Confirmed plans for a baseball World Cup that is to stir the hearts of baseball fans worldwide have come out at last.
Baseball commissioner Bud Selig released the official statement on May 13, World Baseball Classic, a baseball World Cup that is to be held among 16 nations including Korea, Japan, the U.S., and the Dominican Republic, will start in March 2006.
World stars currently playing in the Major League will face-off for their nations pride in this competition. Here is a preview of what will be the true World Series.
Members of the Korean Dream Team-
It is certain that this will be the best dream team ever, with most overseas players participating. Korea Baseball Organizations Deputy Secretary General Lee Sang-il said, We will organize a selection committee in due time and form a dream team worthy of its name.
For the starting pitching position, Park Chan-ho (Texas Rangers), Bae Young-soo (Samsung) and Son Min-han (Lotte) are the primary candidates. Among the left-handed pitchers, Koo Dae-sung (New York Mets), who played a giant role in the 2000 Sydney Olympics when Korea won the bronze medal, is likely to be selected. Closers Roh Jang-jin (Lotte) and Kim Byung-hyun (Colorado) are also being considered.
Hong Sung-heun (Doosan) and Jin Gap-yong (Samsung) are most likely to be the catchers of the team. Hong Sung-heun, who teamed up with Park Chan-ho in the 1998 Bangkok Asian Games, looks forward to the World Cup, saying, If the old members get back again and play in the World Cup, this will be a great opportunity to enhance our potential.
With hitters such as Choi Hee-seop (LA Dodgers), Lee Seung-yup (Chiba Lotte Marines) and Kim Dong-ju (Doosan), we can expect a powerful lineup.
Possible Champions: U.S. and the Dominican Republic-
The U.S. and the Dominican Republic are being mentioned as possible champions. The U.S. sports channel ESPN predicted that the Dominican Republic would defeat Venezuela and win the cup, and picked the U.S., the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Venezuela, Japan, Puerto Rico, Canada, and Australia as probable quarterfinalists.
In the U.S., baseballs country of origin, Alex Rodriguez (New York Yankees), Barry Bonds (San Francisco Giants), Manny Ramirez (Boston Red Sox) are candidates for the clean-up trio. Roger Clemens (Houston Astros), Randy Johnson (New York Yankees) and Jason Schmidt (San Francisco Giants) are mentioned among the starting pitchers.
The Dominican Republic has sluggers such as Albert Pujols (Saint Louis Cardinals), David Ortiz (Boston Red Sox) and Sammy Sosa (Chicago Cubs) in its lineup, and Pedro Martinez (New York Mets) will lead the mound.
In Japan, Koreas perpetual rival, big leaguers Ichiro Suzuki (New York Yankees) and Matsui Hideki (New York Yankees) have already been selected onto the team. Matsui showed determination, saying, I dont have any details, but if selected, I will do my best.
Sixteen Teams will Split into Four Groups, Tournament from the Semifinals
Sixteen teams will be divided into four groups based on their regions. After a full-league preliminary, the top two teams in each group will proceed to the quarterfinals. Korea is in the same group as Japan and Taiwan, and the games will take place for three days in Japans Tokyo Dome from March 3, 2006. The quarterfinalists will once again be divided into two groups, and after going through a group league in the U.S., the semifinalists will undergo a tournament to determine the final winner. The final is to take place on March 21.