Archive for the 'Panama' 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.

World Cup 18 Groups

Friday, May 17th, 2019

The under 18 World Cup will be played in Gijang, Korea on August 30 to September 8 at the Gijang-Hyundai Dream Ballpark. The United States has won the last four under 18 championships.

Group A

Korea, Australia, Netherlands, Canada, Nicaragua and China

Group B

Japan, United States, Taiwan, Panama, South Africa and Spain

The top three teams from each group advance to the super round. The top two teams from the super round play for the championship. The absence of Cuba could be financial. They have also lost a number of their younger players to the major leagues.

Dominican Republic Still Leads in Foreign Major Leaguers

Monday, April 1st, 2019

According to a major league baseball press release there are 251 foreign players from 20 different countries or areas who appear on 25 man major league rosters, or are on restricted or disabled lists. That accounts for 28.5% of the players. The Dominican Republic again leads in the most major league players outside the 50 United States. Below is a breakdown of where all those foreign players are from;

1. Dominican Republic (102)
2. Venezuela (68)
3. Cuba (19)
4. Puerto Rico (18)
5. Mexico (8)
6. Japan (6)
7. Canada (6)
8. Curacao (5)
9. South Korea (5)
10. Colombia (4)
11. Aruba (1)
12. Australia (1)
13. Brazil (1)
14. Germany (1)
15. Lithuania (1)
16. Netherlands (1)
17. Nicaragua (1)
18. Panama (1)
19. Taiwan (1)
20. U.S. Virgin Islands (1)

Myworld Series del Caribe Team

Monday, February 11th, 2019

It is tough to come up with an All Star team of Series del Caribe players when you did not actually watch them play. Most of this assessment will be based on stats and what the player accomplished in the box score. Below are the players that made myworld’s All Star Series del Caribe Team.

Catcher - Wilken Castillo (Dominican Republic) .571 average, 4 RBIs and a 1.557 OPS

First Base - Victor Mendoza (Mexico) .375 average, .563 slugging, 5 RBIs with one homerun and a .938 OPS

Second Base - Elmer Reyes (Panama) .368 average, .632 slugging, 1.000 OPS, 5 RBIs with one homerun

Shortstop - Javy Guerra (Panama) .389 average, .722 slugging, 3 doubles and one homerun, 3 RBIs and 1.111 OPS

Third Base - David Vidal (Puerto Rico) .385 average, .529 OBA, .991 OPS

Utility - Allen Cordoba (Panama) .389 average and .450 OBA

Outfield - Alfredo Despaigne (Cuba) - .350 average, 5 RBIs
Outfield - Jilton Calderon (Panama) - .273 average, .455 slugging
Outfield - Yuniesky Larduet (Cuba) - .273 average, 4 runs scored

Starting Pitcher - Harold Arauz (Panama) 1-0, 0.90 ERA, 10 innings pitched

Starting Pitcher - Lazaro Blanco (Cuba) 2-0, 0.00 ERA, 12 innings pitched

Starting Pitcher - Nestor Cortes (Dominican Republic), 1-0, 1.80 ERA 5 innings pitched, one hit allowed

Starting Pitcher - Nestor Molina (Venezuela) 1-0, 0,00 5 innings pitched

Starting Pitcher - Luis Mateo (Panama) 0-0, 0.00, 7 innings pitched

Relief - Manny Corpas (Panama) 0-0, 2.25, 4 saves

Relief - Jumbo Diaz (Dominican Republic) 1-0, 0.00, 2 saves

Relief - Raidel Martinez (Cuba) 0-0, 0.00, 2 saves

Relief - Sergio Romo (Mexico) 1-0, 0.00

Panama Wins the Series del Caribe

Monday, February 11th, 2019

Panama has not won the Series del Caribe since 1950, but that is not their fault. When the Series del Caribe was first formed in 1949 they were one of the original teams who participated in the event. That ended in 1960 after Fidel Castro over ran Cuba and for ten years there was no Series del Caribe. It restarted in 1970 but Panama was not included in that new group. It was felt they were not talented enough.

The talent level for the Series del Caribe has dwindled down to the AA level at best. In years past you would have Hank Aaron, Roberto Clemente and Willie Mays play in the event. It was always to earn a few extra bucks. Now the ballplayers make too much in the major leagues to take a risk of injury, jeopardizing million dollar contracts. The talent in Panama has caught up to the Series del Caribe, or more accurately the Series del Caribe talent level has dropped down to the level in Panama.

Panama was only allowed to play because the original host Venezuela continues to struggle with upheavals and it was felt to hold the tournament there was not safe. It was the second year in a row the tournament was to be held in Venezuela and the second year it had to be moved because of violence. Last year Mexico agreed to host it at the last minute. They did want to bail out the Series del Caribe again. So it was either Panama or cancel the series. And to make it attractive to Panama they agreed to let the champions of the Panama League participate in the series.

Panama qualified for the championship by winning their pool. Cuba, despite their lack of offense won the tie breaker in their pool to face Panama in the championship. Cuba was only recently allowed to return to the Series del Caribe, but that was when they could produce name players that could attract a fan base. Most of those name players are in the major leagues now and the Cuban team is just a shell of its former self.

That shell failed to generate any offense again as Panama won the championship game 3-1. Harold Arauz silenced the Cuban bats for one run in five innings. Panama’s staunch bullpen then went to work to shut out the Cuban bats for the final four innings, Manny Corpas pitching the final inning for his fourth save of the tournament.

Panama got all the runs they needed in the first inning on a Allan Cordoba and Elmer Reyes RBI singles to take a 2-0 lead. Cuba showed a little life in the fifth on a Alfredo Despaigne double and a Carlos Benitez single to cut the lead to 2-1. An Elmer Reyes throwing error put runners on second and third with two outs but Daniel Castro popped out to first to end the threat. Cuba got only two hits after that, one of them a bunt single.

Panama scored another run in the seventh on a Rodrigo Vigil RBI single. With a runner on second and two out in the ninth Alfredo Despaigne came up to represent the tying run. He flied out to center to end the game.

Myworld will put together our all Caribe team later tonight.

Cuba to Play Panama in Series del Caribe Finals

Sunday, February 10th, 2019

Cuba won when they had to beating Venezuela 3-0 on the last day to send their bracket into a three way tie with all three teams tied at 2-2. Run differential allowed Cuba to advance. Lazaro Blanco, who won the opener for Cuba pitched brilliantly again with five shutout innings to shut down the Venezuelan offense. Four different relievers shut out the Venezuelans the rest of the way with Raidel Martinez pitching the ninth to pick up the save.

Alfredo Despaigne was again the big bat for Cuba, sometimes the only bat. His RBI single in the bottom of the third drove in the first run for Cuba. A bases loaded walk to Carlos Benitez scored Despaigne for the second run of the inning. It was the last of three consecutive walks by Venezuelan pitchers. Cuba added another run in the sixth on a throwing error by the catcher after Yuniesky Larduet stole third. Larduet had scored the first run in the third inning after leading off with a single.

Cuba advancing was a surprise the way their listless offense could not get anything going but Panama advancing to the finals was the real shocker. The Puerto Ricans, the two time champions ironically were the only team eliminated from advancing to the finals on the last day and they appeared to play like it.

They collected just five hits as Oriel Caicedo limited them to just three in his 5.1 innings of work. Manny Corpas pitched a perfect ninth to pick up his third save. The only run scored in the fourth inning on a throwing error by Alexis Pantoja trying to turn a double play.

Rey Fuentes came to play getting three of the five Puerto Rican hits. Adelberto Flores pitched 6.1 solid innings but gave up the one unearned run.

So Cuba and Panama advance to the finals.

Dominicans Stay Alive

Saturday, February 9th, 2019

The Dominicans stayed alive by sending the Panamanians to their first defeat 5-3. Wilkin Castillo had the big bat for the Dominicans with two doubles. His first drove in the Dominicans first run in the fourth. His second double in the sixth drove in three runs to give the Dominicans a 4-2 lead. He finished the day with three hits, upping his Series del Caribe average to .571.

Elmer Reyes hit a solo homer for Panama in the fourth. He also drove in a run with a ground out in the first inning. The two RBIs gave Panama a quick 2-0 lead. Allen Cordoba had three hits for Panama and drove in the third run in the eighth.

Jumbo Diaz pitched a perfect ninth inning to pick up his second save of the tournament. The 300 pounder has been responsible for each of the three Dominican wins with two saves and one victory. There is a reason for him to be called Jumbo. His fastball also comes in at the high 90s, or used to. Myworld has not seen him pitch in some time.

Mexico kept their hopes alive with a 9-4 drubbing of Venezuela. Victor Mendoza crammed in four hits and drove in four runs. He hit a big three run homer in the sixth to turn a 5-4 lead into a rout. Rafael Martin got the win with 2.1 innings of shutout relief, giving up just one hit and striking out three.

Two big games being played today to close out the pool play. If Venezuela can beat Cuba they clinch their pool. If not Cuba, Mexico and Venezuela will be all tied at 2-2 and it will go to a tie breaker. Panama needs to beat the winless Puerto Rican team to tie the Dominicans. A loss will send them to second. Is this enough to motivate the Puerto Ricans to play? At least Cuba still has a horse in this race. Run differential will be the tie breaking formulae in both pools.

Venezuela Stays Alive and Panama Continues to Roll

Thursday, February 7th, 2019

The Cuban bats had trouble against Wilfredo Boscan, accumulating just three hits in his 6.2 innings of work as Venezuela won the pitcher’s duel 1-0. Three different relievers continued the shutout of the Cuban bats with Pedro Rodriguez getting the final three outs to pick up the save. Cuba got six strong innings from their veteran Freddy Alvarez, probably the best pitcher in Cuba not in the major leagues but the anemic Cuban bats failed to support his effort.

The two teams traded zeros for the first six innings. Cuba put runners on first and third with two outs in the second but failed to score. Venezuela perched runners on first and second with just one out but a double play ended that threat. The lone run scored in the seventh when Alexander Ayala booted a ground ball hit by Cuban native Rangel Ravelo. The Cubans chose to replace Alvarez with Yoennis Yera and he walked Luis Jimenez. Livan Moinelo replaced Yera. Juniel Querecuto, who grounded into a double play with runners on first and second and one out in the fourth chose to bunt and advanced the runners to second and third. Alejandro de Aza hit a ball deep enough in the outfield to score Rangel for the only run of the game.

Cuba never mounted a threat after that with their last six batters failing to reach base. Alfredo Despaigne, the hero of the game yesterday lined a shot into centerfield but it was caught by de Aza.

Panama continued to surprise rocking the two time defending champ Puerto Rico 8-7. They scored seven runs in the final two frames to pull out the game. Puerto Rico still rallied for one run in the bottom of the ninth but left the tying run stranded at first. Manny Corpas got the last three outs to pick up the save.

The big hit for Panama was a two run two out double by Jilton Calderon that gave Panama a 7-6 lead in the ninth. Allen Cordoba added an insurance run with his RBI single into left field.

The game changing moment for Panama is when they scored four runs after the first two hitters were retired in the eighth. Elmer Reyes had a two run single with the bases loaded and Javy Guerra had another big hit with a two run double that pulled Panama to within one.

Puerto Rico had a well pitched game from Ivan Maldanado, who only allowed one run in his six innings of work. The bullpen had trouble retiring Panama hitters with four different relievers coming in to pitch, all coughing up runs in less than an inning of work each. With the scored tied 1-1 after five Puerto Rico seemed to have pulled away, scoring five runs in the next two innings. At 0-2 their hopes of a three peat appears slim.

Panama with the Big Upset in Series del Caribe

Wednesday, February 6th, 2019

The Series del Caribe has considered expanding the tournament to other countries, but one of the concerns is these other countries (Panama, Colombia and Nicaragua) would not be competitive. Panama proved this notion not so true with their 4-2 upset of the Dominican Republic last night, a day after Panama native and Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera threw out the first pitch to open the tournament. The loss dropped the Dominicans to 1-1 while Panama sits atop their division at 1-0.

Panama starter Harold Arauz shutout the Dominican bats for the first five innings, allowing just three hits. The 23 year old Panama native played for Toros del Este in the Dominican League this past winter. He signed a minor league free agent contract with the St. Louis Cardinals for 2019.

Panama scored first in the second inning on a homerun from Padres shortstop prospect Javy Guerra. He scored the second run in the fourth after reaching on a single and scoring on a sacrifice fly hit by Jonathan Galvez.

When Panama took out Arauz the Dominican bats were relieved. In the top of the sixth Severino Gonzalez put two runners on via a walk and an infield single. Edwin Espinal drove them both in with a single to tie the game at 2-2. The Dominicans appeared to have woken from their slumber.

The Panama bullpen, especially the smallish 5′9″ Andy Otero made sure that did not happen. Otero shut down the Dominican bats for two innings. That gave the Panama bats another opportunity to take the lead. A hit by pitch, bunt and wild pitch by Jhan Marinez put a runner on third with just one out. Rodrigo Orozco grounded a single up the middle to break a 2-2 tie. Gerald Chin added another RBI single to put up an insurance run and give Panama a 4-2 lead.

Manny Corpas came on to pitch a perfect ninth inning to complete the upset.

Cuba chose not to play in the port tournament in the Netherlands this July because they stated they felt they could not field a competitive team. For their opener in the Series del Caribe they relied on the seven shutout innings from veteran Lazaro Blanco to defeat Mexico 3-1. For Mexico it was their second loss of the tournament, diminishing any chances they have for appearing in the final.

Cuban veteran Alfredo Despaigne drove in all three runs for Cuba. He had a two run single in the third and an RBI single in the fifth. Despaigne is one of the few Cuban superstars who did not defect to the major leagues. He was a teammate of Yoenis Cespedes in Cuba and considered the better player with more power than Cespedes. His defense in left field is a bit suspect. At 32 years of age he may be too late for the major leagues, though he is now playing in the NPB in Japan.

Mexico rallied in the ninth scraping together three hits to score one run. They had the go ahead run at the plate but Agustin Murillo flied out to right to end the game. Cuban Dariel Alvarez was playing for Mexico.

Series Del Caribe to Move to Panama

Tuesday, January 29th, 2019

This year the Series del Caribe was supposed to be played in Barquiesimeto, Venezuela, the home of the Lara Cardenales. Because of the violence occurring there a number of teams were not willing to travel there and major league baseball warned minor leaguers to stay away. Mexico had bailed Venezuela out last year when political violence prevented that country from being the host but they were hesitant to do it again. So now it appears the games will be played in Panama at the Rod Carew stadium.

For Panama it allows one of their teams to participate in the Series del Caribe for the first time since the games reformed. Panama will be represented by Toros de Hererra. Other teams who have qualified are Las Tunas (Cuba), Estrellas Orientales (Dominican Republic), Cangrejeros de Santurce (Puerto Rico), Cardenales de Lara (Venezuela) and the winner of the series between the Charros de Jalisco or Yaquis de Ciudad Obregon.

The tournament will start Feb 4-10. Panama’s gain is Lara’s loss. It is the second straight year the tournament has had to leave Barquiesimeto because of the political violence there.