World Baseball ClassicEdit
In June Template:By, Major League Baseball announced the formation of the World Baseball Classic, a 16 nation international competition to be held in March of Template:By for the first time. A month after this announcement, the IOC voted to eliminate baseball from the 2012 London Olympic games, leaving the WBC as the only international tournament to feature American professionals.
Though the U.S.A. has its own team in the WBC, American born ballplayers could be found on the rosters of several other clubs as a result of the unique rules of this tournament. A player is eligible to participate on a WBC national team if:
- The player is a citizen of the nation the team represents.
- The player is qualified for citizenship or to hold a passport under the laws of a nation represented by a team, but has not been granted citizenship or been issued a passport, then the player may be made eligible by WBCI upon petition by the player or team.
- The player is a permanent legal resident of the nation or territory the team represents.
- The player was born in the nation or territory the team represents.
- The player has one parent who is, or if deceased was, a citizen of the nation the team represents.
- The player has one parent who was born in the nation or territory the team represents.
On January 17, Template:By, the United States announced its provisional 60 man roster (52 players in all), and whittled down the star-studded squad mixed with youth and experience to just thirty players on February 14, 2006. All teams participating in the tournament needed to have at least three catchers and thirteen pitchers. Sixteen of the thirty Major League clubs were represented on the 2006 squad, including multiple representatives from the New York Yankees (4), Houston Astros (3), Washington Nationals (3), Atlanta Braves (2), Boston Red Sox (2), Chicago Cubs (2), Colorado Rockies (2), Houston Astros (2), and Texas Rangers (2). The fact that four Yankees were selected for the squad irked Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, who is opposed to the WBC being held in the middle of spring training to the point where at his team's complex in Tampa, Florida, he posted a sign apologizing for their absence and mocking the tournament in the process. Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig promptly ordered him to take down the sign the next day.
Manager Buck Martinez brought his 17 years of professional experience as a major league catcher, and 1+ seasons as Toronto Blue Jays' (Template:By-Template:By) skipper to the U.S. team. Former big league managers Davey Johnson and Marcel Lachemann served as hitting coach and pitching coach, respectively. Rounding out the coaching staff for Team U.S.A. were Reggie Smith (hitting), Ken Griffey, Sr. (first base), and John McLaren (third base). A number of former players helped including Rick Sutcliffe, Rick Eckstein (bullpen coach), Tony Dello (left-handed batting practice) and James Grady (bullpen catcher and right-handed batting practice). The front office staff comprised Bob Watson, Paul Seiler, Eric Campbell, Ray Darwin, Dave Fanucchi, Rob Butcher, Evan Howard (WBC Team Coordinator), Reggie Younger (Travel Director), Phyllis Merhige (Senior VP, Club Relations), and Tyson Steele and Matt Weiss (Equipment Managers). Dave Tumbas and Greg Keuter served as trainers.
Team U.S.A. hosted Pool B of the four pool round-robin tournament. Along with fellow North American rivals Canada and Mexico, the U.S. hosted the South Africa. Round One games were held at Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona and Scottsdale Stadium in Scottsdale, Arizona. The top two teams to emerge from Pool B advanced to Angel Stadium of Anaheim in Anaheim, California were the U.S. and Mexico. In the second round, they faced the top two teams from Pool A, Japan and Korea.
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Team U.S.A. competed in Pool C of the 2009 World Baseball Classic, along with Italy, Venezuela and the host nation, Canada. The U.S. won the pool opener against Canada by a score of 6-5, and secured advancement into Round 2 by defeating Venezuela in a 15-6 slugfest. Venezuela, however, came back to defeat the U.S. in the championship game of Pool C, 5-3.
On March 14, in their first match of round 2 against Puerto Rico, in Miami, Florida's Dolphin Stadium, the United States was mercy ruled for the first time in international competition, losing 11-1 in seven innings. Adam Dunn and Capitan Derek Jeter were among the ones to voice their distaste with the severe beating. Manager Davey Johnson even stated "I should have stayed there" (Referencing the wedding he was at earlier in the day).
Team U.S.A. came on strong the following day against the surprising Netherlands (who had already eliminated a tournament super power: The Dominican Republic), jumping out to a 6-0 lead in the fourth inning, and winning 9-3. With Puerto Rico losing to Venezuela 2-0 the following day, the U.S. would face Puerto Rico once again in the qualifying round. The loser would be eliminated from the tournament.
A solo home run by Alex Rios gave Puerto Rico an early 1-0 lead as the two teams battled back and forth for most of the game. Leading 4-3 heading into the ninth inning, Puerto Rico added an insurance run, making the score 5-3. Following singles by Shane Victorino and Brian Roberts, and a walk to Jimmy Rollins, Kevin Youkilis worked a patient walk to cut the lead to 5-4. Up stepped the New York Mets' David Wright, and on a 2-1 pitch he looped a single that just stayed fair into right, that brought in Roberts and Rollins to win the game 6-5. With the Win the U.S. secured a spot in the semi-finals of the World Baseball Classic, and eliminated the Puerto Rican team. The United States would go on to lose to Japan 9-4 in the second semi-final.
Template:MedalTop Template:MedalSport Template:MedalGold Template:MedalBronze Template:MedalBronze Template:MedalBottom Although single exhibition games had been played in conjunction with five previous Olympics, the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, California was the first to feature a tournament in the program, and also the first time that the sport was played in Olympics held in the United States. Eight teams competed in the tournament held at Dodger Stadium. Cuba, after winning the gold medal at the 1983 Pan American Games, was to participate, but did not as a result of the Soviet-led boycott. The US national team finished second to Japan, however, no medals were given as Baseball at the 1984 Summer Olympics was a demonstration sport.
The US won its only gold at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia. Baseball had its debut as an official medal sport at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona. The US finished fourth, behind Cuba, Japan and Chinese Taipei. In Template:By, the US had to face the embarrassment of not even qualifying for the Olympics in Athens, Greece.
The United States qualified for the 2008 Summer Olympics by winning the American Qualifying Tournament. They won the Bronze medal at the Beijing games, finishing behind South Korea (Gold) and Cuba (Silver).
At the International Olympic Committee (IOC) meeting on July 8, Template:By, baseball and softball were voted out of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, becoming the first sports voted out of the Olympics since Polo was eliminated from the 1936 Summer Olympics.
Amateur World Series/IBAF World CupEdit
In Template:By, the Amateur World Series became the International Baseball Federation's (IBAF) World Cup. There have been 37 Amateur World Series and Baseball World Cups to date, with the last five all featuring a sixteen team tournament. Team U.S.A. heads into the 2009 Baseball World Cup as the reigning champions, winning the 2007 Baseball World Cup in Taiwan.
The U.S. was in group A of the Template:By IBAF World Cup, along with Chinese Taipei, Japan, Mexico, Panama, Italy, Spain and South Africa. The U.S. went 6-1 to win their group, with their only loss coming on November 9, Template:By against Italy. It was the U.S.'s first loss to Italy in 21 years and the first time it ever lost to Italy with professional players, as the team consisted of Major League players and top minor league prospects.
This one loss, however, would be their only. The U.S. went on to beat Korea, Netherlands and Cuba to capture the gold.
The U.S. competed in Group E of the 2009 Baseball World Cup, taking place from September 9–27. Europehosted the 2009 games; it marked the first time in history the World Cup will be hosted by a whole continent rather than an individual country. Seven European countries hosted and participated in the tournament of 22 teams. The event was made up of five groups consisting of four teams each, for a total of twenty teams. Italy (Bollate, Bologna, Codogno, Florence, Macerata, Milano, Parma, Piacenza, Reggio Emilia, Rimini, San Marino, Torino, Trieste, Verona & Vicenza) and Netherlands (Rotterdam, Haarlem & Amsterdam) served as hosts of the sixteen teams of the second round (September 14–20), and therefore receive first round byes. The groups are as follows:
- Group A (hosted by the Czech Republic in Prague): Czech Republic, Australia, Chinese Taipei & Mexico
- Group B (hosted by Spain in Barcelona): Spain, Cuba, Puerto Rico & South Africa
- Group C (hosted by Sweden in Stockholm): Sweden, Canada, Korea & Netherlands Antilles
- Group D (hosted by Russia in Moscow): Russia, Great Britain, Japan & Nicaragua
- Group E (hosted by Germany in Regensburg): Germany, China, U.S.A. & Venezuela
The Intercontinental Cup is a tournament between the members of the IBAF. It was first held in Template:By in Italy, and was held every other year following until Template:By. Since, there has been a competition in Template:By & Template:By, both of which, the U.S. has chosen to sit out. As with many international baseball competitions, it has been dominated by Cuba, who has won ten gold & three silver in the 16 tournaments. Japan is second in medal ranking, with two gold, five silver & five bronze, and the U.S. is third, with two gold, four silver & two bronze.
Pan American GamesEdit
The U.S. and Cuba have been arch rivals at the Pan American Games ever since the event began in Template:By. The U.S. has finished second behind Cuba eight of the twelve times they have brought home the gold. Likewise, when the U.S. won the gold medal at the 1967 Pan American Games, Cuba finished second.
In total, the U.S. has won one gold medal, nine silver medals and three bronze. The only games the U.S. failed to medal in were Template:By and Template:By. For the 1995 games, the U.S. did not send their national team, but instead the St. John's University baseball team, who finished 0-4 against the international All-star teams. The 16th Pan American Games are to take place in October 2011, in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. It will be the largest multi-sport event held in Mexico outside Mexico City.
The U.S. competed in Group A at the 2007 Pan American Games, along with Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic and Brazil. The U.S. emerged out of Group A with a 3-0 record, and defeated Mexico 2-1 in the second round to set up a championship game against their nemeses, Cuba. Cuba won the gold for the tenth time in a row, while the U.S. settled for the silver. The bronze was awarded to both Mexico and Nicaragua as rain canceled their bronze medal match up.
World Baseball ClassicEdit
Amateur World SeriesEdit
Baseball World CupEdit
Pan American GamesEdit
Collegiate National TeamEdit
USA Baseball also fields a Collegiate National Team which has 22 members of top collegiate baseball players in the country, consists of five infielders, four outfielders, two catchers, nine pitchers and a pair of two-way players. The 2010 team has three veteran players returning from the 2009 National Team: pitchers Gerrit Cole (UCLA), Sonny Gray (Vanderbilt) and infielder Brad Miller (Clemson). The team is scheduled to compete in exhibition games across the U.S. and overseas against the world's top baseball talent, including teams from Canada, Chinese Taipei and the Netherlands. Their playing schedule begins on July 6 at Cary, NC and ends on Aug. 8 in Meiji Jingu Stadium, Tokyo, Japan. The 2009 team won the World Baseball Challenge in Canada.
Players who taken the field for the Collegiate National Team and have gone onto Major League Baseball success include such notables as Jim Abbott, Troy Glaus, Todd Helton, Ryan Howard, Barry Larkin, Tino Martinez, Dustin Pedroia, David Price, Huston Street, Mark Teixeira, Troy Tulowitzki, Jason Varitek, and Ryan Zimmerman.
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