One of the only baseball blogs (to my knowledge) in the blogosphere that focuses on the Montreal Expos. Okay, mostly baseball in general, however with Montreal Expos references to be found within!

Friday, March 27, 2009

More World Baseball Classic (Asian work ethic)

With the World Baseball Classic now over, and Japan having defended their inaugural WBC championship, I thought I'd revisit it, and add some personal pics.

So I watched the end of the first semifinal game, Korea beating Venezuela 10-2. Also I watched most of Japan beating the US 9-4. The commentators for MLB International, what I watched here in Canada, Gary Thorne and Rick Sutcliffe brought up the point about the Korean work ethic during their semifinal game. I believe I heard the same in regards to the Japanese squad too earlier on at some point.

They said how they Koreans were playing balls off the outfield walls, to see how the ball caroms. Also how they stress the importance of drills, such as practising the 6-4 and 4-6 toss to initiate a DP. They also on numerous occasions note how the Asians play very sound fundamental ball. I admit to not being a big fan of Asian baseball prior to this years WBC, as I am North American, grew up with MLB, and so on, with that said, my appreciation for Asian baseball has grown.

Prior to this, I have heard that the Japanese box score is much more detailed than ours, and also that they have two batting cages going simultaneously for batting practise. With all this in mind one can easily see how the level of baseball in Japan is very high, not to mention Asia in general.

On paper, Venezuela should have been the team to handle Korea, as Korea had just one MLB player on their roster. The same applies to the Japan USA game, although not quite as much, as we know Japan is a strong baseball nation. Japan only had 5 MLB players on their roster.

For those that play baseball, as I do, we can learn a lot from the Asian work ethic. I predict plenty more Asian MLB imports in the near future, including, but definitely not limited to Yu Darvish.

Of note in the final, as the above commentators said, you'd never see a MLB manager leaving a relief pitcher in after allowing the tying run, and then to start the next inning too. Therefore he was credited with the blown save, and a save!

That reminds me how the commentators also said how during any stoppage in play, tv commercials, etc, the Asian teams, I imagine Japan, and Korea at least, the players would get on the field (just off the bench, in foul territory) to warm up, or stay warm. Once that was disallowed, the players would use the dugout to toss the ball. Most players being against the dugout fencing, thus leaving a decent space to stay warm and toss the ball.

So this post ended up being a little longer than I expected, so I'll write a final WBC post that includes a couple pics.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Minor League (Triple A) affiliation changes for 2009

This was a post I have been meaning to write for a little while ago. I'd probably write more about the minors if I knew more! Anyway, there are a few changes worth noting. I'll start with Triple A.

The Syracuse Chiefs are now the Triple A affiliate of the Washington Nationals. Their triple A club prior was the Columbus Clippers for 2007 and 2008. The Jays end their long 31 year affiliation with them, and now have the Las Vegas 51s. I mentioned this in a past post. That won't be too convenient unless the Jays are playing on the West Coast. The 51s were the Dodgers affiliate from 2001 - 2008.

The Dodgers now have the Albuquerque Isotopes (named after the Simpsons episode where the Springfield Isotopes were supposed to move to Albuquerque). They were the Marlins affiliate before that, from 2003 - 2008. Said Simpsons (Hungry, Hungry Homer) episode aired March 4, 2001. At that point the Albuquerque Isotopes were still the Calgary Cannons. On another note, Canada should have more minor league ball, not to mention major league ball (*cough*Montreal*cough*), maybe the World Baseball Classic will help bring more ball back to Canada, as that is the goal of the tourney, or one of. That and when Selig leaves, but this all deserves a post of its own.

So the Marlins have a better affiliate now geographically, the New Orleans Zephyrs. They were affiliated with the Mets for 2007 and 2008, Nationals for 2005 and 2006, and the Astros from 1997 - 2004 (to go a little ways back). They were the first professional team to return after Hurricane Katrina (from Wikipedia). I actually helped with that Wikipedia article around that time! Anyway...

The Mets now have the Buffalo Bisons as their Triple A squadron. It was a possibility that the Jays would get Buffalo, but I suppose that obviously did not work out, or happen. They were the Indians affiliate from 1995 - 2008. So now the Indians have the Columbus Clippers.

I think that covers it. I will end this post now, and cover more affiliation changes soon. I had a lot of help from this article, Baseball affiliation changes don’t follow the script, and accompanying graphic!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Baseball pictures

So, for lack of a better post, not actually saying this is a bad post though, I thought I'd post something underrated. As the title states, that would be baseball pictures.

I enjoy checking out still images, as it gives a different prospective than video, and also in many cases stuff not often seen in video. has plenty of pics, unfortunately they are not too easily browsed. One can go to the gallery page on, and see recent pics, but to see pics from farther back requires a bit more digging and/or clicking though the flash menus.

So I'll post some links to the sections where pics can be found.

March 14 spring training pictures. From that page you can get to other spring training daily galleries.

For an example of some things not scene in video, check out picture four from this set. It offers a glimpse into photo day, players lining up for their media photograph. Speaking of that, I read a good post over at Uni Watch, the aptly titled, "Okay, Everyone Say, ‘High Cheese…’".

Picture three in this set, from February 14, A.J. Burnett with his new club throwing a bullpen session.

Phillies specific galleries. Newest set is March 11, guess I'll find out if it will update without changing the url with newer galleries. I linked to this one as the first pic is Shane Victorino, and Jimmy Rollins in WBC USA attire before facing the Phillies in an exhibition game March 5 (the US won 9-6). Also in there is Jeter.

And, World Baseball Classic pictures.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

World Baseball Classic Pool C

Well, the biggest disappointment from Pool C is Canada not advancing to Round 2, or not getting past Italy.

Game one had a nervous, tense ending. With Brett Lawrie pinch running for Joey Votto at second, Jason Bay fouled a ball that just barely found the seats, then flied out to Shane Victorino, who I might add is very short, he is 5'9". Anyway, it was a close game, ending 6-5 in favour of the Americans. Jason Bay was the potential winning run.

With that game in mind, and generally, I don't think I was the only one thinking that beating Italy should not be so hard. Looking back though, regardless of the starting pitcher, Italy were a surprisingly good team. When they were playing Venezuela, until Venezuela broke it open, and kept the lead, it could have been anyone's game. Italy was getting the hits, just not capitalising. With two outs in the top of the first, Italy had runners on first and second, but then grounded into a force out. Frank Catalanotto and former Expo Valentino Pascucci singled before Chris Denorfia grounded into said force out, at second.

The United States Venezuela game on Sunday was good until the US got to the Venezuelan pitching in the sixth. Starting with Victor Zambrano striking our Kevin Youkilis, however he reached on a wild pitch. Then with the bases loaded, Mark DeRosa walked, and that brought in Youkilis.

I had some semi leet seats down the right field line, that is how I knew Victorino was so short. Never really noticed on TV. Bobby Abreu was getting his fair share of taunting, in the end though, Venezuela got the best of the US squad. Toward the end of the US thrashing of Venezuela, a group of American fans were yelling out they infielders starting with 1B Youkilis, in a positive way. Youk acknowledged, followed by Dustin Pedroia, and Derek Jeter. Not sure if Mark DeRosa responded, but I don't believe Heath Bell did, as he had to focus on pitching. From my vantage point, the Adam Dunn homer looked like quite a monster shot, hitting the 200 level at Rogers Centre SkyDome. I can only imagine how Chris Iannetta's homer (in the final Pool C game, Venezuela at USA) would have looked if sitting down the left field line, as it truly was a towering monster shot, hitting the 400 level! Or anywhere it would have probably looked impressive for that matter. Most of this is not too exciting, just a few notes from being there. By the way, I think Adam Dunn would have been a good pickup by the Jays.

So, it was a good WBC Pool C in Toronto. I enjoyed the first three games in person. However it would have been nicer if Canada wasn't upset at home. However not quite as big of an upset as the Netherlands taking out the Dominican Republic! The eneding itself was not the most dramatic alone, but given the teams involved, it was fairly dramatic!

I'll see if I have any pictures worth uploading, and do so in my next post.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Warming up for the World Baseball Classic

Plenty of interesting exhibition games currently going on in Florida, and a few in Arizona.

Tuesday I did not work so I could watch Canada face the Blue Jays. I watched most until I dosed off during it, until the very very end. It looked pretty sweet, however the announcers said it was only in the 50s Fahrenheit, or between 10 and 15 degrees Celsius. Canada won 6-4. Matt Stairs received an ovation from the Dunedin crowd. Today the Blue Jays won in a walk off win against Team USA, while Canada lost to the Phillies 6-5. Surely Matt Stairs would have received another ovation at Bright House Field, spring training home of the Phillies in Clearwater, FL. I'll have some highlights to watch (nuts to the NHL trade deadline!).

On Tuesday the Dominican Republic creamed the Florida Marlins 10-1. The Netherlands had a close game against Pittsburgh, losing 5-4. Also a close game for Puerto Rico, losing 3-2 against Minnesota. The United States beat the Yankees 6-5. All these scores and more.

Today, Italy beat Florida this time, but by the score of 5-1. Panama beat Detroit 9-3. Cincinnati beat the Netherlands 5-4 in 10. Mexico lit up Arizona, beating them 19-4! Puerto Rico beat Tampa Bay 2-1, and Australia beat Seattle 11-9. Again, however Wednesday's results.

Today, Canada plays the Yankees, and USA plays the Phillies. Despite the fact the MLB clubs are the spring training clubs, so they have many minor leaguers, looks like the World Baseball Classic should prove to be interesting. Today's schedule, and eventually results.

I'll be heading to Toronto for the first three games at Skydome (yup!). Canada vs the US, Italy vs Venezuela, and game one winner vs game two winner.