2017 World Baseball Classic Report (Day 3)

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North America is home to some of the biggest and best professional sports leagues in the world as the NHL, NBA, NFL and MLB stand as the blueprints for professional sports.

Aside from the multiple soccer leagues around the world, these four leagues are some of the biggest in the world.

Unlike soccer, though these are the only leagues that count in the world as they are the places that feature the best players in the world and bring the most money.

Despite the many attempts by multiple leagues in every sport, there has never been one that has been able to knock the top leagues off.

That is true for every league except the MLB where the league remains the top level in the world but is far from the only successful league in the world.

The best players in the world tend to flock to the top league and the MLB does have that effect on the players from every country.

They don’t attract every great player though which is something entirely unique to the MLB as they may still hold the most talent in the league but not all of the talent.

That is the way the game has developed around the world as the MLB may have grown but along with it came a number of good domestic leagues.

That has also made the international game more unique in that the international game isn’t entirely dependent on the MLB.

It is still the most important league in the world and the Olympics learned that quickly but there are other leagues that produce a lot of talent.

In most of the other international tournaments putting together a team full of talent from another league is a sure-fire way to lose that tournament.

In the World Baseball Classic that isn’t always the case and sometimes not having access to those players in domestic leagues actually hurt a team’s chances.

That is what Chinese Taipei is learning as the political struggle between Taiwan and China has turned to the main Chinese baseball league.

The teams in the Chinese Professional Baseball League enforced a boycott this year meaning that any Taiwanese players in that league were no longer allowed to play for Chinese Taipei.

That has taken their best players away from the tournament because their best players play in that domestic league.

It has left them struggling so far in the tournament as they have gone 0-2 and won’t be headed to the next round.

Still, that doesn’t seem to prove that the other domestic leagues are that important as Chinese Taipei has never been a power.

That is where the Japanese come in as they have the league that can truly compete with the MLB in terms of the level of talent.baseball-sidebar

The Nippon League in Japan was always a mystery and often was considered a bit of a B-League with most people seeing it as just as good as a farm team in the MLB.

Then people started to see the talent in the league come to North America and truly dominate MLB hitters.

For a long time, the MLB refused to believe that there was talent somewhere else and when some started showing up from Japan they still argued against it.

The arguments always seemed to stem from the fact that these players may be good but the stats they put up are misleading because they didn’t face MLB talent.

Pitchers might have strong arms but they never faced hitters like Miguel Cabrera and batters might have power but they never had to stand in the batter’s box against pitchers like Clayton Kershaw.

Yet when the pitchers started coming over they started to dominate the MLB hitters, and although hitters have yet to make the transition as well Ichiro Suzuki will go down as one of the greatest ever.

The Nippon League still receives plenty of criticism despite players like Daisuke Matsuzaka and Yu Darvish having their way on the mound but every World Baseball Classic chips away at the prejudice against the league.

The first two tournaments saw Japan win with a team full of Nippon players and almost no MLB players.

It showed how good the league is and the Japanese team continues to do that into the 2017 tournament.

So far they have gone 2-0 with a convincing win over Cuba and a tighter but still good win over Australia and yet their team is made up of Nippon players.

As much as the WBC is a battle between nations to see who the best in the world truly is it could also be seen as a battle of leagues.

Unlike so many other major leagues the MLB does have competition and although they rule North America that doesn’t mean other domestic leagues don’t rule their own area.

Japan is showcasing that but they aren’t the only team showcasing that and for many of the international teams their league pride is on the line as much as their national pride.

day-3

Day 3:
Cuba 6-0 China
– After a less than ideal opening game the Cubans shook off their slow start to take on the Chinese and they proved that they are still in the fight as they took the easy win to improve to 1-1 on the tournament

Netherlands 6-5 Chinese Taipei
– it wasn’t exactly what every expected after the Netherlands great start to the tournament as Chinese Taipei put up a great fight but they faltered when it mattered allowing a walk-off ninth inning loaded-bases walk to drop to 0-2

Japan 4-1 Australia
– The Japanese were supposed to walk away with this one but they couldn’t create much distance until an 8th inning home run put the game in little doubt as they improved to 2-0 with a likely berth into the next round

Day 4:
Netherlands vs. Israel (Wednesday, March 8th; 10:00 pm ET)
– Nobody expected this when the tournament began but the final first round game for both of these teams will be a battle for first place in Pool A as both are moving on but only one will finish with a perfect record in pool play

Korea vs. Chinese Taipei (Thursday, March 9th; 4:30 am ET)
– It has been a disappointing tournament for both of these teams as they will play their final games hoping to save face and earn their first win plus an automatic berth into the 2021 World Baseball Classic

Australia vs. China (Thursday, March 9th; 5:00 am ET)
– The chances are still there for both of these teams to move on but they need this win as the loser won’t be making the second round while the winner keeps their hopes alive and has a better shot at that automatic third place qualifier

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