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Press release World Baseball Softball Confederation
LAUSANNE, Switzerland — 30 June 2020 — The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC), together with the Mexican Baseball Federation and respective Local Organizing Committee (LOC), today announced the postponement of the 2020 WBSC U-23 Baseball World Cup® to 24 September to 3 October 2021, in consideration of the global health and safety measures and travel limitations pertaining to the coronavirus pandemic.
The world-championship event had been set to take place this year from 30 September to 9 October in the Mexican cities of Ciudad Obregon and Los Mochis.
“As we continue to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic, the WBSC, as well as our hosts and all concerned stakeholders, consider the rescheduling of the U-23 Baseball World Cup to 2021 to be the best and safest course of action,” said WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari.
“While today’s decision is disappointing, I am confident that our Mexican hosts next year will be able to deliver the best-ever U-23 Baseball World Cup, where fans can fill the stadiums and cheer on their favourite National Teams, building upon the wave of momentum for our sport in the weeks following the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
“The WBSC thanks the local authorities, PROBEIS and CONADE as well as the baseball officials in Mexico — including our colleagues from the Mexican Baseball League (LMB) and the Mexican Pacific League (LMP) — for their support and collaboration.”
The venue plan of the U-23 Baseball World Cup includes the 16,000-seat Estadio Yaquis, which opened in 2016 and is the home of the Yaquis de Obregon of the Mexican Pacific League (LMP), and the recently renovated Estadio Emilio Ibarra Almada, home of the LMP’s Cañeros de Los Mochis.
The 12 qualified teams competing for baseball’s world title in the U-23 category will remain as follows:
- Africa (1): No. 24 South Africa
- Americas (4): No. 5 Mexico (host, defending World Champion), No. 7 Cuba, No. 8 Venezuela, No. 15 Nicaragua
- Asia (3): No. 1 Japan, No. 4 Chinese Taipei and No. 22 China
- Europe (2): No. 16 Czech Republic and No. 19 Germany
- Oceania (1): No. 39 New Zealand
- Wild Card (1): No. 3 Korea
Mexico won the last U-23 Baseball World Cup, which was held in Barranquilla, Colombia, in October 2018. It was Mexico’s first-ever official world title in the sport of baseball.
Previous U-23 Baseball World Cups have included the top young professional players from clubs affiliated to the Australian Baseball League (ABL), Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL), Korea Baseball Organization (KBO), Major League Baseball (MLB), Mexican Baseball League (LMB), Nicaraguan Professional Baseball League, Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB), in addition to other leagues around the world.
The WBSC, together with the respective Mexican host, will continue to monitor and review the timing of the 2020 Women’s Baseball World Cup (12-21 November in Tijuana) and the U-15 Baseball World Cup (30 October – 8 November in Tijuana).
The Italian Baseball and Softball Federation (FIBS) announced after a video conference with the seven participating clubs on Monday, June 29 that the 2020 season in the Italian Serie A1 Baseball will start on July 8. Each week during the regular season three games will be played – one on Wednesday evening and two on either Saturday as a doubleheader or as single games on Friday and Saturday evening. The top four after the regular season will advance to the semi-finals, which will be played in a best-of-five format. The Italian Baseball Series follows in a best-of-seven format with a potential game seven being played on September 26. All games will have a duration of seven innings.
In the Swiss Nationalliga A the Zurich Barracudas, Bern Cardinals and Therwil Flyers celebrated two-win weekends.
|26.06.||18:30||Zürich Challengers||Zürich Barracudas||4-5||Box /|
|27.06.||18:00||Zürich Challengers||Zürich Barracudas||5-9||Box /|
|27.06.||11:00||Bern Cardinals||Luzern Eagles||14-2||Box /|
|27.06.||14:00||Bern Cardinals||Luzern Eagles||12-0||Box /|
|28.06.||11:00||Therwil Flyers||Wil Pirates||13-6||Box /|
|28.06.||14:00||Therwil Flyers||Wil Pirates||17-3||Box /|
by Alex Gorrin
Results June 27:
Buffaloes Blagoevgrad – Akademiks Sofia 12:0
Akademiks Sofia – Buffaloes Blagoevgrad 0:10
Athletic Sofia – Lions NSA Sofia 10:0
Lions NSA Sofia – Athletic Sofia 5:9
Results June 28:
Sofia Blues – Coyotes Dupnitsa 22:1
Coyotes Dupnitsa – Sofia Blues 0:13
1. Athletic Sofia 6:0
Buffaloes Blagoevgrad 6:0
3. Sofia Blues 4:0
4. Coyotes Dupnitsa 2:4
5. Akademiks Sofia 0:4
Junak Sofia 0:4
7. Lions NSA Sofia 0:6
The Czech Extraleague continued this past week with 16 games. Draci Brno and Arrows Ostrava picked up three wins apiece. Kotlarka Prague and Eagles Prague won two of three each.
|Cardion Hroši Brno||6||7||.462||4||.2733||5.99||.963||87:90|
by Bruce Baskin, Baseball Mexico, http://baseballmexico.blogspot.com/
WILL LMP PLAY IN FIVE CITIES, MEXICAN PLAYERS ONLY?
The Mexican Pacific League held a videoconference last week to discuss a number of issues related to their upcoming season. Reports say that the LMP is considering narrowing the number of ballparks used for games from the full ten venues to five while only Mexican players would suit up, both as cost-saving measures. The ongoing saga involving Mazatlan and the Caribbean Series was also taken up.
The El Fildeo website says that the Mex Pac’s “extraordinary assembly” last Wednesday included discussion among league president Omar Canizales and representatives of the ten teams about whether to eliminate games in the circuit’s more far-flung cities like Guadalajara, Monterrey and Mexicali while Mazatlan may be added to that list (more later). Such a move would greatly reduce travel costs by limiting games to within the states of Sinaloa and Sonora, although field surfaces in ballparks where games were played daily would be placed under extra stress without the usual amount of time between homestands available for groundskeepers to tend to them.
Discussion was also held on whether the season should open in mid-October (the traditional starting time for the Mex Pac) or the first games will be played one month later, as has been considered should the summer Mexican League’s belated season stretch into early November. Unsurprisingly, no decision was made because LMP owners instead are taking a wait-and-see attitude about whether the LMB is able to even take the field on its desired August 7 opening date, which is no sure bet.
As with consolidating games to within five ballparks of reasonably close proximity, LMP owners were looking at their ledgers in regards to where their players will come from next winter. Foreign players have been a part of the Mex Pac landscape for decades, but the expected drop in revenues in 2020-21 means the possibility of teams suiting up all-Mexican rosters. It would not be the first time something like that has happened. Back in 1982-83, the LM featured only domestic players as a response to the devalued peso that winter. Culiacan won the pennant that season and imports were allowed to return the next campaign.
This time, the concern is not over the value of the peso, although that currency had fallen to 23.06 per US dollar as of last weekend after years with a ratio of less than 20:1. The larger worry is that extraneros historically take a chunk out of team payrolls, with foreigners drawing much higher salaries than their Mexican brethren. Patriotic pride and greater opportunities for homegrown products to play aside, it would simply cost teams less money to employ only Mexican players. According to Puro Beisbol editor Fernando Ballesteros, LMP owners were split 5-5 on the issue and nothing new emerged from last week’s meeting.
One issue that many observers had mistakenly assumed was tentatively been settled was brought back up. It has been reported (including here) that the Mazatlan City Council extended an olive branch of sorts in their ongoing dispute with the LMP Venados with a letter that expressed their desire to work out differences in order for the 2021 Caribbean Series to be played at Estadio Teodoro Mariscal next January as planned. However (as also reported here), the letter included nothing definite and as of last week, no signed agreement had been reached between the City and the Venados allowing the team to regain possession of the ballpark.
The lack of resolution has had an effect that goes well beyond the Pearl of the Pacific. The Pan American Baseball Confederation (or COPABE) has given the Mex Pac a deadline of Tuesday, June 30 for the Venados to have regained control of Estadio Teodoro Mariscal for the upcoming season. Failure to do so could mean the Serie del Caribe might be moved out of Mazatlan and perhaps even the country, although the latter seems less likely given that Mexico now draws the highest attendance by far of the countries involved in the Crown Jewel of Latin Baseball. COPABE president Juan Francisco Puello says the event may be canceled entirely if the Wuhan virus has taken too much of a toll by November.
Of more immediate concern, the imbroglio might mean that Mazatlan would be one of the five teams forced to play the 2020-21 season on the road in the five-ballpark scenario outlined above, if the Wuhan virus lessens enough by then for a winterball schedule to be played.
PEDRO MERE TO RETURN AS SKIPPER IN MEXICALI
Following weeks of speculation as to whether he’d be back, Pedro Mere’s return as manager of the Mexican Pacific League’s Mexicali Aguilas in 2020-21 has been confirmed.
Eagles sports manager Luis Alfonso Garcia made the announcement at a virtual press conference on June 18. “It’s a pleasure for the Mexicali Aguilas club to work again with a leader on and off the field of play,” Garcia said. “We are convinced that Pedro Mere will be an important piece to fly towards the goal that we have year after year: the championship.”
Mere’s history with the Aguilas dates back to November 2017, when he took the reins of the club from Roberto Vizcarra, who was fired after leading Mexicali to a 16-19 first-half record. Vizcarra had led the Aguilas to the Mex Pac pennant and the Caribbean Series title game in Mexicali the previous winter, but memories are short in the front offices of Mexican teams. Mere turned the team’s fortunes around in the second half as the Aguilas went 26-7 (setting a franchise record for wins in one half) and reached the playoff semifinals, where they were swept by eventual champion Culiacan. That was enough for owner Dio Alberto Murillo to send the Veracruz native packing.
Act II for Mere in Mexicali opened last November after he replaced Bobby Dickerson, who was 9-16 when Murillo decided to make a change less than a month into the season. The Aguilas went 25-17 the rest of the way before losing in the first round to Culiacan, who again went on to the LMP pennant under Benji Gil. Given how things ended his first time in the border city, Mere express gratitude that he will be able to open a season with the team. “Mexicali is my team, my home and a great institution where I have had the fortune to work,” he deadpanned during the press conference. “I feel very identified with the team and with the fans.”
Born in 1970, Mere broke into the Mexican League as a 17-year-old infielder with Dos Laredos in 1988 and went on to a 22-year playing career before retiring in 2009 as a member of the Minatitlan Petroleros after batting .280 with 186 homers. His managerial career began three years later when he took over for Orlando Merced at the helm of the Veracruz Rojos del Aguila on June 10, 2012 after Merced was ejected from a game. The move became permanent two days later when Merced was suspended for the year after an altercation with LMB orations director Nestor Alva Brito, and Mere took Veracruz to the pennant with a thrilling seven-game win over Aguascalientes in the Serie del Rey.
He has since led Tijuana to the 2017 LMB title after a dominant regular season before being fired after the Spring 2018 season when the Toros only finished second with a 33-23 record and lost to Monterrey in the LMB North final. Mere was eventually signed by Monclova and while the Acereros lost to the Sultanes again in the Fall 2018 LMB North title series after a resounding 42-14 regular season record (in what seemed a bizare move at the time, Mere replaced former Pittsburgh All-Star Carlos Garcia with the Acereos in first place at 14-5),
Monclova owner Gerardo Benavides brought Mere back for 2019 but apparently thought the Acereros’ 44-25 record at the end of June wasn’t sufficient, so he fired Mere and brought in former American League Rookie of the Year Pat Listach as new manager. The move worked, as Listach went on to lead Monclova to its first pennant.
Mere was hired last October to run the Tabasco Olmecas, a perpetual also-ran who present the biggest challenge of his managerial career. The Villahermosa team has some recognizable veterans on the roster like Ronnier Mustelier, Jesus Arredondo, Paul Leon, Andres Meza, Juan Pablo Oramas and Derrick Loop but a lack of offensive firepower doomed the Olmecas to an LMB South-worst 45-72 record.
Prior to his LMP experience as a dugout boss, Mere had a remarkable winterball run as manager of the Las Tuxtlas Brujos, winning five Veracruz Winter League pennants and a Latin American Series crown in seven seasons between 2008-09 and 2014-15.
JORGE CANTU’S LMP RIGHTS ACQUIRED BY MONTERREY
The Mexican Pacific League last week held a player exchange of sorts in which the loop’s two 2019 expansion teams, Monterrey and Guasave, were able to select three unprotected players apiece from rosters of the eight remaining established teams. A similar process is planned for July 7. While five of the chosen players are not well-known even within Mexico, Monterrey picked a familiar name among followers of Major League Baseball.
Although he hasn’t played winterball in four seasons, the Sultane plucked 38-year-old infielder Jorge Cantu from the Culiacan Tomateros. Cantu played all or parts of eight MLB seasons, mostly with Tampa Bay and Florida, between 2004 and 2011. After laboring six years in the Rays minor league system, he broke in with the big club in 2004 before a breakthrough season a year later, when he belted 28 homers and drove in 117 runs for Tampa Bay in 2005. Cantu cooled down after that, spending time in the minors and with the Cincinnati Reds, he returned to Florida in 2008 and put up two strong campaigns for the Marlins with 45 homers and 195 RBIs in 2008 and 2009. As before, he lost his mojo in 2010 and went on to spend time with Texas and San Diego, where he played his last MLB game in 2011 to finish with a .271 batting average, 105 homers and 471 RBIs over 847 career games. He’s also appeared in three World Baseball Classics for Mexico.
Cantu, who was born in McAllen, Texas but grew up across the border in Reynosa, made his Mexican League debut in 2013 with the Quintana Roo Tigres, belting 31 homers and 71 ribbies over 83 games. That was good enough to earn a one-year contract with the Doosan Bears of the Korea Baseball Organization, where the 6’3″ first baseman hit .309 with 18 longballs in 111 contests. He returned to the Tigres in 2015 and has remained in the Liga since. “El Bronco” has played for two pennant-winning teams in Cancun and one in Tijuana, and is currently on the Mexico City roster after hitting .283 with 12 roundtrippers for the Diablos Rojos in 2019. He’s also spent five winters in the Mex Pac, most recently with Culiacan in 2015-16 when he batted .232 with one homer for the Tomateros in 27 games.
Monterrey’s two other selections were catcher Carlos Rodriguez and right-handed pitcher Alejandro Barraza. Chosen from Mexicali, the Hermosillo-born Rodriguez is a longtime veteran receiver who has spent his entire 15-year professional career south of the border. He’s played the last eight summers in Aguascalientes, representing the Rieleros in two LMB All-Star Games, for whom he cracked 32 homers and drove in 94 runs in 2012 en route to 172 four-baggers to augment a .272 career average in the LMB. He’s also played 15 winters in the LMP, including nine for his hometown Naranjeros before he began bouncing the circuit a bit the past few seasons. He hit .256 in 25 games for the Aguilas in 2019-20.
Taken from Navojoa, Barraza spent three years with the Casper Rockies from 2009-11, going 6-8 with a 6.14 ERA as both a starter and reliever. He’s played the last eight summers in the LMB, mostly with Mexico City and Oaxaca as a middle reliever. The Guaymas product has a lifetime Liga record of 24-21 record and a 4.94 ERA after pitching for Dos Laredos last year, where he had a sparkling 1.89 ERA in 22 trips from the bullpen. The 29-year-old has been a reliever in five LMP seasons, showing a 4-7 record and 5.62 ERA in 64 games.
For their part, Guasave took three younger players: Right-handed pitchers Rafael Cordova and Nestor Anguamea plus utilityman Miguel Guzman. Despite only being 25, Cordova has played eight years of minor league ball (three in the Rays system, five in the LMB). Born in Yuma, Arizona, the 6’2″ righty has come out of the bullpen in all of his 189 professional appearances, although he did start one Arizona Fall League game for Mexicali last year, giving up two runs in four innings. He’s spent the past three summers with Tabasco and is 9-6 lifetime in the Liga with a 4.30 ERA. He last played in the LMP with Hermosillo in 2016-17.
Anguamea hails from Obregon and turned 20 in March. His professional experience is limited to six innings over five relief appearances for Union Laguna last summer, giving up two earned runs for a 4.50 ERA. He did win his lone decision, striking out Aguascalientes’ Carlos Rodriguez for the final out in the top of the 12th before the Algodoneros scored twice in the bottom of the frame for a 7-6 triumph.
At 24, Guzman is another experienced youngster with seven years in the LMB behind him. The Leon product has played all infield and outfield positions and has a deceptive career batting average of .323 after batting .412 for Puebla last summer in 178 plate appearances after fewer than 100 opportunities over the previous six years and never hitting over .250.
by Olexandr Vynogradov
The 2020 Ukrainian Baseball Championship (Division A) will start on Saturday, July 4th. During the weekend, the bronze medalist ‘2019, “BioTexCom SDUSHOR” (Kropyvnytskyi) and “Western Fire” (Rivne) will play three games.
The Division A of the Ukrainian Baseball Championship consists of five teams: “BioTexCom KNTU” (Kropyvnytskyi, 24-time national champion and 22-time The Ukrainian Cup winner); ATMA (Kyiv region); “BioTexCom SDUSHOR”; “Western Fire”; “Falcons” (Chernivtsi region). The championship is scheduled for ten rounds, and will be held from July 4 to September 20.
June 27 results:
Titanai Utena – Kaunas Lituanica Green 12:8
Titanai Utena – Kaunas Lituanica Green 15:0
BK Vilnius – Kaunas Lituanica White 9:8
BK Vilnius – Kaunas Lituanica White 3:6
Titanai Utena 6:0
Kaunas Lituanica White 2:3
BK Vilnius 2:4
Kaunas Lituanica Green 1:4
Press release Major League Baseball
Commissioner of Baseball Robert D. Manfred, Jr. announced today that Major League Baseball anticipates beginning its 2020 regular season approximately one month from today, on July 23rd or July 24th.
The announcement follows confirmation today that the MLB Players Association has accepted the health and safety protocols that will guide MLB’s return to play and that players will be able to report for training by July 1st. The health and safety of players and employees will remain MLB’s foremost priorities in its return to play. MLB is working with a variety of public health experts, infectious disease specialists and technology providers on a comprehensive approach that aims to facilitate a safe return.
MLB has submitted a 60-game regular season schedule for review by the Players Association. The proposed schedule will largely feature divisional play, with the remaining portion of each Club’s games against their opposite league’s corresponding geographical division (i.e., East vs. East, Central vs. Central and West vs. West), in order to mitigate travel. The vast majority of Major League Clubs are expected to conduct training at the ballparks in their primary home cities.
Commissioner Manfred said: “Major League Baseball is thrilled to announce that the 2020 season is on the horizon. We have provided the Players Association with a schedule to play 60 games and are excited to provide our great fans with Baseball again soon.”
In week two of the Swiss Nationalliga A season 2020 six games were played this past weekend. The Zurich Barracudas celebrated a pair of lopsided wins against the Lucerne Eagles. The Bern Cardinals won twice against the Wil Devils. The Therwil Flyers and Zurich Challengers split wins in a doubleheader.
|20.06.||11:00||Luzern Eagles||Zürich Barracudas||1-11||Box /|
|20.06.||14:00||Luzern Eagles||Zürich Barracudas||8-18||Box /|
|20.06.||11:00||Wil Pirates||Bern Cardinals||7-13||Box /|
|20.06.||14:00||Wil Pirates||Bern Cardinals||0-5||Box /|
|21.06.||11:00||Therwil Flyers||Zürich Challengers||7-3||Box /|
|21.06.||14:00||Therwil Flyers||Zürich Challengers||2-3||Box /|