Just in case you thought the miniscule World Baseball Classic attendance at the Cuba-China game two days ago was a one-time thing, Ben Badler of Baseball America took another snapshot of the pathetic crowd at last night’s China-Brazil game.
Officially the announced attendance in Japan was 3,110, but Badler guessed that there were actually fewer than 100 people in the stands for a second straight game.
I’m not suggesting that any dramatic conclusions can be drawn from the fact that not many people from China, Brazil, and Cuba travel to Japan to watch their respective teams play in the WBC, but the fact that no one in Japan even wants to see these games definitely says something considering how much Japanese people like baseball in general.
Much like in America, the overall interest level in the WBC just isn’t there when the home team isn’t playing.
Houston made one unexpected change to the roster for the ALDS, leaving off veteran reliever Chad Qualls.
Qualls warmed up but never appeared in the Wild Card game win over the Yankees and during the regular season the 36-year-old right-hander logged 49 innings with a 4.38 ERA and 46/9 K/BB ratio. Qualls was on the Astros’ last playoff team in 2005.
Utility man Jonathan Villar has been bumped off the roster in favor of outfielder Preston Tucker, as the Astros opted for a good left-handed bat off the bench versus the Royals rather than Villar’s speed.
It’s been a tough season for the mythology of Jonny Gomes‘ veteran clubhouse savior reputation.
First he signed with the rebuilding Braves and performed poorly while Atlanta fell apart after a surprisingly decent start. Then he was traded to the Royals, for whom he played just 12 games and hit .167. And now Kansas City has left Gomes off the ALDS roster.
It makes sense, though. Gomes’ only real use to the Royals would be as a pinch-hitter versus left-handed pitching, but manager Ned Yost rarely pinch-hits and will no doubt be more willing to use 25th man Terrance Gore as a pinch-runner in the late innings.
Beyond that, not many surprises on the Royals’ roster for their series against the Astros. They went with 11 pitchers, which means both Chris Young and Kris Medlen are on the roster. Jeremy Guthrie is not.