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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.
Thursday November 22nd, 2012
Bernie Olshansky: What the Marlins had to do this offseason is horrible. Last year, the Marlins raised the hopes of the fans with a rejuvenated logo and uniforms, a new stadium, and most of all a new-look team. Last winter, Marlins management made a commitment to the fans to provide a contending team for the years to come. They went out and signed Jose Reyes for seven years. He and Hanley Ramirez were supposed to serve alongside Giancarlo Stanton as the core of the team for almost the next decade. To build on the Reyes signing, the Marlins also inked pitchers Mark Buehrle and Heath Bell. Ozzie Guillen also jumped aboard and was set up to be a lovable manager. With this spending spree, the Marlins brought a lot of excitement to South Florida and were supposed to be a major contender in the NL East.
Unfortunately this was not the case. The Marlins quickly faltered and Ozzie Guillen was immediately under the spotlight for his comments about Fidel Castro. Fans were already calling for Guillen to be fired. The team’s performance was not helping. I personally attended the second home game at Marlins Park against the Astros. Although it was against the Astros, any team that spends as much money as the Marlins did in the offseason should have a packed house at their second game of the season (in their new stadium!). The stadium was full, but not sold out. I was hoping that this was not a sign of things to come, but it was. The Marlins continued their spiral downward and talks of trades began. Heath Bell was the opposite of what the Marlins signed him to be and lost his job as closer. Both Reyes and Ramirez slumped. The Marlins needed to make some moves.