Archive for the 'Italy' Category

Bucketlist Reviewed

Monday, June 24th, 2019

Myworld is in Omaha to watch the last two games of the college world series. First we will enter into Papillion for a day game for the Storm Chasers, which will be a DHer of sorts, i.e. a finish to the second game that was suspended last night and a new game. Then we will travel down to Omaha for the first game of the finals of the College World Series. That will be a first, three games in one day.

Since this college world series was on my bucket list myworld thought we would summarize some of our bucket list accomplishments since 2011 after we first wrote of our bucket list down. At the end we will identify those adventures still on the list. These are only our baseball bucket lists. We have plenty of non-baseball adventures we would still like to capture.

October 2011 - Went to Panama to watch the last Baseball World Cup. The event is not quite as strong as the soccer World Cups. Attendance was sparse. Netherlands went on to upset Cuba for their first World Cup win. Lots of rain at the event. The third place game was not played because of rain but Canada was awarded the bronze. The gold medal game was delayed by about five hours. This would be the last World Cup before a major reorganization.

November 2011 - Visited Taichung, Taiwan for the Asian World Series. This is another event that was discontinued. Another upset as the Samsung Lions defeated the Softbank Hawks to become the first non-Japanese team to win the Asian Series.

February 2012 - Traveled to the Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic to see the Series del Caribe. Cuba had yet to be allowed to participate. This is another event that is struggling for survival. At the time the teams played pool play and the team with the best record was declared champion. This event was anticlimactic as the Dominican Republic won it easily. On the last day, win or lose the Dominicans had won the pool. They added Cuba later and went to a pool play and playoff format to make the finals or last day more meaningful.

September 6-11 2013- Japan trip. This was my fourth trip to Japan to watch baseball so not really bucket list material. Some of the events were. Witnessed Wladimir Balentien hit his 54th homerun on his way to a record breaking 60 for the year, smashing the record of Sadaharu Oh and Randy Bass, who each had 55. Also saw a pitcher’s duel between Masahiro Tanaka and rookie sensation Shohei Ohtani, won by Tanaka 3-2. Tanaka would go on to break a baseball record of 25 consecutive wins and then went on to play for the New York Yankees the next year. Ohtani is now with the Angels.

November 7, 2013 - Visited Arizona and watched the Arizona Fall League for the first time. Aaron Sanchez and Travis Shaw were two players who impressed me during that visit.

July 8th 2014 - Traveled to Dyersville Iowa to see the Field of Dreams. Also around that time went to Durham, North Carolina to see the old stadium that was used for the Durham Bulls movie. Myworld loves the Durham park and we have visited there at least three times.

November 11 2014 - Revisited Taichung, Taiwan for the 21 and under World Cup. Taiwan won it, upsetting Japan. Chun Lin Kuo pitched seven shutout innings in the 9-0 rout. Myworld was strangled in blue confetti after the win.

June 20th 2015 - These bucket lists can not be predicted. Witnessed my first no hitter, Max Scherzer doing the honors in Washington D.C.. The only previous no hitter I had seen prior to that was a seven inning minor league no hitter. I never really counted that since it was only seven innings.

June 23 2016 - Did not see a Little League World Series but I did go to Williamsport and visited the park. Went to a minor league game in Williamsport and watched Triston Mackenzie pitch for the Indians minor league team. The minor league park is located next door to the first field where the Little League World Series was played. They are still playing Little League games at that field.

July 2016 - Went to Haarlem, Netherlands to watch the Honkball tournament. It was my first experience of European baseball. The facility where they held the tournament is pretty impressive. I do believe Japan may have been the winners of that tournament, upsetting the Netherlands in the finals but I could be wrong. I did not see the finals preferring to enjoy some of the sights of Haarlem instead.

February 8 2017 - Witnessed my second Series del Caribe, this one in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico beat Mexico in the championship match. This was the first Series del Caribe that Cuba was allowed to play.

March 12, 2017 - Travelled to Miami, Florida to watch a World Baseball Classic game and it was wild. The Dominican Republic beat the United States and the crowd was probably more entertaining than the game. Also saw a couple World Baseball Classic games in Miami in 2013. Kenley Jenson was a catcher for the Netherlands.

July 7-9, 2018 - This was my first Futures game. The United States defeated the World. Talk is that they will be changing that format for this year. The homerun derby and the All Star game followed after that. The experience was awesome. The only downside is I had to leave early because the game went into extra innings and Metro was closing.

June 24 2019 - In Omaha to see the College World Series

November 2019 - Hope to return to Tokyo to watch the Premier 12

2020 and beyond.

The Olympics is on the agenda. I’ve already been to an Olympic event when they were in Los Angeles but watched the volleyball. The prices for these events seem a little steep.

World Series game is still a must see. I may have to travel for that since the Nationals and Orioles may never give me that opportunity.

Been to every ball park in Japan but Hokkaido. That is on the list. Will be going to Saint Louis after the College World Series leaving Tampa, Seattle, Oakland, Chicago White Sox, Detroit, Arizona, Toronto and Colorado as the only major league parks I have not visited. Went to the old Seattle park and if I don’t hurry the Oakland and Tampa parks may no longer be available. Still lots of minor league parks to visit.

Hope to see a European championship tournament. On my bucket list is a visit to Italy so seeing a game there and visiting Italy would fulfill two accomplishments.

Myworld has seen games in Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Netherlands, Puerto Rico, Nicaragua, Panama and Dominican Republic so going to another country to see a game would be cool. We’ve also played softball in Australia and Sweden.

Myworld has also been to Cooperstown, but it might be cool to visit it again to see how time has changed it.

That is it for now.

Bologna Wins European Champions Cup

Sunday, June 9th, 2019

Unipol Bologna downed L&D Amsterdam 8-0 to win the European Champions Cup. Bologna finished second in their pool but defeated two teams from the Netherlands to win the championship. They had beaten Curacao Neptunus 10-3 Friday to advance to the championship game.

Raoul Rivero was lights out in his 7.2 innings of work, striking out 14 and giving up just four hits. Alex Bassani retired the last four hitters to complete the shutout. Six different Bologna hitters contributed two hits, with Jonatan Polonius and Francesco Fuzzi each driving in two runs.

Curacao Neptunus finished in third place.

Liddi to Play in Taiwan

Monday, April 1st, 2019

In Taiwan the foreign players are usually pitchers. Chinatrust manager Scott Budner preferred to have a position player and two pitchers for his foreign composition. The Brothers signed Eric Wood to cover third base and add power to the offense.

Two games into the 2019 season the Brothers released Wood. It was not because he failed to get a hit in his first nine at bats. According to CBLstats the manager claimed Wood was not a team player. The agent for Wood denied the allegation that Wood was not a team player but accepted the release.

The Brothers have now signed the Italian Alex Liddi to play third base. He had been playing in Mexico, recently switching teams. He will be the first Italian player to play in Taiwan, after becoming the first Italian bred player to play in the major leagues.

Top European Prospects

Wednesday, March 20th, 2019

It is a down year for European prospects. Most of them are still toiling in the Rookie Leagues or had poor years (Tom de Bok and Sven Schuller). Even the Bahamas seem to churn out more prospects than Curacao. Most of the prospects from this list have parents who are of European ancestry. Spencer Kieboom the tenth rated prospect graduated last year as did Dovydas Neverauskas the number three rated prospect from Lithuania. Both struggled in the their time in the major leagues, Kieboom hitting .232 and Dovydas finishing with an ERA at 8.00. He gave up 9 homeruns in just 27 innings. Kieboom will reach his ceiling as a backup catcher while Dovydas could see another opportunity at the back end of the Pirates bullpen.

Below are the top prospects from Europe and apologies if it does not look too European.

1. Carter Kieboom SS/2B (Netherlands/Nationals) - The younger brother of Spencer took all the baseball tools, plus he plays a more glitzy position. His father played baseball in the Netherlands and they moved to the States when they were young allowing Spencer and Carter to play baseball in the States during their youth. This spring Carter hit two homeruns off Justin Verlander. He is starting to show an impressive hit tool. Last year between Low A and AA he slugged 16 homeruns. With Trea Turner occupying short he may have to move to second base. Look for Carter to start the season in AA with a full time job with the Nationals in 2020.

2. J.B. Bukauskas RHP (Lithuania/Astros) - His Wikipedia page says he is of Lithuanian origin so we will include him on this list as we did last year. He dropped from number 1 to number 2. At 6′0″ he is a bit on the small side for a righthander. His fastball can ride towards the plate in the mid-90s and he complements it with an excellent slider. A car accident in spring training led to back issues, limiting him to 14 starts last year. He got one AA start where he pitched six one hit shutout innings. With the five High A starts J.B. finished with a 1.61 ERA with the opposition hitting him at a .138 clip. If healthy he should start the 2019 season in AA where he will work on harnessing his command. If he does not make it in the rotation he could be an impact pitcher in the bullpen.

3, Dean Kremer RHP (Israel/Orioles) - His parents have Israeli citizenship though Kremer was born in California. He was one of the players the Dodgers traded for Manny Machado. Not an overpowering fastball, sitting in the low 90s, he may best be used out of the bullpen. The Orioles used him in the starting rotation where he limited the opposition to a .228 average. His 178 strikeouts led the minor leagues last year so his curve ball gets a lot of swings and misses. Drafted in the 14th round in 2016 he averages 11.4 whiffs per nine innings. Dean could see some time with the rebuilding Orioles in their rotation late in the year but myworld suspects the bullpen will be his best home.

4. Shervyen Newton SS (Curacao/Mets) - The Mets appear to be overloaded at the shortstop position with Ahmed Rosario in the major leagues, Andres Gimenez ready to make an impact in 2019 and Ronny Mauricio and Luis Guillorme also playing the position. Newton signed in 2015 for $50,000 but did not appear in the States until last year. He played in the Dominican Summer League his previous two years. Newton showed a good bat at the Rookie level, hitting .280 with a .408 OBA. At 6′4″ he may outgrow shortstop, especially with his lack of speed. The power could be there to move to third. Next year he will be 20. A full season league will be open for him to break out into the spot light.

5. Hendrik Clementin C (Curacao/Reds) - Hendrik had a break out season last year with his 18 homeruns at Low A. Whether he can continue to hit for that power will be answered in 2019 when he applies his craft at High A. The Dodgers signed him in 2013 and traded him to the Reds for Tony Cingrani. At 6′0″ and 250 pounds he needs to watch his weight. The defensive tools are there to be an average catcher, but if the bat plays that could turn him into a starter.

6. Ray-Patrick Didder Utl (Aruba/Braves) - Like Curacao, Aruba is a possession of the Netherlands. Didder was signed in 2013. While playing in the minor leagues he has played at every position but catcher and pitcher. He is athletic enough to play the middle infield and centerfield. If the Braves can turn him into a Marwin Gonzalez clone that could be a plus. The speed is there for him to steal bases and cover ground in centerfield. The bat lacks power and will keep him limited to hitting .250. The 2019 season will see him in AA. If his bat can play he could be up with the Braves some time this year.

7. Martin Cervenka C (Czech Republic/Orioles) - The first true European. He was signed by the Indians and labored as a back up for his first couple years in the minor leagues. Last year he showed some pop in his bat with 15 homeruns. Myworld thought the Orioles would call him up but perhaps the 2019 season will be his major league debut. Martin will be turning 27 this year so his time as a prospect is getting short. Catchers take more time to develop their craft. At best Cervenka will not be more than a backup in the major leagues, which he could see sometime in 2019.

8. Marcus Solbach RHP (Germany/Dodgers) - Marcus was originally signed by the Twins and pitched in their minor league system way back in 2011. The last two years he has been pitching Independent ball in the Canadian American Association. Last year he was named pitcher of the year in the Australia Baseball League, finishing with a 0.43 ERA in six starts. That convinced the Dodgers to sign him. At 27 and at 6′5″ he could be used out of the bullpen.

9. Marten Gasparini OF (Italy/Royals) - Marten signed with the Royals back in 2013 for $1.3 million. He was originally a shortstop but his inconsistency in the field forced the Royals to put him in centerfield. His one big tool is his speed, but it does not work well when stealing bases (82 out of 122). The bat is soft with a career .222 average and .315 slugging. The 2019 season could be his last in the minor leagues where he will become a six year minor league free agent. If his bat does not show some production it will be hard to convince another team to sign him.

10. Alberto Mineo C (Italy/Blue Jays) - Albert was originally signed by the Cubs but now plays for the Blue Jays. The Blue Jays acquired him in the minor league portion of the Rule V draft. He bats lefthanded and hit .462 in AAA last year, but that was in only 13 at bats. His career average is .256 with very little power. The defensive tools are there for him to possibly make it as a back up in the major leagues but the bat will need to play more. In High A he hit .294 so that is an improvement from his Cubs years. His three homeruns were also a career high. Next year he should be playing at AA where at 24 he still has some time to develop as a major leaguer.

Teams Announced for 12 and Under World Cup

Wednesday, March 13th, 2019

The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) 12 and under World Cup will be played in Tainan City from July 26 to August 4. Tainan City will be hosting the 12 and under until 2027, holding the next five events. They will be the Williamsburg of the WBSC. Fiji is the one interesting new player in this tournament. Taiwan won this event in 2011, the first year it was played, but the United States did not participate in that tournament. The last three events the United States has won the championship. Below are the groupings for the tournament.

Group A

Taiwan, Japan, Czech Republic, South Africa, Cuba and Fiji

Group B

United States, Mexico, Korea, Australia, Venezuela and Italy

Italian National Team to Train in Mesa

Wednesday, February 27th, 2019

The Italian National team will train in Mesa, Arizona between March 16-30th. They have scheduled games with the Oakland Athletics for March 20-23, two college teams on March 25 and 27 and two games against a team from Mexico March 28-29. Chris Colabello, who played for the Twins and Allesandro Maestri, who played in the Reds minor league system before heading to Japan to play in the NPB are two players listed on the roster.

Italy fell short of qualifying for the Premier 12, finishing as the number 16 ranked country in baseball.

MLB World Select Team

Friday, September 28th, 2018

The World Select Team will be competing in the Arizona Fall Classic that will be held from October 10-14. There are 61 different teams competing in this event, including teams from Canada, New Zealand and Australia. Below are the names of the players from MLB World Select Team and the country they represent. A player from Uganda is participating.

Pitchers

Dennis Achidri (Uganda), Jiorgeny Casimiri (Netherlands), Daniele Di Monte (Italy), Liam Evans (Australia), Mathias Gonzalez (Ecuador), Jake Green (Australia), Lukas Hlouch (Czech Republic), Ky Jackson (Australia), Will Kortekaas (Australia), Luke Krkovski (Australia), Sebastian Munoz (Ecuador), Daniel Padysak (Czech Republic), Sue Sun (China), Angelo Wicklert (Netherlands)

Catchers

Ricardo Bertossi (Italy), Chris Burke (Australia), Fabian Kovacs (France)

Infielders

Travis Bazzana (Australia), Finn Bergmann (Germany), Denzel Bryson (Netherlands), Liam MacDonald (Australia), Luke November (South Africa), Delano Seiassa (Netherlands), Sunny Yang (China)

Outfielders

Jarrod Belbin (Australia), Paolo Brossier (France), Correze Nepia (New Zealand), Jaylin Rae (Australia), Brock Wells (Australia), Tyson Zamora (Australia), Ruendrick Piternella (Netherlands)

These players range in age from 16 to 20. Not only will they be performing before major league scouts, but also college scouts.

Italian National Team to Train in Arizona

Tuesday, September 25th, 2018

The Italian national team will train in Arizona from September 29 to October 13. During that time they will play games against players from the major league instructional teams. Recognizable names from the Italian national team include ex-major league Chris Colabello, minor league and NPB pitcher Allesandro Maestri and minor league catcher Alberto Mineo.

Japan Qualifies for Honkball Finals

Saturday, July 21st, 2018

The rain has postponed the Nationals/Braves game giving myworld a chance to catch up. Japan has made it to the finals of the Honkball tournament in Haarlem, Netherlands with a convincing 8-1 win over Taiwan. This is the same Japanese team that played five exhibition games against the United States collegiate national team and won two of five games. Japan erupted for seven runs in the fifth inning to erase a 1-0 Taiwan lead, cruising to the victory after the outburst.

One team that will be absent in the championship match will be Cuba. They did win their first game, collecting 14 hits in their 7-1 win over Germany. They did need to score six runs in the ninth inning to pull out the victory.

The Dutch get a chance to play Taiwan in the semifinal match with a 2-1 win over Italy. Yurendell de Caster drove in both runs for Netherlands, but his walk off single in the ninth was the big hit. Allessandro Maestri, who pitched for a number of years in the minor leagues and then took his craft to Japan, quieted the Dutch bats to one run in seven innings.

The Netherlands will play Taiwan with the winner advancing to play the undefeated Japanese in the championship match. The Netherlands were the winners of the last Honkball tournament, beating Australia in the finals, a game myworld actually witnessed.

Honkball Week Review

Tuesday, July 17th, 2018

It is raining in D.C. The weather reports call for the rain to stop prior to the All Star game being played. This gives myworld an opportunity to provide an update on the Honkball tournament in Haarlam, Netherlands, which myworld may have tried to attend if not for the All Star weekend here in D.C.

Taiwan 3 Netherlands 2

A mild upset with the Taiwan kids upsetting the veteran Netherlands team that won this event two years ago. Taiwan used a group of four pitchers to limit the Netherlands bats to two runs. Cheng Hao Wang pitched the last three innings to secure the victory. Dudley Lenora drove in both runs for the Netherlands with a solo shot in the fifth and a sacrifice fly in the third. Netherlands also had runners thrown out at home and third to ruin scoring opportunities.

Japan 7 Cuba 1

Don’t know if Cuba still has the same entourage that followed them around when they played in tournaments before all of their top players left for the United States. They lost their second game of the tournament, Japan using six different pitchers to limit Cuba to one run. That run was unearned. Japanese pitchers combined to strike out 11 Cubans. Takashi Umino was the big bat for Japan with an RBI single in the fourth and a two run blast in the eighth. Hitting behind him in the order Ryosuke Kodame was 2 for 2 with two walks. Japan assaulted the Cuban pitching staff for 14 hits.

Italy 7 Cuba 3

Italy stunned the Cubans, eliminating them from any hope of playing in the championship match. Italy threw minor league player and NPB pitcher Allesandro Maestri for six innings and he allowed just one unearned run to the anemic Cuban bats. Alex Bassani pitched the last three innings, giving up two ninth inning runs but surviving to secure the win. Ex major leaguer Chris Colabello returned to the Italian team after playing with them in the World Baseball Classic and was a perfect 1 for 1 with three walks, driving in the first two runs with a double in the first.

Japan 6 Germany 1

Japan remained undefeated with their win over Germany. Masato Morishita worked six innings and tamed the German bats to just one run. Sascha Koch kept the game close, limiting Japan to two runs in his six innings. Japan erupted for four runs in the eighth to put the game out of reach, Ryosuke Kodame getting the clutch two run single to account for the late run support. Toshiya Sato banged out three hits including two doubles to drive in two. Ryosuke Tatsumi also collected three hits.