2017 World Baseball Classic Report (Day 7)

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The World Baseball Classic was always meant as a tournament to showcase the talent that exists in the world of baseball.

It ended up quickly turning into a way for MLB teams to scout new talent that they might not be able to see throughout the year.

Teams in the MLB have always looked to find new ways to get ahead of their competition and in baseball, the new ways are always interesting.

That is what happens with over 100 years of history that has provided almost every trick in the book.

What never really happened for decades was a true commitment to trying to find talent outside of the Americas.

Teams had international scouts but the risk of bringing international players always existed.

Some teams took the risk and there are some legendary players as a result of taking those risks.

It was never a big thing though and that was largely because teams never really know how good these players were.

They played in their domestic leagues and there was a clear bias by North Americans in thinking that the North American system was the only real way for a player to develop.

Other leagues were nowhere near as good and looking at the stats of great players was always included with a caveat of they did it against lesser talent.

The first ever WBC proved that thought wrong when the Japanese team took the championship and then did it again in the second tournament.

These teams were made up entirely of Nippon Professional Baseball League players that not many were talking about before the tournament.

Those wins changed the minds of many of the teams in the MLB as a lot of them began looking halfway across the world to find talent.

Every year another Japanese player seemed to make his way to the MLB and made an impact when he did make the jump.

Although there have been issues with durability with many of them and there have been very few batters that have successfully made the jump the WBC has made a difference.

It started with that look to international players but the tournament has evolved to something a little bit more.

As the international players began to get noticed more players started seeing the tournament as a way to get noticed.baseball-sidebar

Many of the players that are part of the bigger teams are already on MLB teams and have established themselves as players in the league.

Not everybody has that option though as some teams have players who were a part of MLB teams and are no longer while others are just trying to break into the league.

Canada is a perfect example of a team like this as they are a team made up of young players looking to make their way to the major leagues.

It is also a team that filled out some of the holes with a number of players that used to play in the MLB and were pretty good.

Players like Eric Gagne, Ryan Dempster and Justin Morneau are all MLB veterans that entered this tournament without an MLB team to play for.

In the case of Dempster, there was no desire to come back and pitch other than to come back and help out his country.

For Gagne and Morneau there was a little bit more of a motivation to enter the tournament.

Morneau was a massive star on the rise until a concussion set him back and he has never been that power hitter that he was since.

He has bounced around the league in the last few years and after last season he was left without a contract.

He has yet to sign with any team in the league and although he entered the tournament without the idea of it being a tryout there are certainly scouts watching.

His performance and ability could lead to a contract after the tournament or might make some teams at least interested.

Gagne has a different story though as he was once one of the most dominating closers in the game.

Yet after a few seasons, he lost that ability to dominate with arm problems slowing his fastball down and making him more of a journeyman.

Eventually, he was out of the league but recently pitched in an independent game as a promotion and realised that his arm felt better than it had in years.

He called Canadian manager, Ernie Whitt to tell him that he wanted a spot on the team with the thought that he might be seen by an MLB scout and get a shot to return to the league.

That is what a lot of players try to do as the international tournament serves as a way to get more eyeballs on a player that might have been missed before.


Day 7:
Colombia 4-1 Canada
– Both teams needed this win as it might be their only one in the tournament and the Colombians got it as it was the first in the tournament ever while the Canadians now might be thrown into the qualification pool for 2021

Venezuela 11-10 Italy (10th)
– The Venezuelans began their tournament with a disappointing loss to the Puerto Ricans but they came back with a force as they fought the Italians right until the end, earning their first win of the tournament

Dominican Republic 7-5 USA
– It was one of the most anticipated games of the tournament and the Dominicans came out with the win for the second straight tournament to begin their tournament undefeated and moving closer to the second round

Puerto Rico 9-4 Mexico
– The Mexicans had once again started their tournament with a loss and were fighting an uphill battle and that battle got even tougher as they took a loss to the Puerto Ricans has put their hopes of moving on I doubt

Israel 4-1 Cuba
– They are only continuing to show that they are the real deal and that they can compete with the best in the world as the Israelis remained undefeated with a win over Cuba to open the second round

Japan 8-6 Netherlands (11th)
– The Dutch were looking to recover from a bad ending to their first round and they gave the Japanese everything they could handle pushing them to 11 innings but it wasn’t enough to earn the win

Day 8:
Dominican Republic vs. Colombia (Sunday, March 12th; 12:30 pm ET)
– The Dominicans just need a win if they want to move on as an undefeated team while the Colombians are looking to launch an upset to guarantee their spot in the 2021 tournament and possibly a berth into the second round

Italy vs. Puerto Rico (Sunday, March 12th; 3:30 pm ET)
– Puerto Rico has a chance to finish the first round undefeated as they take on the Italians who are trying find their way to the second round and need a win to have a chance at a trip to San Diego in round 2

Canada vs. USA (Sunday, March 12th; 7:00 pm ET)
– The Americans and Canadians have had an interesting history in this tournament and they get back at it once again with the Canadians trying to launch an upset and get their first win of the tournament

Mexico vs. Venezuela (Sunday, March 12th; 10:00 pm ET)
– Neither of these teams has started their tournament the way they wanted to as they both struggled out of the gate but they head to another game looking to get a win with the Mexicans trying to get their first of the tournament

Israel vs. Netherlands (Monday, March 13th; 6:00 am ET)
– The Dutch have already been surprised by the Israelis and now they try to get their revenge while Israel attempts to remain undefeated in the tournament and get closer to the Semi-Finals in their first tournament

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