Archive for July, 2013

China Endorsements (cont - 3)

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

Emily was also at the July 4th game. The two of them were enjoying the company of Jasmine and her antics. It was Shu’s second exposure to Emily, who wore a crop top blouse exposing her tattooed belly and hips. “The Scream” tattoo was quite pronounced with a bauble hanging from her belly button. It gave the appearance of a man screaming because he had a fish hook dangling from his mouth. Her hair was a brightly colored pink. It matched her pink tennis shoes. Shu preferred to avoid the spotlight, but sitting in the stands with Emily made that a difficult task. It was difficult to avoid the stares.

A number of the girlfriends and wives of the players were sitting two rows in front of them on the opposite side of the row. Since Shu and Emily did not attend many games they did not know them well and kept their distance. Besides, these girls had a Cosmopolitan cover girl type of fashion taste a girl like Emily with her radical fashion sense would find intimidating. Shu had a conservative Good Housekeeping look to her attire. There was no reason for the two groups to bond together.

Kevin doubted the two of them watched much of the game. Whenever he glanced over at them behind the home plate area they were always talking to each other, their eyes not once focused on the field. Kevin couldn’t imagine what they could be talking about with their different backgrounds and personalities, Shu in a simple attire of jean shorts and blouse, with her child cradled in her arms and Emily looking like a Zombie princess with her black eyeliner, black fingernail polish and black lipstick to go along with her screaming pink hair and tennis shoes. Emily also wore black shorts with her black midriff t-shirt advertising some rock band named Megadeath. With her exposed legs Shu was also being treated for the first time to the tattoos painted along her legs. Kevin was certain at some point in their conversation they would discuss Shu’s idea for a tattoo of Jasmine on her biceps and how much pain and money it would cost her to do it the way she had pictured it. Kevin shivered at the thought.

The day was hot. The humidity was thick as soup. Kevin was drenched by the third inning, his uniform five pounds heavier because of all the moisture. He only hoped Shu had brought a cooler of lemonade she always made for him and put it in the refrigerator inside the locker room. He would finish a pitcher of that in a day once he got home, especially in these hot summer months after they had played a game. He didn’t drink as much in the winter. He gave the pitcher a sign while thinking of the lemonade. It probably wasn’t the right pitch. Now it was his turn to focus.

Kevin did well in the game, but he suspected Shu did not notice. He singled twice and doubled once. The Bay Sox won 6-2. Jason would not pitch until the next day, so Emily had no one to cheer. It probably didn’t matter since the two of them talked non-stop during the game.

Emily had attended a couple games this year, both times when she knew Jason would be pitching, but this was her first time at Bowie. She worked nights at the restaurant so it was difficult for her to get to the games. She had to pull a lot of strings to get this night off to watch the game and the fireworks.

Kevin had given up trying to get Shu interested in the game. It just wasn’t in her genes. She would offer a number of excuses for not coming the best of which was, “I watch you at work once. It your turn to watch me at work.”

“That doesn’t make any sense. Your work is not in the entertainment industry. People don’t pay money to watch you work. People pay money to watch baseball.”

“Some people may pay money to watch baseball. I not that people.”

Now he would watch her at work every day. From his house. She didn’t understand the game and had no interest in learning it. Kevin stopped trying to teach it to her. It was like feeding Jasmine asparagus baby food. He could force it in her mouth, but soon it would be on the floor or on his shirt.

She did like the fireworks and Emily was there as a social outlet while the game was being played. For nine innings she was probably not even aware a ballgame was being played.

After the game ended they met the girls behind the first base dugout. There was not enough time to shower. Kevin’s uniform was drenched in sweat. He hoped it was not “Pocari Sweat”. He probably stank too. If he went into the locker room to change he would miss the first part of the fireworks. Shu would have to tolerate his stink.

Jason was dry as a biscuit. The four of them would watch the fireworks from inside the first base dugout. That would keep them away from the autograph hounds. Some of the players were still mingling around the dugout area as well. They gave Emily a second look when they saw her. Not because they thought she was attractive, but it was her all black attire, including her lipstick, nail polish and eyeliner mixed with her pink hairdo and shoes that forced them to give her a second look. Everything that shouldn’t be black was and what should have been black wasn’t.

Many of the photographers still mingled just outside the dugout. They did their best to curl their bodies around the walls of the dugout to focus their camera lenses inside to take photos of the four of them. This was the first time the four of them had been seen together in public. It would make great copy for a gossip magazine somewhere in China. Kevin always wondered what these magazines wrote about him and Shu. Shu could only read so much. She couldn’t know everything written about them. They were all getting used to ignoring the flashes from the cameras.

The equipment manager brought out the cooler of lemonade. Kevin gave out a sigh of satisfaction. The cooler was kept in the refrigerator in the locker room. “Here you go mam. Where would you like this?” He was an older man, somebody’s grandfather. He had been working as the equipment manager at Bowie for more than thirty years. He must enjoy the job because it couldn’t pay that well. Most of what he earned were from the tips from the minor leaguers, whose salary themselves was very limited.

Shu pointed to a spot next to Kevin. He could have stuck his head underneath the spout and froze it there while the lemonade poured from the spout, but he searched for a cup to pour the lemonade into. The first two cups were downed quickly. It tasted good. Shu smiled at his enjoyment.

“You do good,” Kevin was surprised to hear her say. “You on base a lot. If I member, that is good thing to be on base a lot.”

“That is a good thing. Thank you for noticing.”

Shu smiled proudly. Kevin buried another cup of lemonade down his throat.

While the fireworks were nice, Kevin never could get excited about them. After you’ve seen a few minutes of the crackling in the sky they all begin to look the same. Shu, Emily and Jason oohed and aahed at the many colors lighting up the night sky with the different explosive sounds. The promoters did their best to time the explosions to the music being played over the loudspeakers. While the firecrackers exploded and shined their many colors in the night sky all Kevin could think about were his two payments for over $3 million, the voices inside the head of Jason that seemed to predict the payments and all the endorsement requests Shu was lining up for him. And his lemonade.

Rienzo First Pitcher From Brazil in Major Leagues; Faces Gomes

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

Yan Gomes stole the thunder away from Andre Rienzo last year by becoming the first player from Brazil to reach the major leagues.  Rienzo can take pride in the accomplishment of being the first pitcher born in Brazil to pitch in the major leagues.  It is probably being a little like Larry Doby, who was the second African American to play in the major leagues and the first in the American League.  Not a lot of people in Brazil will take notice, except for the fact the White Sox were facing the Cleveland Indians who were starting Yan Gomes behind the plate.

Rienzo’s career got side tracked a bit last year with a drug suspension.  He is on track now and pitched seven innings, giving up only three unearned runs.  He walked three and struck out six, leaving the game with a 4-3 lead.  The bullpen blew the lead depriving him of the victory.  Ironic Yan Gomes would drive in two insurance runs in the Indians four run eighth to give the Indians a 7-4 win.  Ryan Raburn got the game winning 2-run single.

Rienzo got an opportunity to face countryman Yan Gomes in the third inning.  Gomes dribbled a single off him and then flashed him a smile from first base.  Rienzo of course tried to pick him off first without success.  Gomes walked in his second at bat off Rienzo and struck out in his third at bat.  Big day for Brazil today in baseball.    

Eagles and Bay Stars Soaring to New Heights

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

The Rakuten Golden Eagles are a new franchise formed in 2004, owned by an internet shopping company.  They were created after two franchises, the Orix Blue Wave and Kintetsu Buffaloes were merged to form the Orix Buffaloes.  The team is located in Sendai that was severely impacted by the tsunami resulting in damage to the stadium with its floods.  The team made the playoffs once back in 2009 finishing in second place.  They have yet to win a division.

The Yokahama Bay Stars were recently purchased by DeNA which is also an e-commerce website and cell phone gaming company.  Prior to the purchase by DeNA the Bay Stars won a championship in 1998 but have found the basement their home for most of the years after 1998.  It has been at least five straight years they have seen the basement. 

The Rakuten Eagles are led by pitcher Masahiro Tanaka (14-0, 1.28), perhaps now the best pitcher in Japan now that Yu Darvish has taken his skills to the major leagues.  Tanaka is rumored to be interested in being posted to the major leagues with the Yankees showing the most interest.  The Eagles might be more inclined to post him if he leads them to a championship.  Rakuten has never won a championship and currently leads second place Seibu by five games.  The last time Rakuten made the playoffs was in 2009 when Hisashi Iwakuma was their ace.  Iwakuma signed as a free agent last year with the Seattle Mariners after being posted the previous year but failing to agree to a contract with the Oakland Athletics, who had won the posting rights.  The Eagles have carried on without Iwakuma and after next year the same may be said about Tanaka.

The Eagles signed two big name foreign free agents this year.  The big name was Andrew Jones (.230, 17, 51) who isn’t having a big year but has been an important locker room presence.  He brings a certain swag to the club that other players can watch and learn from.  Casey McGehee (.295, 19, 56) was a less heralded signing but has been providing more consistent offense.  They also have ex-major leaguer Kaz Matsui (.263, 8, 34) as their middle infielder.  Other key players on the team are outfielder Ryo Hijirisawa (.267, 2, 32) who has bounced around between the leadoff spot and number three in the order.  He’s only stolen 16 bases, far below the 50 plus he averaged the last two years.  First baseman Ginji Akaminai (.339, 3, 37) has taken over the number three spot in the order with his hot bat.

The second best starting pitcher for the Eagles has been their 2012 second round pick Takahiro Norimoto (9-6, 3.43).  Masahiro Tanaka holds the franchise record for most wins by a rookie pitcher with 11, but Norimoto is set to break that.  The Eagles use a combination of Darrell Rasner (1-1, 2.56, 13 saves) and Koji Aoyama (2-3, 3.13, 9 saves) for their closer.

If the season ended today the Yokahama DeNA Bay Stars would make the playoffs.  They are currently in third place in the Central League two games ahead of the Chunichi Dragons for the last playoff spot but 10 games behind the Hanshin Tigers for second place.  The Bay Stars big bat has been Tony Blanco (.332, 31, 96) who they signed as a free agent.  His first four years in Japan he had played for the Chunichi Dragons, the team chasing the Bay Stars for that third and last playoff spot.  Blanco is approaching his rookie season numbers when he hit 39 homeruns and drove in 110, both career highs.

Norihiro Nakamura (.296, 12, 42) is another big bat pitchers have to contend with in the lineup.  At 40 years old Nakamura’s bat is slowing, but he has hit 402 career homeruns.  His resume shows seasons of 40 plus homeruns.  He lost the 2005 season when he turned down a two year $10 million contract with a Japanese team to sign with the Dodgers for $500,000.  Nakamura spent most of the 2005 season in the minor leagues after hitting only .128 in the majors in April.

The Bay Stars are led by veteran pitcher Daisuke Miura (7-7, 3.24).  He will be turning 40 in December.  They also have a little bit of youth with 2012 second round pick Kazuki Mishima (4-5, 3.56) and 2010 fourth round pick Hiroshi Kobayashi (1-1, 2.30).  Like Rakuten they have been sharing their closer job between Jorge Sosa (2-2, 2.43, 8 saves) and Shun Yamaguchi (4-2, 4.05, 7 saves).

There are still about 50 games left in the season, a long time for Rakuten to hang onto their division lead and for Yokahama to hang onto that last final playoff spot.  It’s not anything they will complain about since they have never or rarely reached those heights in the last few years.

China Endorsements (cont -2)

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

Kevin felt sorry for Shu buried in correspondence sitting at the kitchen table sorting through the mail on her second day on the job. He began to regret asking Arnold about job vacancies. She was now getting up earlier than normal to organize the piles into colors to indicate what kind of request was being made, making most of their morning discussion to wrap up the correspondence before he and Jason headed for the ballpark. Shu was already planning their winter for them, setting up so many appearances during the offseason that his opportunity for playing winter ball was disappearing. They were getting requests from a number of businesses and corporations to endorse their products, from U.S. companies who wanted to get visibility in China to Chinese companies who wanted to take advantage of his name.

“According to Ah-nold, we need to balance your appearances. Too much exposure and people tire of you. Too little and people forget you. We need to be selective with what we accept for you to endorse. We need to brand your name as he put it so we must endorse products we like or use. Have your fans put their trust in you. What do you think of Poca-wee Sweat?” She was so focused on her job she spoke in Mandarin.

“Never heard of it.”

She reverted back to English after Kevin responded back to her in English. “It drinking water made by Japanese company. It taste good.”

“Drinking water called sweat. That doesn’t sound too tasty to me.”

“Most people in China not know word sweat. It good. You like it.”

“What happened to branding?”

Regardless of what he said she signed him up to endorse the sweaty drinking water. They would meet with the company in China in late October to film the commercial. Kevin did not think he would have any post season obligations to worry about.

“What are they paying me?”

“Five hun-dwed thousand doll-ah, plus airline ticket to Beijing and two night stay at five star hotel.”

“What?” Kevin was shocked. He had told her he wanted to play winter ball this year. He had not played the last two years. He needed to play this year to increase his exposure. Now he was having second thoughts. He could not make that kind of money in winter ball. For one commercial he was making more money than he could make playing winter ball for three months. “Forget winter ball. Let’s keep on branding. With that kind of payment I’ll learn to like drinking sweat.”

Shu smiled. Kevin would never have thought he was worth that kind of money to endorse a product.

“The video company make Woo and the Warrior want you to endorse their new video. What you think of them?” Shu was running down a list she had put together on a notepad.

“I haven’t really played the game Woo and the Warrior, but based on Jason’s description it sounds a bit violent. Do we know what the new video is like?”

She stared at her notebook. “I agwee. We ca-woss off list. Besides, they not pay that much.” She continued to look at her notebook. “We not dwink Coke or Pepsi so I ca-woss off list too.” She took her pen and put two lines through the notebook.

“I don’t drink sweat water either but you have me endorsing them.”

“That only because you not know of it. You like it once you taste it. It good stuff. Twust me.” Kevin used to drink Coke and Pepsi until he met Shu. He actually liked drinking Coke and Pepsi. Shu had crossed that drink off his list.

“No tobacco.” Shu made a few more marks with her pen.

“How many companies do you have there that want me to endorse their product?”

She began counting from her list. “Twenty four. That why we be selective.”

“How many does Jason have?”

“That law-yah client pwiv-lege.”

“Come on. You’re my wife. He’s Jason. I’ve been tasked with protecting his best interest. Besides, you are not a lawyer.”

“You be em-baw-assed.”

“I won’t be embarrassed.”

She looked down on the ground when she said it. “About five hun-dwed.”

Kevin repeated the number in Mandarin to make sure she said the right number.

“Give or take one hun-dwed. Too many to count so I start with you. After all, you my husband.” She playfully batted her eyes.

“I am embarrassed. Of the twenty or so I have got how many have I agreed to endorse?” Other than the sweaty drinking water Kevin didn’t remember agreeing to endorse any products.

“Twee. I have you for Poca-wee Sweat, Pampahs diap-ahs because you love changing poopy diap-ahs and Waisin Bwan cereal. You always eat that for bweakfast.”

“At least you picked one product I enjoy. How much are they paying me to endorse those three products?”

“That is five hun-dwed and twee hun-dwed plus another five hun-dwed. You make one point twee million plus all twaveling expenses paid for those commercials.”

“Who’s the cheapskate paying me only three hundred?”

“Pampahs. But they also give us free diapers for year. What about talk shows?”

“What about them?”

“You have six talk shows want you to appear. You not usually watch talk shows so I not know which ones are good.”

“What am I to talk about? My life is not that exciting.”

“You talk about me!”

“What are my choices?”

“Bob Sagget. Anderson Cooper. Good morning America. Sat-a-day night live…”

“That’s not a talk show.”

“What not talk show?”

“Saturday night live. It’s a comedy show. I’m not even funny. Let’s put an X through that one.”

She finished naming the shows. Kevin picked two he felt confident he would not look silly on.

IBAF 12 and Under Team by Team Breakdown

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

United States Downs Panama in 15 and Under COPABE

Monday, July 29th, 2013

The United States downed Panama 3-0 to go 3-0 in the 15 and under COPABE tournament held in Barranquilla, Colombia.  Chase Strumpf went deep with a solo shot in the first inning to give the United States an early 1-0 lead.  Blake Sabol added two more with a 2-run blast in the fifth.  DJ Roberts worked five innings of two hit shutout ball to quiet the Panama bats.  Daniel Cabrera pitched one plus inning of shutout relief and Logan Pouelsen got the only batter he faced with a strikeout to close out the game. 

The United States clobbered the Dominican Republic in their opener 12-2.  They did the same against Mexico 12-1.  Strumpf hit a homerun in that first game with the Dominicans.  In the three games he has driven in six runs.

You can see the United States COPABE schedule here:  http://web.usabaseball.com/schedules.jsp?type=team_15u.  Myworld could not locate a link for the tournament in general.    

China Endorsements

Monday, July 29th, 2013

Chapter 31

China Endorsements

July 4 – The Fourth of July fireworks in Washington, D. C. were cancelled today after the Department of Homeland Security announced credible threats of terrorism had surfaced, making it impossible to provide adequate security for the large crowds attending such an event. Senator Helms announced his outrage an event as important as the fourth of July, a date that celebrates the independence of the United States of America is cancelled because of a terror threat. “If we cannot engage in the normal activities we do as Americans to celebrate our freedoms then we have lost this war on terrorism.” Senator Helms has asked to see the information leading to the cancellation.

It was the second baseball game Shu had attended since her marriage to Kevin. Jasmine was wrapped quietly in her arms as she watched the game. It was July 4 of last year when she attended her first game. She was bored by the game, but she enjoyed watching the post game fireworks. Kevin hoped her life would be more content now with her new job, a job now directly linked to Kevin and his performance on and off the field. She no longer needed to work for the airlines. The day after the meeting with the State Department, when Kevin called Arnold to thank him for the two large payments he jokingly asked him if he had any job openings at his firm, remembering the comment Shu had made about being able to accomplish whatever responsibilities Stephanie encountered in her job. He never expected a serious response back.

“Why? You looking to retire?”

“No. My wife is tired of working for the airline. She’s driving me crazy with her complaints.”

The response was met with ten seconds of silence, which felt like an eternity to Kevin. He thought the line had gone dead until Arnold spoke again. “Your wife speaks and reads Mandarin?”

The query surprised Kevin. He tried to be careful not to have the words stumble from his mouth. “Born and bred in China. I learned the language because of her.”

“We could use someone with her skills. Have her come to New York for an interview. We will reimburse her for any hotel and travel expenses.”

Stephanie interviewed her the next day. Shu started her new job the day after. Her opinion of Stephanie changed after the interview. She liked the blonde bombshell who was now her boss. Stephanie was a nice woman who intimidated men because of her mixture of intelligence and beauty. Kevin challenged this fondness for Stephanie by asking Shu when she was going to invite Stephanie for dinner. The response from Shu, “I not like her that much.”

The demand for Jason and Kevin was so great Arnold needed someone who could speak and read Mandarin to help him navigate through the China websites as well as to translate all the correspondence he was receiving from China written in Mandarin. He was also handling another client from China, a basketball player, so Shu could help him on that front as well. There was also the issue of retrieving Jason’s money through the banks in China and transferring those funds to the banks in the United States. He needed Shu to provide him with the translations on the laws and regulations to make the transfers happen. There was a lot of red tape to plow through and Shu was the scissors who could cut through this red tape.

Arnold did not have an office in the Baltimore/D.C. area so the nice thing was he allowed Shu to work from home, which made her happy. Her hours were flexible, as set by her, and her monthly pay was more than the combined salaries of her job at the airlines and what Kevin made last year in the minor leagues. All she had to do was accomplish the tasks Arnold gave to her. She would also get an occasional trip to New York, her favorite city in the world, something she got a lot to do when she was a stewardess, but did little of when she went to the administrative side of the airlines. Between her salary and his unexpected multimillion dollar royalty payments the two of them were in a much better financial situation. Life seemed to be going too good for them now. There was bound to be something along the road to trip them up.

Shu was hired to be the assistant to Stephanie who was the administrative assistant to Arnold. For her job it was recommended she purchase business cards. Arnold gave her the company logo and the name of a printer to print up the cards. He didn’t give her a title. Kevin recommended the title “assistant to the administrative assistant”. Shu didn’t like that. She decided to give herself the title “China expert” which she placed below her name on the business card.

The plan was for Shu to assist Stephanie in setting up endorsement contracts for Jason, Kevin and the professional basketball player, especially the requests from China, sort through the mounds of autograph requests or fan mail they were receiving on a daily basis and respond to any correspondence. This made Shu a very busy woman, at least for the first couple days as she got used to the assignments. Kevin hoped the work load would slow down or he would have a wife on the brink of insanity trying to accomplish all the tasks expected of her. At least she seemed to enjoy the challenges.

The letters stacked up in the garage whose shelf life for a response expired long ago became her responsibility. Even though she tried to help Jason with his fan mail in the past, between caring for Jasmine, going to work each day and caring for the house and her garden she found very little time to devote to his mail. Now that it was her job it would be attacked with much more vigor.

The three large crates carried by two large teenagers continued to be brought into the house each day, two of the crates for Jason and one for Kevin. It now became the responsibility of Shu to empty these crates, sort through the contents and determine what kind of response was needed, if any. The three new crates were combined with the letters stashed in the garage and those still with some shelf life lying in Jason’s bedroom to see which ones still needed a response.

The first day Jason was cornered by Shu before he could leave for the game to get his responses to questions from the fans. There were some standard responses she did not need his input for, but they were very few. To get him to answer her questions she made him lasagna. Jason could not stay away from her lasagna. She sat by the table to ask Jason the questions while Jason chowed down on the lasagna. That made both of their worlds happy, with Shu whittling down her work load and Jason filling his stomach as well as cleaning his bedroom of unanswered letters. She then used his signature stamp to autograph the responses. It seemed a bit impersonal but it was all she could do to keep up with the requests.

Kevin did not need to be cornered. She waited until he crawled into bed with her before she hit him with his questions. She felt a duty to respond to everyone’s correspondence. It made for long evenings as she asked him all his questions, sometimes disagreeing with his response and crafting her own response masquerading as his. “Why do you need me if you’re just going to make up your own response?”

“I use most of yours. I only frame it better so you not insult your fans.”

When the questions became too many Kevin tried to hide under the sheets to stop the interrogation, but Shu would only crawl under the sheets with him to ask him the unanswered questions. There was no escape from Shu. Not unless he wanted to sleep in another room. In this household all the rooms were occupied except the den, kitchen and living room.

Lester, Sox Shut Out O’s

Sunday, July 28th, 2013

Jon Lester won his tenth game of the year, throwing seven shutout innings in the Red Sox 5-0 blanking of the Orioles.  David Ortiz had a nice comeback game after being ejected yesterday.  He went 4 for 4 with a 2-run homer to left centerfield.

Jason Hammel continued his struggles for the O’s.  He had trouble throwing strikes, with 45 of his 97 pitches not finding the strike zone.  Jon Lester threw 99 pitches, but only 34 of his pitches were balls.  A good outing needs a 2 to 1 ratio.

Shane Victorino got things started in the first by drawing one of the five walks issued by Hammel.  David Ortiz beat the shift by pulling a single into right field.  Mike Napoli went the other way, smashing a double down the right field line to score Victorino.  The inning could have been worse but Adam Jones made a nice running catch on a Dustin Pedroia drive to the warning track in center field.

In the third David Ortiz launched a ball into left centerfield for a 2-run homer.  L.J. Hoes made the leap in left field but the ball was far out of his reach.

The Red Sox put the game away off T.J. McFarland in the eighth.  David Ortiz started the inning ripping his fourth hit of the day, dropping a line drive single just in front of right fielder Nick MarkakisMike Napoli went the other way, pulling a double down the left field line for his second double of the day.  The O’s chose to walk pinch hitter Jonny Gomes intentionally.  Jarrod Saltalmacchia made them pay by scooting a ball past the diving Brian Roberts for a 2-run single. 

The best chance the Orioles had to score to get back in the game was in the sixth inning.  Chris Davis grounded one into the shift into short right field.  Dustin Pedroia threw the ball wide to first and Davis avoided the tag.  A bloop single by Adam Jones put runners on first and second with no out.  Matt Wieters got ahead in the count 3-1.  At 3-2 he swung and missed at a pitch that was high out of the strike zone.  J.J. Hardy also ran the count to 3-2.  He grounded into a 5-4-3 double play.

Game Notes: Chris Davis continued his struggles after the All Star break and his participation in the homerun derby.  In his ten games after the All Star break he is 8 for 39 with 20 strikeouts and no homeruns…The crowd booed David Ortiz when he came to bat for breaking the Orioles dugout phone after his ejection the day before.  He didn’t seem to be bothered by the boos, going 4 for 4 with a 2-run homerun…L.J. Hoes went 0 for 3 in his first major league start.  Last year he appeared in two games as a reserve.  The O’s felt a need for a right handed bat with their plethora of lefthanded bats in Markakis, Davis, McLouth and Urrutia.  

United States Wins 12 and Under Championship

Sunday, July 28th, 2013

The United States blasted defending champs Taiwan 8-1 to win the IBAF 12 and under championships.  Now if only the professionals who represent the United States in the WBC could only do so well.

United States 8 Taiwan 1

A crowd of over 10,000 were disappointed early when the United States erupted for seven runs in the second inning of their championship game against Taiwan.  Joseph Naranjo started the inning with a homerun and it was downhill after that for the Taiwan pitching staff.  Eight hits later they were down 7-0.  Jakob Hines later hit a solo shot in the fourth inning.

Justin Campbell was one out away from throwing a complete game.  He gave up six hits and only one run.  Taiwan ace Chih-Heng Chiu did not have it today.  Give him another six years and he will be signing a million dollar plus contract with a major league team.

Japan 8 Venezuela 2

Japan took third place, rallying from a 2-0 deficit to blister Venezuela 8-2.  A five run third with three walks, four wild pitches and two hitbatsmen opened the inning up for Japan.  Hidemasa Takamizu delivered the big two run single in the inning.  Shota Sawamura worked five innings to get the win.  He also drove in two runs with RBI singles in the third and fourth innings.

Panama 6 Korea 1

In a bit of a surprise Panama took fifth place with a comfortable win over Asian powerhouse Korea.  Derek Arroyo went all six innings to pick up the victory.  Jorge Fletes and Leonardo Jimenez each delivered two hits to drive in one run each.  Jimenez triple in the first scored Fletes with Panama’s second run.  Fletes tripled in the second to increase the score to 5-0.

Mexico 4 Brazil 0

Mexico took seventh place.  Hector Vargas tossed a two hit complete game shutout.  Victor Zazueta drove in three runs with a booming double in the second inning. 

Final Standings

1) USA
2) Chinese Taipei
3) Japan
4) Venezuela
5) Panama
6) Korea
7) Mexico
8) Brazil
9) Italy
9) Russia
11) Czech Republic
11) Hong Kong
13) Pakistan
13) Philippines

All Star Team

Starting Pitcher: Justin Campbell (USA)
Relief Pitcher: Kevin Martin (USA)
Catcher: Gabriel Briones (USA)
First Baseman: Po-Chun Chen (TPE)
Second Baseman: Anthony Volpe (USA)
Third Baseman: Kevin Garcia (MEX)
Shortstop: Chin-Chun Chen (TPE)
Outfielder: Jakob Hines (USA)
Outfielder: Jose Aguilar (VEN)
Outfielder: Chih-Heng Chiu (TPE)

Myworld was a little surprised no player from the third place Japan team was selected as an All Star.  Shota Sawamura should get some accolades for his 2-0, 0.00, 15 K’s in 7 innings and .444 batting average as a utility player.  No pitcher had more strikeouts than Sawamura based on the league leader results. 

You can see a picture of the crowd here:  http://www.ibaf.org/en/news/2013/07/28/usa-takes-12u-baseball-world-cup-with-8-1-victory-/49409df3-e55f-4d73-aa2e-2f1af95e8c2e
    

Career Walkoff Homerun Leaders

Sunday, July 28th, 2013

With his ninth walkoff homerun Ryan Zimmerman falls within four of the career leaders for walkoff homeruns since 1950.  The only active players on this list are David Ortiz with 11 and Alex Rodriguez with 9.  Jim Thome is the league leader with 13.

According to http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/archives/8972 the career walkoff homerun leaders since 1950.

Jim Thome 13

Frank Robinson and Mickey Mantle 12

Tony Perez and David Ortiz 11

Sammy Sosa, Dick Allen, Harold Baines, Barry Bonds, Reggie Jackson and Mike Schmidt 10

Alex Rodriguez, Hank Aaron, Eddie Murray, Roy Sievers, Vladimir Guerrero and Ryan Zimmerman 9