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In the World Baseball Classic yesterday, Korea upset Japan in a 3-2 win before a crowd in Tokyo that included Crown Prince Naruhito.

Good for Korea, especially after the Japanese pitcher said he wanted to beat the Koreans so badly that they will never be able to beat Japan.


The pool that Korea and Japan are in also includes Chinese Taipei and China. Chinese Taipei beat China the other day in a 12-3 win.


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I have been wondering why mainland China was included in the World Baseball Classic. Taiwan of course is a different story, but I have never seen anyone in China play baseball - the game is practically unknown. Is there some part of China I haven't been to where people play?

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I played quite a bit of baseball when I was in HK, mind you the fields by and large sucked as we mostly had to use soccer pitches.

However one of my teamates who was really into baseball mentioned that it was more popular in Guangzhou. Judging from his photos it seemed like there were at least a couple of AAA caliber baseball fields there.

He also coached a little league team and I remember going to see one of their games against a team from Beijing. So somewhere in China there must be people playing baseball.

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I think baseball players from China have not had sufficient experience playing against baseball players from other countries, which may explain their performance results in the WBC. Sun Tzu's saying "Know yourself and know your opponent" = 99% victory is quite true here.

This mindset certainly helped the Koreans in the classic encounter with Japan two days ago.

Also Korea and Japan had quite a few of their players gain experience in the Major Leagues in America. So to be fair, there has yet to be a Chinese "Yao Ming" in baseball.


"South Korea’s come-from-behind victory over Japan in Sunday’s World Baseball Classic regional play-offs left Ichiro Suzuki, Japan’s best known Major Leaguer, as well as Japanese baseball fans, feeling something had gone terribly wrong.

``I feel ashamed of this defeat,’’ the Seattle Mariners star said Sunday after the South Koreans rallied to defeat Japan 3-2, winning Group A in the first round of the inaugural tournament.

Two weeks before the game, Suzuki said he and his Japanese teammates would hammer Korean and Taiwanese opponents ``in such a fashion that they won't think they can beat Japan for 30 years.’’ And now he is dealing with a backlash from Japanese fans.

``(Ichiro) is the best player only for his mouth and salary,’’ a Japanese supporter said on an Internet site after the game.

Another Japanese said Sunday was the day when Japanese baseball collapsed and blamed Ichiro and other Japanese players, saying: ``They thought much too highly of themselves.’’

The other Japan fan put it more bluntly, ``Ichiro is the shame of Japan.’’

The Japanese media also attributed the team’s loss to a lack of effort to scout the Korean team.

The Japanese daily Sankei Sports said yesterday the Japanese team lost in the war of information saying, ``The Korean sluggers seemed to have thorough knowledge of catcher Tomoya Satozaki and pitcher Shunsuke Watanabe.’’

Sadaharu Oh, Japanese team manager, dismissed the critics, saying the loss came simply because the Korean team was too strong.

``We couldn't get runs because their pitchers were good,’’ Oh said. ``We had our chances, and so I don't want to blame my batting order.’’

He called Lee Sang-Yeop’s two-run homer in the eighth inning ``a great home run’’ and said Korea also had a great right fielder, Lee Jin-young. ``They had two heroes, and that's the reason we could not win,’’ he added.

Oh, a former star player, said he would shake his team up to respond to the Koreans.

``After we go over to America, I want to change the atmosphere. We were defeated today, so on [March] 15th, I want revenge,’’ he said.

Suzuki said the defeat had motivated him.

``If I was satisfied with my performance, I should quit baseball,’’ Suzuki said.

``As long as we are playing the game of baseball, we are never perfect. But today, we were defeated. Everybody was so disappointed and is so motivated to win the next time.’’ "

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``We couldn't get runs because their pitchers were good,’’ Oh said.

I guess sports managers talk the same the world over. :)

The article calls Ichiro Suzuki the best-known major leaguer, but I would say New York Yankee Hideki Matsui would be right up there.

The Yankees also have a hot young Taiwanese pitcher, Chien-Ming Wang. (Anybody know the characters?) He's on the Taiwanese team for the WBC.

This article has more info on the Chinese World Baseball Classic team. It says there is a China Baseball League with six teams that play a 30 game season. Who knew?

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Oh, I heard. It was on the back (sports) page of the New York Post with the big headline "D'oh Canada." I don't like to read the Post, but their headlines are often classics.

In fact, though, it doesn't seem to be very big news in the U.S. I was pleased because I like a good upset - and because the US is advancing anyway. Too bad that China and Taiwan got eliminated.

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王建民 could not play for Taiwan either because the Yankees told him he couldn't or put a bunch of pressure on him not to attend. I believe that's the same reason Rivera is not playing for Panama (don't know why Matsui isn't playing).

Either way I think the Yankees are assholes for doing this, I think their reasoning is they don't want their players to risk injury. But then again Jeter and A-Rod are playing for the US.

I don't see why the yankees think their so special they don't need to let their players attend, SUCK IT UP. If every team behaved like them this tournament would have been a flop. I hated that team before the WBC and I hate them more now.

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Korea beat Japan again! This time the game was held in Anaheim, CA. The 2-1 result showed that both teams pitched very well.

Korea advances to the semifinals, along with Cuba. Japan needs Mexico to defeat the US in order to reach the semifinals.

The Defense Ministry in South Korea said that Korean WBC players who reach the semifinals will be exempt from the mandatory military service.


"...And as an added bonus, none of its players will be going into their country's military after the tournament ends. Prior to the start of the second round, the Korean government announced that it would waive for its players the mandatory three-year stint in the armed forces -- imposed on every Korean male -- if the team reached the semifinals in San Diego.

"We gave everything we had," said Japanese manager Sadaharu Oh. "We learned that our opponents' desire was higher than ours."

That desire paid off in front of a noisy, mostly pro-Korea crowd of 39,679, many of them incessantly banging blue versions of the omnipresent ThunderStixx that provided the cacophonous accompaniment to the 2002 Angels' World Series run here.

"I was aware of the fact that a lot of Korean-Americans lived in this area, but I didn't know there were that many," Lee said. "I was very touched by their cheering." ...

Even Team USA manager Buck Martinez, whose team needed a win by Korea to remain in semifinal contention, got caught up in the excitement.

"I've never been so nervous watching a baseball game that I wasn't [involved] in," he said. "Both teams showed tremendous heart."

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I'm so pissed off. Japan finally beat South Korea on the third attempt.

The WBC rules are very strange. Japan should have been eliminated when the US beat the Japanese team in the second round, and after South Korea defeated Japan the second time in the second round.

Japan would have been history had the US defeated Mexico. Very lucky.

Oh well, at least South Korea beat Japan twice, including in front of their future emperor at their home turf in Tokyo. South Korea showed what they can do, making the least defensive errors throughout the tournament.

Both South Korea and Japan played their hearts out whenever they encountered each other. All three games were pitching duels, neither side willing to budge. And it was very classy of the South Korean team to bow to their supporters in the stands after yesterday's game.

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Can't comment on regulations but MLB is reviewing them for the next WBC. I was surprised at the nationalities of some of the players, and I hope international critics accept just how global the sport really is, despite being situated primarily in the U.S.

There was an interesting article in the WSJ two days ago about WBC and the increasing international scope for MLB. More viewers mean more $$$. Baseball is becoming more popular, especially in Latin America and Asia. A major obstacle is having multi-million dollar players sustain injuries in WBC before the full season. Wood and Prior are currently on the DL. I guess the next WBC is in 2009, in order to avoid competing with the world cup and the olympics.

Go Cubbies! (11-9 preseason)

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