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World Baseball Classic rosters announced for all countries

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All of the rosters for the World Baseball Classic have been released. They are subject to change, but they can all be read here by clicking on each country’s flag.  The highlights, per MLB’s press release:

Venezuela’s roster currently features 11 All-Stars, including Triple Crown-winning 2012 A.L. MVP Miguel Cabrera, 2012 World Series Most Valuable Player presented by Chevrolet Pablo Sandoval, 2010 A.L. Cy Young winner Felix Hernandez and 2012 N.L. All-Star outfielder Carlos Gonzalez.  The Dominican Republic’s roster is highlighted by 10 All-Stars, including infielders Adrian Beltre, Robinson Cano, Hanley Ramirez, Jose Reyes and 2002 A.L. MVP Miguel Tejada.  Also participating is 2006 A.L. MVP Justin Morneau of Canada.

Seven-time All-Star Carlos Beltran and two-time World Series Champion Yadier Molina, both of Team Puerto Rico, will participate in their third World Baseball Classic.  Another third-time participant is Adrian Gonzalez of Team Mexico, which will have All-Star right-hander Yovani Gallardo.  Free agent right-hander Chien-Ming Wang will represent Chinese Taipei for the first time in the World Baseball Classic, while left-hander Bruce Chen will become the first Major Leaguer to represent China in the event.

So I guess Bruce Chen got his grandparents’ Chinese birth certificate issue figured out.

The WBC begins March 2 and goes through March 19. The pools:

  • Pool A:  Brazil, China, Cuba and Japan, playing at the Fukuoka Yahoo! Japan Dome
  • Pool B: Australia, Chinese Taipei, Korea and the Netherlands, playing at Intercontinental Baseball Stadium in Taichung, Taiwan
  • Pool C: Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Spain and Venezuela, playing at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • Pool D: Canada, Italy, Mexico and the United States, playing at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick in ArizonaSalt River Fields at Talking Stick in Arizona.

The First Round will feature a round-robin format with the top two teams at each venue advancing to one of two Second Round pools. The Second Round, which will be a modified double-elimination format, will be played at the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan and Marlins Park in Miami, Florida. The Championship Round at AT&T Park in San Francisco from Sunday, March 17th–Tuesday, March 19th.

Gentlemen, start your international baseball.

Rick Ankiel drank vodka before a start to deal with the yips

9 Apr 2000: Rick Ankiel #66 of the St. Louis Cardinals winds back to pitch the ball during the game against the Milwaukee Brweers at the Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri. The Cardinals defeated the Brewers 11-2. Mandatory Credit: Elsa Hasch  /Allsport
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The story of Rick Ankiel is well known by now. He was a phenom pitcher who burst onto the scene with the Cardinals in 1999 and into the 2000 season as one of the top young talents in the game. Then, in the 2000 playoffs, he melted down. He got the yips. Whatever you want to call it, he lost the ability to throw strikes and his pitching career was soon over. He came back, however, against all odds, and remade his career as a solid outfielder.

It’s inspirational and incredible. But there is a lot more to the story that we’ve ever known. We will soon, however, as Ankiel is coming out with a book. Today he took to the airwaves and shared some about it. Including some amazing stuff:

On drinking in his first start after the famous meltdown in Game One of the 2000 National League division series against the Braves:

“Before that game…I’m scared to death. I know I have no chance. Feeling the pressure of all that, right before the game I get a bottle of vodka. I just started drinking vodka. Low and behold, it kind of tamed the monster, and I was able to do what I wanted. I’m sitting on the bench feeling crazy I have to drink vodka to pitch through this. It worked for that game. (I had never drank before a game before). It was one of those things like the yipps, the monster, the disease…it didn’t fight fair so I felt like I wasn’t going to fight fair either.”

Imagine spending your whole life getting to the pinnacle of your career. Then imagine it immediately disintegrating. And then imagine having to go out and do it again in front of millions. It’s almost impossible for anyone to contemplate and, as such, it’s hard to judge almost anything Ankiel did in response to that when he was 21 years-old. That Ankiel got through that and made a career for himself is absolutely amazing. It’s a testament to his drive and determination.

 

Justin Turner talks “Easy D”

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 22:  Justin Turner #10 of the Los Angeles Dodgers warms up prior to game six of the National League Championship Series against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on October 22, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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A couple of weeks ago our president wrote one of his more . . . vexing tweets. He was talking about immigration when he whipped out the phrase . . . “Easy D”:

No one was quite sure what he meant by Easy D. Was it the older brother of N.W.A.’s founder? The third sequel to that Emma Stone movie from a few years back? So many questions!

Baseball Twitter had fun with it, though, with a lot of people wondering how they could work it in casually to their commentary:

It wasn’t a scout who did it, but twelve days after that, a player obliged Mr. McCullough:

I have no more idea what Turner was talking about with that than Trump was. We’ll have to wait for the full story in the L.A. Times. But I am going to assume Turner was doing McCullough a solid with that one rather than commenting on the president’s tweet. Either way, I’m glad he made the effort.

And before you ask: yes, it’s a slow news day.