Press Release International Baseball Federation, www.ibaf.org
DESPAIGNE BREAKS HOME RUN RECORD: Cuba’s Alfredo Despaigne’ homered on Saturday to break the Cuban and World Cup record for home runs in one event, with ten. Cuba also continues to dominate on the pitching side, leading all nations with a 1.70 ERA. Cuba has three pitchers now at 3-0, Norge Vera, and Miguel and Yulieski Gonzalez, while reliever Pedro Lazo has three saves and has yet to allow a run.
…WHILE SMOAK SETS THE USA MARK TOO: Not to be outdone, USA’s Justin Smoak, a Texas Rangers prospect, already holds the USA record with nine home runs. Smoak’s 21 RBI also lead the club, two ahead of Philadelphia Phillies prospect Terry Tiffee (.353 4 HR 19 RBI). Tampa Ray’s prospect Jon Weber leads the team in hitting (.435 3 HR 12 RBI), while the pitching staff, which has been key in the 13 game winning streak, boasts a 1.93 ERA and is led by 3-0 Chicago White Sox prospect Lucas Harrell (no runs in ten innings in relief) and a five man starting rotation which has allowed a total of 12 earned runs in 83 innings.
USA, CUBA REMATCH FOR GOLD ON SUNDAY: The USA will have a rematch with Cuba for the Gold Medal Sunday in Nettuno. The USA ended Cuba’s nine straight World Cup titles with a 6-3 win in the Gold Medal game in Chinese Taipei in 2007, and will be looking to win back-to-back World Cup titles for the first time since 1973-74. Cuba, the USA and Venezuela (1944-’45) are the only nations to ever win back to back titles. The Cubans are hoping that Italy brings them luck again, as they have won all three of the World Cup title games played in Italy. This will be the seventh time Cuba and the USA have played for World Cup Gold, with Cuba holding a 6-1 lead. They met for the Gold Medal twice before in Italy, in both 1978 and 1988
TV ADDS ESPN STAR TV ASIA TO LINEUP: The International Baseball Federation added ESPN STAR TV for coverage of the final games of the 2009 Baseball World Cup. ESPN STAR will broadcast Sunday’s Gold Medal game, on tape delay. Thes addition comes after the IBAF added the MLB Network for today’s USA vs. Cuba Gold Medal game from Nettuno, Italy on Sunday 27 September, as well as additional broadcasts by NOS in the Netherlands for the remaining games with the Dutch National Team. This latest addition is on top of the already announced local broadcasts in Cuba, Venezuela and Italy, as well as on Eurosport2 across Europe, giving the event a footprint of over 150 million homes worldwide for the three weeks, the largest broadcast audience in the history of the event.
EXTRA INNING RULE : The IBAF’s Extra Inning Rule, designed to control the length of games, took effect for the second time Monday in the Australia-Canada game. For extra innings, each team starts their half of the inning with runners on first and second and no out. Each subsequent inning starts the same until a winner is determined. A version of the rule, starting in the 11th inning, was implemented during the Beijing Olympics and was used five times, with only one game going an additional inning before being decided. The World Baseball Classic adapted the rule, starting in the 14th inning, but it was never put into effect. The rule has been used six times during the World Cup, with only one game (Venezuela 13 USA 9 on 10 September) going into the 11th inning…Chinese Taipei (2-1) and Australia (1-1) were the only teams with multiple extra inning games thus far.
CROWDED TRAFFIC ON THE WEB: The IBAF’s official site, Ibaf.org has attracted over 350,000 visitors and several million page views through Wednesday 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.
CLOSE SHAVES: Australia (2-4) and Mexico (1-2) have had the most one run games…
With the final weekend of the three week, 22 Pan-European World Cup now upon us, here is a look at some key facts from the event.
With Chinese Taipei now out of medal contention, this will be the first time since 1974 that no Asian team will medal at the World Cup…Korea (9) and Japan (10), two traditional baseball powers, had their lowest-even finishes…Korea had never finised lower that eighth (1988) while Japan had never finished had never finished lower than fifth (1998 and 2005)…despite the low finish, Japanese pitchers remain with the second-highest strikeout total (122), and struck out 12.2 batters per game…Japan was also third overall in fielding (.986)…
SPAIN’S TWINS, ORIOLES PROSPECTS LED THE WAY: Spain went 3-7 in their 10 games, but made marked progress, as three of those were narrow losses to Puerto Rico (5-3), Cuba (5-4) and South Korea (2-1)…the twin brother combination of Baltimore Orioles prospects Paco Figueroa (.500 1 HR 8 RBI 10 runs, four stolen bases) and Daniel Figueroa (.278, 9 runs) led Spain’s play and Paco remains the tournament’s leading hitter going into the weekend…Padres prospect Eric Gonzalez went 2-0 with a 2.20 ERA in his three starts.
NICARAGUA’S GONZALEZ AMONG TOP HITTERS: Nicaragua got off to a 3-0 start before dropping five of its last seven, but veteran Jimmy Gonzalez remained among one of the event’s premier hitters, with a .410 average and 5 HR and 14 RBI…Nicaragua (5-5) was one of only two countries with a .500 record not to make the final round.
MEXICO JUST MISSES: The other country at .500 that did not make the final round was Mexico, which also finished at 5-5, losing two of their final three games by one run…6-5 to Australia and 1-0 to Chinese Taipei…Mexico’s 3.68 ERA was the lowest among teams not to make the final round
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).
RECORDBREAKERS THUS FAR: The World Cup thus far has seen several team and World Cup records tied for fall. They include:
- The USA’s Justin Smoak has set the USA World Cup record with nine home runs thus far.
- Cuban pitcher Miguel Gonzalez striking 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.
- Australia pitcher and Milwaukee Brewers pitching prospect David Welch set an Australian record with 13 strikeouts in just seven innings Tuesday against Chinese Taipei.
- USA pitcher and California Angels prospect Trevor Reckling, had 11 K’s against China last Saturday, tying the team mark of pitcher Burt Hooten, who fanned 11 consecutive batters in 1970.
- USA infielder and Pittsburgh Pirates prospect Pedro Alvarez set a team mark by hitting three home runs in Thursday’s win over Chinese Taipei