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Saturday, March 10th, 2013
By Sam Evans (Baseball Writer): Follow @RJA206
So far, the World Baseball Classic has been a great way for those of us drooling for baseball to take in some familiar sights. Even though some of the teams look very rusty and not exactly in mid-season form, others look primed to bring a championship home to their country. Group A and B have both finished their first round and have already moved on to Round 2, but Group C and D have yet to concluded their first round. Overall, the first week of the 2013 World Baseball Classic couldn’t have gone much better.
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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.
Monday May 21st, 2012
MLB reports – Jonathan Hacohen: Today we are in for a treat folks. One of my all-time baseball faves is our feature on the Reports. The man needs no introduction in baseball circles. He can flat-out play the game. Karim Garcia. The man has played ball in New York. Los Angeles. Cleveland. Arizona. Korea. Japan. Mexico. World Baseball Classic. The man has done it all…and seen it all. After making his major league debut with the Dodgers as a raw 19-year old, Karim went on to play for 7 MLB teams over 10 seasons. His best statistical season came in 2002, as Karim belted 16 home runs playing mostly for the Indians, with a .297 AVG and .574 SLG. The fact that he was able to produce those numbers in only 53 games played shows his strong hitting potential. Watching him play, it was always obvious that Karim Garcia could hit. He just needed the opportunity to play.
Therein lies the unfairness of baseball. It can be a cruel and unforgiving sport. Karim played 113 games with the Diamondbacks in 1998 and 96 games with the Tigers the following season. Despite his hitting abilities, Major League Baseball never game him the opportunity to play a full season. To show what he can do with a full year’s worth of at-bats. Few can understand how difficult it can be to play sparingly off the bench unless you have done it. Karim Garcia has done it. He did it for a decade in the show. Despite knowing he could star and not receiving that chance- he persevered. Karim Garcia came back to the big leagues, with different teams year after year, to prove himself. To play the game he loves and to play the only way he knows how. Hard. When the opportunities in North America did not present themselves, Karim Garcia did not give up. Far from it. Over the last 8 years, Karim Garcia has been travelling the globe to play baseball. Korea. Japan. His native Mexico. Wherever he can find a high level of competition and the opportunity to play ball, Karim has taken it. He doesn’t play for the money. He doesn’t play for the glory. Karim Garcia is playing ball for the simple love of the sport.
Karim’s glory moments came as part of the recent 2009 World Baseball Classic. The man was playing in the tournament like his hair was on fire. The intensity. The passion. Every big game. Every big at-bat. If it involved team Mexico, you knew that Karim Garcia was involved. The undisputed leader for his country, Karim showed at the plate and the field that the magic burned strongly within him. Yet despite a strong WBC showing, the majors did not come calling. With the 2012 season upon us, I see many MLB teams missing the intangibles. The veteran presence. The key bat off the bench. Those types of players are the difference between a contender and a champion. What does the modern game need you ask? More players like Karim Garcia.
I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Karim, as he currently plays in the Mexican league. Karim is playing baseball for one reason, and one reason only. To return to the show. To return to where he started…and where he belongs. It is impossible to turn back the hands of time and unfortunately Karim will never get back the chance to play full-time in his 20′s in the majors. But Karim is not looking to change the past. He has no regrets. The Karim I spoke to is only looking to the future. Before his playing career is done and he looks towards his next mission of managing, he wants to make it back to North America. Back to playing Major League Baseball. Karim is ready to help a team to a championship. With all of years and experiences in the game, that chance should be there. It needs to be there. Karim intends to make it happen.
As part of our conversation, Karim and I discussed all aspects of his career. From making his MLB debut, to the trades, baseball travels, WBC and his future. Just like his play on the field, Karim was straight in the interview. Not holding back. Giving it all. Giving the straight goods. The Karim Garcia I spoke to was just like the one I watch on the baseball field. Passionate. Determined. Intense. Now ready to return to North America, I am proud to present my interview with Karim Garcia. Get ready to see the sides of Karim Garcia that you may have never seen. Might have never known. You know the name and the player. Now get ready to meet the man. The man who loves the game of baseball with every ounce of his being. Karim Garcia is today’s featured interview on MLB reports: