Press Release International Baseball Federation, www.ibaf.org
TEAM USA WALKS OFF WITH NUMBER ONE SEED IN POOL G, FINAL PAIRINGS NOW SET FOR BASEBALL WORLD CUP FINAL EIGHT WITH PLAY BEGINNING TUESDAY IN ITALY
THE FINAL EIGHT: Monday’s play completed the eight nation field that will move on to the final round…those eight nations are The United States, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, the Netherlands, Australia, Canada and Chinese Taipei.
TUESDAYS POOL PLAY GAMES: Australia-Cuba (Grosseto), USA-Venezuela (Firenze), Chinese Taipei-Netherlands (Messina) and Canada-Puerto Rico (Nettuno)
WINNERS REMAINING IN THE FIELD: Of the eight teams advancing to the final round, four have won at least one of the 38 previous World Cups…Cuba is the leader with 25, followed by the United States (3), Venezuela (3) and Puerto Rico (1)…the last European country to win was also the first…Great Britain in 1938…the last Asian team to win was Korea in 1982…Australia’s best finish was sixth in 2007
CUP HISTORY: This is the 38th time the Baseball World Cup has been played…it was an annual event from 1938 until 1953 and then was discontinued until 1961 in Costa Rica…it went to an event every four years in 1965 and 1969 and then back to an annual event from 1969-1976…the format then moved to every other year from 1978-1990, became a four year event in ’94 and ’98, and starting in 2001 has been played every other year…two World Cups were also played in 1973, one hosted and won by Cuba and the other hosted by Nicaragua and won by the United States.
HOST COUNTRIES: This is the first time the Baseball World Cup was held in multiple nations since its formation in 1938…Italy will host the final for the fourth time, after hosting it in 1978, 1988, and 1998…Cuba has won all three times Italy has hosted the World Cup.
THE WORLD CUP IN EUROPE: This is the seventh time Europe has hosted the World Cup…Great Britain hosted and won the inaugural Cup in 1938, defeating the United States…other than Italy (three times), the Netherlands hosted the World Cup in 1986 and 2005…other than the win by Great Britain in 1938, all of the other six World Cups held in Europe have been won by Cuba.
GLOBAL HOSTS OF THE CUP: Cuba has hosted the Cup the most times (10), while Nicaragua (5), Italy (4) and Colombia (4) have been the hosts the second and third most. Each of the three North American countries…the United States (’74) , Mexico (’51) and Canada (’90) have hosted the event once…Japan (’80), Korea (’82) and Chinese Taipei (2001 and ’07) have been Asian hosts…Venezuela has hosted the event three times and the Dominican Republic and Costa Rica have hosted the Cup once.
HOST DOES NOT FIND GOLD AGAIN: Italy’s failure to reach the final eight continues a tough run for World Cup host countries. The host country won eight of the first nine titles (Great Britain, Cuba four times, Venezuela twice, Columbia), but since 1948 the host team has only won the Gold Medal eight times…Cuba (’52, ’71,’73, ’84,’03) Colombia (’65), USA (’74), and Korea (’82)…Cuba’s win in 2003 was the only time in the last nine events the World Cup has been won by the host country and was also one of two times in the last nine the host country won a medal (host Chinese Taipei won Bronze in 2001).
CROWDED TRAFFIC ON THE WEB: The IBAF’s official site, Ibaf.org has attracted over 250,000 visitors and several million page views in the first two weeks of the World Cup, coming from over 150 countries, an increase of over 60% from during its last heavy visit period which was the Beijing Olympics.
MAJOR EXPERIENCE IN PLAY: Over 110 players currently under contract to MLB teams, from 17 nations, have participated in the World Cup thus far. Among the eight nations in the final round, six have players with MLB experience, with the two exceptions being Cuba (whose players cannot particpate in MLB) and Chinese Taipei (whose roster is comprised of players from their professional league). There are 22 players with Major League experience playing in the final round.
USA SMOAK’S ITS WAY INTO THE HOME RUN RECORD BOOK: Texas Rangers prospect Justin Smoak had his ninth home run on Monday, including three separate two run homer games, giving him a World Cup best nine home runs thus far, to go along with a .400 average and a team best 19 RBI and 13 runs scored. Smoak’s teammate, Pittsburgh Pirates prospect Pedro Alvarez, set the overall team record with three home runs in a game against Chinese Taipei and has four overall, while Team USA has set the pace as a team in homers with 30.
CUBA STILL SETTING THE PITCHING PACE: Cuba’s quest to regain the World Cup continues to be led by its Tournament-leading pitching staff, which has compiled a 1.76 ERA during its 9-1 run thus far. The Cuban staff has amassed 103 strikeouts thought the first two rounds (second only to Japan’s total of 120) and given up only 22 walks and three home runs. Cuban pitcher Norge Vera is 2-0 and has yet to allow a run in 14 innings, while his teammate Freddy Alvarez is 2-0 and has allowed one earned run in 15 innings. Miguel Gonzalez struck out ten consecutive batters against Puerto Rico in his first start (13 overall in 6 1/3 innings), one short of the World Cup mark of 11 set by former Major Leaguer Burt Hooton (Dodgers and Cubs) of the USA in 1971.
AUSSIE HITTING SHOES STAY ON: Australia enters the final round leading all teams with a .328 average, and third in runs scored with 80. Philadelphia Phillies prospect Joel Naughton continues to set the hitting pace for Australia with a .478 mark (11-23), with Minnesota Twins prospect James Bereford hitting .343 (12-35) and two other teammates hitting .333, Phillies prospect Timothy Kennelly and Pirates Christopher Snelling.
…AND GET CUT IN CLOSE SHAVES: Monday’s loss to USA was Australia’s third, with all three coming by one run. Their two losses previous had been to Mexico (10-9) and Chinese Taipei (5-4), both of which they have avenged.
Follow the 2009 Baseball World Cup via live stream on 2009BaseballWorldCup.com or on Eurosport2