. Japan, China, Cuba, and Brazil will make up the structure of Group A, which will begin play in Fukuoka, Japan on March 2nd. This division appears to be one of the strongest and definitely one of the most interesting.
2009 WBC Highlights from the final – Japan vs Korea:
Sunday June 10th, 2012
Jonathan Hacohen: Posted every Weekend: Your top baseball questions from the past week are answered. E-mail all questions to email@example.com, message us on Twitter, post on our Facebook Wall and leave comments on our website! There are many ways to reach us and we will get to your questions from all social media outlets!
Let’s get to your top questions of the week:
Q: Hey there, glad to see a Torontonian loving baseball! I was born in Burlington, but grew up in Charlotte, NC… and am a lifelong Jays diehard! But hey, as a baseball guy growing up in NC… no way Durham got pro ball over Charlotte.. no chance… mayyyyyyyyyybe Raleigh (only b/c Charlotte already has 2 pro teams)… but in which case does MLB choose the lesser populated city in a State? Never. The MLB is the BIGS for a reason… and Charlotte could most certainly (fans, sponsors, funding) support a MLB team. It would be a ‘Baseball Town’…people live and breathe the sport here. I grew up playing here, it was a treat.
But here’s the catch, I just don’t know if Charlotte can support 3 major league teams… Panthers, Bobcats, and Baseball… If the Bobcats relocated… which could happen within 10 years… I could certainly see the city shift its focus to luring a pro ball team. The Knights (AAA) new stadium has pretty much gotten the city official’s approval and will be able to transform into a pro stadium if Charlotte becomes a relocation or expansion candidate.
But as a baseball fan, I would be all for the Bobcats moving and us getting MLB…. if I had to choose between NBA and MLB… pretty obvious…
But, LET’S GO JAYS!!!
Greg from Charlotte
JH: Hello Greg. Thank you for writing to us all the way from Charlotte! There are a couple of us here on the Reports from Toronto (present company included), but the majority of our writers are American. Hey, it is America’s favorite pastime! But in all seriousness, you have touched upon one our most popular subjects: MLB Expansion. The World Baseball Classic is another one…and yes…we will cover that topic as well on this edition of the Reports. But getting back to your comment, it was great to hear from a baseball fan directly from the area in question. Charlotte is brought up all the time in expansion talk. While it was not an area that I directly considered when I wrote my original expansion article, the area has been brought up countless times since. You bring up some very interesting points in your analysis. The local area and economy will play a HUGE part in the final decision when the next expansion locations are awarded. If indeed you are correct and it will take another sports team to relocate out of Charlotte for baseball to arrive, then I am afraid that you will be out of luck. The perception I feel will be that if Charlotte could not sustain the Bobcats, then it certainly cannot handle Major League Baseball. 40+ home games at 12-15,000 fans per game is no comparison to trying to feel 81 home games at 30,000+ fans per game. My mindset is that all existing teams need to do exceptionally well for the area to prove that it can handle a major sports team.
We can agree to disagree on this one, because of the subjective nature of what Major League Baseball will consider ultimately in expansion talks. But overall, factors will include population, health of the economy, television deal, stadium size/age/location, ownership groups etc. In other words, I am not counting out Charlotte just yet. There is still hope my friend, so keep the faith!! And….Let’s GO TIGERS!!!!!!! Read the rest of this entry