2013 WBC: Pool A&B Review

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The World Baseball Classic got underway this past week as the Asian pools began their tournament and their quest for the WBC title. Pool A and Pool B were in need of a very different schedule than the other pools in the tournament. With game staking place in Japan and Taiwan these two pools needed time to adjust when they eventually move to the USA. So they begin their season a full week before the other two pools and they will begin their second round as the other pools begin their tournament. With that the first two pools are officially finished their first round as the first four teams have moved on to the next round and one step closer. The two pools in Asia represented something much different from the pools on the other side of the world as well. The eight teams involved in these two groups were made up mainly of players that were not in the MLB. In many cases players would not prefer to leave their MLB teams so early in Spring Training to travel all the way to Asia to play baseball. It is also not a favorite idea of MLB management as they would prefer that they stay close if they do leave to play in the tournament. In other cases, say maybe Cuba, players are not allowed to play for the national team as they are not considered citizens of their own country. For these reasons the two Asian pools would not feature a lot of MLB talent but that didn’t stop the great plays and great games from highlighting the first part of the 2013 World Baseball Classic. As these two pools finished up their first round four teams would come out to make it into Pool 1 and would make it one step closer to winning the WBC title.


Pool A

Pool A

Pool A was considered by many not to be the most competitive pool in the tournament with two clear favorites. Japan came in as the two-time defending champions in the WBC and they were clear favorites to run through the pool. The only scare they might get is a Cuban team that had a lot of players that many had heard about but rarely seen. Meanwhile the Brazilians and Chinese were the two teams that nobody expected much from as they would sort out who would come in last rather than first. The pool play would open with Brazil fulfilling their role as their darkhorse status was not false. They would keep games close against Japan and Cuba but they would not be able to pull off an upset losing both games and essentially losing any hope of moving into Pool 1. China would not fare much better in their games against the Cubans and Japanese as they would only score 2 runs in total. The Chinese and Brazilians would quickly be eliminated from the tournament as they would not be able to match the powerhouses of the group. They would sort themselves out in their final game where China would come out on top and take the #3 spot in the pool while Brazil would sit on the bottom of the pool in their first time in the tournament. Then there were the powerhouses of the tournament in Japan and Cuba who would get through the other two teams and face each other for the top spot in the pool. Many considered the Cubans to be a good team but not quite good enough to eliminate the Japanese. They would put that to bed though as the Cubans would win the game and take first place in the pool. It would be one of the big surprises so far in the tournament as the Cubans would be the first team to beat the Japanese this year and would unseat the defending champions for the time being. Now, as many predicted, Cuba and Japan will move on to the next round where they take on the top teams from Pool B for their chance at the semi-finals.

Final Standings:
1. Cuba
2. Japan
3. China
4. Brazil


Pool B

Pool A

Pool B was a bit of an unknown for many people as there were plenty of teams that could take the pool. The Australians came in as an experienced international team that had the luxury of being in this position before despite not having the talent to match up with the best teams. Then there was the Netherlands who had silently won 7 European Championships and were a very good team that not many people knew about. There was the home team as Chinese Taipei, aka Taiwan, would play at home and hope to continue their success in international play. Finally there was the major favorite in the pool as South Korea, the silver medalists in 2009, would be one team that many though they knew. The South Koreans were the team that a lot of people saw as the favorite to win the pool with their recent success in the tournament. As for the rest of the teams in the pool they would be left to fight it out for that second spot in the pool. The Pool B tournament would start almost immediately with a surprise as one team would make it known that they would not go away too easily. The Netherlands would come out swinging with a 5-0 win against the toughest team in the pool in South Korea. Meanwhile Chinese Taipei would open up their tournament with a win against the Aussies who would get down early in their tournament. After the first games Korea was left to climb back into the fight while the Netherlands and Chinese Taipei would work to get that very important second win. Taipei would get that win against the Netherlands and would lose their last game against Korea. The Netherlands would lose their second game to CT and would need a win against the Aussies to move on. They would get it and add their second win of the tournament and when the dust settled they would hold the second place spot in the pool and a berth into the next round. Chinese Taipei and the Netherlands would move on eliminating South Korea from the tournament early in the first major surprise of the 2013 WBC.

Final Standings:
1. Chinese Taipei
2. Netherlands
3. South Korea
4. Australia


Pool 1 Preview

Pool 1

Four teams have already made their mark on the tournament this year and they will look to continue to do just that as they move into the second round. Cuba, Japan, Chinese Taipei, and the Netherlands will all move into the double elimination part of the tournament as two teams will come out on top and move into the semi-finals and earn a trip to the USA. Cuba and Japan will represent Pool A in the second round and if their first round was any indication they are the two teams to fear in this round. Cuba rolled over almost everyone on their way to winning Pool A including Japan who went down early in their game and fell short of a great comeback. Meanwhile Japan has flexed their muscle and know what it is like to be in this position as the two-time defending champions. From Pool B comes Chinese Taipei and The Netherlands who surprised many by eliminating South Korea from the tournament. Chinese Taipei is likely the team that could cause some damage in this round with a knack for winning in international tournaments. The Netherlands have never been here before but a lot of people don’t realize that they are the dominant team in Europe and are looking to translate that to the international stage. Pool A could dominate this round though with two of the best teams in the tournament waiting to get into the semi-finals. While Chinese Taipei and the Netherlands could pull off an upset the fact is that Japan and Cuba are dangerous teams and look to be the best teams in Pool 1 and will find themselves in the semi-finals when the games are done.

1. Japan
2. Cuba
3. Chinese Taipei
4. Netherlands

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