Canada Completes World Baseball Classic Roster

  • February 28, 2006

OTTAWA - Baseball Canada has now filled all 30 spots on its World Baseball roster Classic after adding Ottawa outfielder Sébastien Boucher to the Canadian team late Monday. Out of Bethune-Cookman College, Boucher kicked off his professional career in a big way in 2005, quickly moving up from the Single-A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers of the Midwest league to the Double-A Inland-Empire 66ers of the California League. A contact hitter, with great speed, Boucher can ignite a team in a hurry. In 2005, Boucher had three hitting streaks of 11 games or more (11, 13, 15) as well as 44 multi-hit games. A seventh round draft pick of the Seattle Mariners in 2004, Boucher also represented Canada at the 2005 World Cup and the 2005 CONCEBE Baseball Regional Olympic Qualifier. THE WORLD BASEBALL CLASSIC The World Baseball Classic, a 16-team tournament sanctioned by the International Baseball Federation (IBAF), will run from March 3* - 20.  The inaugural event will feature many of the best players in the world competing for their home countries and territories for the first time ever.  The 16 teams invited to participate have been divided into four pools of four teams for the first round of play.  The four Round 1 pools will be play in a round robin format at venues in Japan (Tokyo Dome - Tokyo), Puerto Rico (Hiram Bithorn Stadium - San Juan) and the United States (Chase Field - Phoenix, Arizona; Scottsdale Stadium - Scottsdale, Arizona; The Ballpark at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex - Orlando, Florida).  Round 2 will feature two pools of four teams in a round robin format and is scheduled to be played in San Juan, Puerto Rico (Hiram Bithorn Stadium) and Anaheim, California (Angel Stadium).  The Semi-Finals and Final will be played at PETCO Park in San Diego, California on March 18 and 20, respectively. The World Baseball Classic will feature a bracket-style format with the 16 teams competing in four groups: Pool A - China, Chinese Taipei, Japan and Korea; Pool B - Canada, Mexico, South Africa and United States; Pool C - Cuba, Netherlands, Panama and Puerto Rico; Pool D - Australia, Dominican Republic, Italy and Venezuela. World Baseball Classic, Inc. is a company created at the direction of Major League Baseball (MLB) and the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) to operate the World Baseball Classic tournament.  The tournament, which is sanctioned by the International BAseball Federation (IBAF), is supported by MLB, the MLBPA , Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB), the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO), their respective players associations and other leagues and players from around the world.

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Lasorda to be inducted to Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame

  • February 28, 2006

St. Marys, Ontario - Tommy Lasorda's nine-year stint a half century ago when he became the winningest pitcher in the history of the International League's Montreal Royals franchise will earn him induction into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum on June 24th. Lasorda will be enshrined with three other well-deserving inductees, including fellow southpaw Ron Stead of London, Ontario, who dominated the Intercounty League, Hudson Bay, Saskatchewan native Ron Hayter, a driving force in the development of baseball in Western Canada, and Fredericton, New Brunswick's Larry McLean, who had played the most games in the Major Leagues (862) of any Canadian eligible but not yet elected to the Hall.  McLean, who died at 39 years of age in 1921, will be inducted posthumously. There were a total of 55 names on the active ballot, voted on by a 16-member panel geographically spread across Canada.  Candidates must receive a minimum of seventy-five percent (12 votes) in order to be inducted. "Besides their outstanding credentials, which speak for themselves, the attractiveness of the class of '06 is that they represent balances we strive for: generational, regional, and a balance between professional and grass roots baseball in Canada," said Hall president & CEO Tom Valcke. The 2006 Induction Ceremony will take place in beautiful St. Marys, Ontario on Saturday, June 24th at 10:00am, with the Hall's 10th Annual Celebrity Golf Classic the day before. Brief biographies on each 2006 inductee are below.  A list all inductees (by year) is attached in a virus-free MS Word document, as well as a photograph of each inductee.  For more photos, please contact the Hall of Fame (contact information below).  Tommy Lasorda is shown in the centre of his photo with Don Hoak on the left and Walt Moryn on the right. A telephone media conference for the three living inductees and the media will occur at 1:00pm EST today, Tuesday, February 28th.  Eligible media personnel may call the Hall for further information at (519) 284-1838. Ron Hayter - Born in Hudson Bay, Saskatchewan, Hayter lived and played baseball in Northern Saskatchewan and British Columbia before taking charge of Baseball Alberta in 1968.  Hayter revived the struggling provincial body, straightening out the finances and tripling the number of registered teams in just three years before stepping down in 1971 after running successfully for Edmonton City Council.  As Edmonton's longest serving City Councillor, Hayter has worked tirelessly for the development of playing facilities for amateur sport, especially baseball.  In 1993-95, he chaired a special committee which successfully negotiated and supervised the construction of a new Triple A baseball park in Edmonton, now known as Telus Field. Hayter went on to serve Baseball Canada in various capacities, from developing the first distinctively Canadian rulebook to organizing the first national championships.  He also represented Canada with the International Baseball Federation for 18 years, sitting on the Legal and Technical Commissions, and receiving the IBAF's President's Award in 1990. He was the founder and Chair, since 1979, of the Edmonton International Baseball Foundation that has organized six international baseball competitions in Edmonton, including the first-ever IBAF World Cup of Women's Baseball in 2004.   The EIBF has contributed almost a half million dollars to Baseball Canada, Baseball Alberta, and the IBAF, and has established a scholarship fund, helped finance minor baseball parks, and sponsors clinics to help players and coaches in the province of Alberta. Former Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson, inducted into the Hall in 1983, called upon Hayter as an advisor in the formation of Sport Canada.  In 1974, Hayter won the coveted Vanier Award as an "Outstanding Young Canadian" and received the Queen's Jubilee Medal in 2004 for outstanding public service. "When I heard the news, I was speechless, and to anyone who knows me, that's highly unusual!" said Hayter from his Edmonton office. "I've been involved in baseball for more than 50 years and none of it was for any personal glory - you do it for love of the game.  But being recognized in this way is a very great honour and I thank all the people who have helped me along the way." Tommy Lasorda - Born in Norristown, PA, Lasorda was signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers at the age of 20 in 1948 after Philadelphia left him unprotected from the draft.  He gained the Dodgers attention when he struck out a record 25 batters in a 15-inning game for Schenectady of the Class C Canadian-American League. Lasorda went on to win 107 games over parts of nine seasons with their top farm club, the Montreal Royals.  He pitched for Montreal from 1950-1955, and again from 1958-1960, ranks as the all-time Royals leader in wins, games pitched (251), innings pitched (1,461).  He led Montreal to five Governors' Cups (International League Championships) in 1951 through 1954, and in 1958.  His best individual season was 1958 when we compiled an 18-6 won-loss record with five shutouts, a string of 31 scoreless innings and a 2.50 ERA, easily winning the International League's Most Valuable Pitcher Award. The longest serving member of the Royals constantly experimented with new pitches to complement his above-average curve ball.  Lasorda played with loads of enthusiasm and emotion, delivering pitches with a high leg-kick.  He was a battler whose reputation around the league was that he'd send his own grandmother sprawling to the dirt if he were mad enough. Lasorda ended his Royals career in grand fashion.  In his final appearance in 1960, struggling against the Buffalo Bisons, he had loaded the bases with nobody out.  He turned his back to manager Clay Bryant, who was on the top step of the dugout poised to remove him, gazed into the sky and prayed for something - anything - to get him out of the jam.  The next batter hit a line drive that caromed off third baseman George Risley's glove into the mitt of the diving shortstop Jerry Snyder's glove.  Snyder flipped it to second and it was relayed to first to nail a pair of stray runners.  Lasorda's last pitch with the Royals resulted in a bases loaded triple play! Went on to play and then manage in the Major Leagues, winning nearly 1,600 games with the Dodgers and capturing two World Series in 1981 and 1988.  He also Managed Team USA to the Gold Medal in the 2000 Sydney Olympics. "I'm ecstatic about this wonderful news," said a surprised and elated Lasorda from Vero Beach where he is in Spring Training with the Dodgers. "I cherish the time I had in Montreal, and to be remembered and recognized 50 years later, and by another country's Hall of Fame, is an extraordinary honour.  I can't wait to come to St. Marys this summer!" Larry McLean - There was speculation that a "Big Larry" might get into the Hall this year, but the spinsters were referring to Larry Walker in hopes that the Hall would bypass the mandatory three-year waiting period after retirement due to his outstanding career.  However, given that Fergie Jenkins was not fast-tracked, the concept did not fly with the Selection Committee. John Bannerman McLean, nicknamed "Big Larry" due to his resemblance to Larry "Nap" Lajoie, was born in Fredericton, New Brunswick, and had played the most Major league games (862) of any eligible Canadian not yet inducted.  Of the 221 Canadians who have played in the Major Leagues, he stands 14th in games played, and is in the top 20 in hits (694), at bats (2,647), doubles (90), triples (26).  Standing 6'5", he is reportedly the tallest catcher in Major League history. His Major League career spanned 15 years from 1901-1915, for the Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, St. Louis Cardinals, Cincinnati Reds, and New York Giants. The Bunyanesque player did everything in a big way, including getting into trouble.  Mainly due to a lifelong battle with alcohol, McLean's career was punctuated by repeated suspensions, occasional brawls, and periodic scrapes with the law.  He played his best baseball with the Reds, for whom he batted over .285 three times.  McLean batted .500 in the 1913 World Series.  He is in the top three of almost all catching and offensive categories for Canadian Major League catchers, coupled with George Gibson and Jimmy Archer. Baseball historian Lee Allen described McLean as "big and slow, but could hit and throw." Ron Stead - Born in London, Ontario, Ron Stead is the greatest pitcher to play in the heralded Intercounty League as illustrated by his longevity and dominance.  Stead ranks first in all-time wins (104), innings pitched (1,365), strikeouts (1,231), games started (151), complete games (116), and shutouts (25).  He was a 10-time All-Star and four-time MVP (1960, '63, '65, and '67). Stead led Brantford to five consecutive league championships from 1959 through 1963 plus another in 1965.  With Guelph, they won the 1970 championship. His best individual season was 1963, when he compiled a 14-1 won-loss record and a microscopic 0.63 ERA. Stead still holds the single-season Intercounty League record for innings pitched (149 in 1960) and most strikeouts (155 in 1965). Stead was also the starting pitcher for the very first Team Canada ever assembled, in the 1967 Pan Am Games.  He turned in a strong five-hit, 10-strikeout performance over seven innings against Mexico. He was also a member of the Ontario team at the 1969 Canada Games in Halifax. The left-hander also pitched in 1957-58 for the Toronto Maple Leafs in the International League, the team who he had previously served as batboy for 10 years.  He also had amassed a 31-31 record over two seasons in the Florida State League with Orlando and Gainsville in 1956-57. "This is truly an honour and a tribute to all amateur players across Canada," said a humbled Stead from his Chatham home. "I loved every minute of my career, and this caps it all." SOURCE: Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame

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Canada Perkin’ up rotation with latest pick for World Baseball Classic

  • February 21, 2006

Baseball Canada announced, today, the addition of pitcher Vince Perkins to its World Baseball Classic team, leaving only one spot left to be filled on its 30-man roster. The 24-year-old right-hander from Saanichton, B.C. went 7-7 with a 4.03 ERA in 2005 with the AA-New Hampshire Fisher Cats of the Eastern League. Selected by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 18th round of the 2000 MLB entry draft, the 6’4”, 225-pound Perkins was recognized by Baseball America, this year, as the Toronto Blue Jays’ No. 10 prospect. A Little League team-mate of the Oakland Athletics’ Rich Harden, Perkins throws an extremely heavy fastball that clocks upwards of 96 MPH and has been described as having one of liveliest arms in the Jays’ system.  He has also received high praise for his composure and mental make-up on the mound. Perkins will be making his first-ever appearance with a Canadian national team. Robinson to replace Martin behind the plate University of Illinois standout Chris Robinson (Dorchester, Ont.) has been selected to replace catcher Russell Martin on Baseball Canada’s World Baseball Classic team. Martin elected to withdraw from the inaugural tournament in order to better represent himself at the Los Angeles Dodgers’ training camp as he competes for a spot with the major league club. Robinson hit .353 with eight homeruns, 11 doubles and three triples for the Fighting-Illini in 2005. He was just as solid defensively as he led the Big Ten with seven pick-offs and threw-out 40.4 percent of attempted base stealers, earning him All-Big Ten first team honours. A third round draft pick of the Detroit Tigers and the highest Canadian selection in the 2005 MLB entry draft, Robinson has previously represented Canada at the 2002 World Junior Championships, 2003 World Cup Qualifier and 2003 World Cup. 2006 World Baseball Classic Roster The World Baseball Classic The World Baseball Classic, a 16-team tournament sanctioned by the International Baseball Federation (IBAF), will feature many of the best players in the world competing for their home countries and territories for the first time ever in March 2006.  The 16 teams invited to participate in the event have been divided into four pools of four teams for the first round of play.  The four Round 1 pools will be played at venues in Japan (Tokyo Dome – Tokyo), Puerto Rico (Hiram Bithorn Stadium – San Juan) and the United States (Chase Field – Phoenix, Arizona; Scottsdale Stadium – Scottsdale, Arizona; Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex – Orlando, Florida). Round 2 will feature two pools of four teams each and will be played in Puerto Rico (Hiram Bithorn Stadium) and the United States (Angel Stadium – Anaheim, California). The Semi-finals and final game will be played at PETCO Park in San Diego, California.The WBC will feature a bracket-style format with the 16 teams competing in four groups: Pool A - China, Chinese Taipei, Japan, Korea; Pool B - Canada, Mexico, South Africa, United States; Pool C – Cuba, Netherlands, Panama, Puerto Rico; Pool D - Australia, Dominican Republic, Italy, Venezuela.

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Myette, Mathieson Added to Canadian World Baseball Classic Roster

  • February 13, 2006

OTTAWA – Only four days after adding pitchers Steve Green, Mike Meyers and Chris Begg to its World Baseball Classic roster, Baseball Canada added two more arms to its squad today. With the addition of right-handers Scott Mathieson and Aaron Myette, only two vacancies now remain on Canada’s official roster for the World Baseball Classic. The 21-year old Mathieson (Aldergrove, B.C.) is ranked by Baseball America as the second-best pitcher in the Philadelphia Phillies organization. Mathieson, who represented Canada at the 2005 World Cup and the 2005 CONCEBE Baseball Regional Olympic Qualifier, has continuously improved since being drafted in the 17th round of the 2002 MLB draft, gaining 30 pounds of muscle and adding 12 MPH to his fastball in addition to throwing a variety of pitches with very good control.  After going 3-8-0 with the A-Clearwater Threshers of the Florida State League in 2005, Mathieson finished in a tie for second for strikeouts in the Arizona Fall League, fanning 36 batters over 26 innings of work. Aaron Myette (New Westminster, B.C.) is also making a return to the Canadian roster after having played in the 2005 CONCEBE Baseball Regional Olympic Qualifier. The 6’4”, 230-pound right-hander has played 9 professional seasons. He has pitched in 47 major league games with the Chicago White Sox, Texas Rangers, Cleveland Indians and Cincinnati Reds, going 6-12-0 with 134 strikeouts in 154.1 innings of work. The 1998 South Atlantic League All-Star, who boasts a 59-36-20 record and a career 3.34 ERA in the minor leagues, also represented Canada at the 1995 World Junior Championships and the 2004 Olympic Games. Click here for current roster The World Baseball Classic The World Baseball Classic, a 16-team tournament sanctioned by the International Baseball Federation (IBAF), will feature many of the best players in the world competing for their home countries and territories for the first time ever in March 2006.  The 16 teams invited to participate in the event have been divided into four pools of four teams for the first round of play.  The four Round 1 pools will be played at venues in Japan (Tokyo Dome – Tokyo), Puerto Rico (Hiram Bithorn Stadium – San Juan) and the United States (Chase Field – Phoenix, Arizona; Scottsdale Stadium – Scottsdale, Arizona; Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex – Orlando, Florida). Round 2 will feature two pools of four teams each and will be played in Puerto Rico (Hiram Bithorn Stadium) and the United States (Angel Stadium – Anaheim, California). The Semi-finals and final game will be played at PETCO Park in San Diego, California.The WBC will feature a bracket-style format with the 16 teams competing in four groups: Pool A - China, Chinese Taipei, Japan, Korea; Pool B - Canada, Mexico, South Africa, United States; Pool C – Cuba, Netherlands, Panama, Puerto Rico; Pool D - Australia, Dominican Republic, Italy, Venezuela.

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Baseball Canada Announces Coaching Staff for World Baseball Classic

  • February 09, 2006

OTTAWA – Baseball Canada officially announced, today, the names of all staff members who will work with Team Canada at the World Baseball Classic, including the list of coaches who will work under field manager Ernie Whitt. Coach & General Manager – Greg Hamilton: Greg Hamilton (Ottawa, Ont.) was the primary force behind Canada’s fourth-place 2004 Olympic team – arguably the best Canadian baseball team ever put together before the World Baseball Classic – spearheading the team’s assembly though intense player and coaching staff evaluation. Much like he did for the Olympic Games and for the 2005 CONCEBE Baseball Regional Olympic Qualifier in November, Hamilton scouts hundreds of players yearly, evaluating talent from a wide array of levels including amateur, collegiate, independent, minor and major league ranks in order to assure Canada is well represented in international events. A graduate of Princeton University, Hamilton served a two-year stint as assistant coach at his alma mater before serving as general manager of the Montpellier Baseball Club, a senior Division 1 team in Montpellier France, from 1993-1997, while acting as a pitching coach for the French national team in 1994. Hamilton later served as assistant coach at the University of Maine in 1998 before being hired by Baseball Canada later that year as head coach of the national junior team and director of the national teams programs, a title he still holds today. He has won numerous awards during his coaching career including an Ivy League championship in 1991, the French Division 1 championship from 1993 to 1995, a bronze medal at the 1993 World University Games, a bronze medal at the 1995 Americas Cup Challenge and a bronze medal at the World Junior Championships in 1997, a year in which he was also named Baseball Canada coach of the year. Pitching Coach – Denis Boucher: Denis Boucher (Montréal, Qué.) makes his fourth appearance on the national team staff after having helped Canada at the 2003 Olympic Qualifier, the 2004 Olympic Games and the 2005 CONCEBE Baseball Regional Olympic Qualifier. The former left-handed pitcher spent parts of four seasons in the major leagues, compiling a 6-11 record and a 5.42 ERA in 35 games (26 starts) for Toronto, Cleveland and Montreal from 1991 to 1994. Boucher, a Team Canada member at the 1986 World Junior Championships and the 1987 Pan-Am games, is one of two Canadians (along with fellow Canadian coach Rob Ducey) to have played for both the Toronto Blue Jays and the Montreal Expos.) Coach – Tim Leiper: Tim Leiper (Ottawa, Ont.) joins Baseball Canada’s national teams program for a fourth consecutive year, having served as a coach on the 2003 Olympic Qualifying team and the 2004 Olympic Games team as well as having served as a coach at the 2005 CONCEBE Baseball Regional Olympic Qualifier. In 2005 Leiper piloted the Lynchburg Hillcats to a second-best 38-32 record in the Carolina League. A former infielder and outfielder, Leiper played 12 professional seasons and reached as high as the AAA level, playing for such teams as AAA-Toledo, AAA-Tidewater and AAA-Buffalo as well as having played in the Mexican and the Dominican Republic winter leagues. Coach – Rob Ducey: Rob Ducey (Cambridge, Ont.) is making his second international appearance as a coach after being part of the national team coaching staff at the 2005 CONCEBE Baseball Regional Olympic Qualifier. After having played with Canada’s Olympic team in Athens in 2004, Ducey spent the 2005 season as a hitting instructor for the New York-Penn League champion Staten Island Yankees and is now a scout for the Toronto Blue Jays. Ducey, who won the 1986 Tip O’Neil award as Canada’s best baseball player, played 13 major league seasons for the Toronto Blue Jays, the California Angels, the Texas Rangers, the Seattle Mariners, the Philadelphia Phillies and the Montreal Expos between 1987 and 2001. Along with Canadian pitching Coach Denis Boucher, Deucey is one of only two Canadians to have played for both the Blue Jays and the Expos. Coach – Larry Walker: Larry Walker (Maple Ridge, B.C.) has done more for Canadian Baseball than any other position player in the history of the sport. At the World Baseball Classic, the Canadian Major League record holder in almost every offensive category will add to his impressive resume as a coach for the first time on the international stage. Walker, who represented Canada at the 1984 World Junior Championships won the ‘Tip’ O’Neil award as Canada’s top baseball player a record nine times holds Canadian major league bests in games played (1988), doubles (741), stolen bases (230), at-bats (6907), runs (1355), homeruns (383) hits (2160) and RBI (1311). A career .314 batter, Walker also hold one of the best all-round season in Major League Baseball history, batting .366 with 49 homeruns, 130 RBI, 33 stolen bases and 409 total bases in 1997, earning him National League MVP honours. He is also a five time All-Star, a seven-time Gold Glove winner, a three-time Silver Slugger award winner and a three-time National League batting champion. *** In addition to the coaching staff, Baseball Canada has also finalized the list of all staff members, which will join its contingent at the World Baseball Classic. Greg O’Halloran (Toronto, Ont.) – Bullpen CatcherScott Shannon (Toronto, Ont.) – Athletic TrainerJohn Sage (Toronto, Ont.) – Athletic TrainerTommy Craig (Palm Harbor, FLA) – WBC Athletic TrainerBernie Soulliere (Windsor, Ont.) – Business/Equipment & Clubhouse ManagerKeith Sanford (Windsor, Ont.) – Equipment and Clubhouse ManagerPat Ross (Montreal, Qué.) – WBC Equipment and Clubhouse Manager Jim Baba (Ottawa, Ont.) – Delegation Chief (Director General, Baseball Canada)Ray Carter (Tsawwassen, B.C.) – President, Baseball CanadaJ.B. Hacking (Oakville, Ont.) – WBC Team Co-ordinatorJohn Brioux (Oakville, Ont.) – WBC Travel Director Luc Hébert (Ottawa, Ont.) – Manager of Media and Public RelationsHoward Starkman (Toronto, Ont.) – WBC Media Liaison Roster & Staff

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Canada Adds Trio of Pitchers to World Baseball Classic Roster

  • February 08, 2006

OTTAWA – Baseball Canada announced, today, that it has officially added pitchers Steve Green, Mike Meyers and Chris Begg to its World Baseball Classic roster. The three right-handers will join forces once again after having helped Canada to a second place finish at the 2005 CONCEBE Baseball Regional Olympic Qualifier and a spot at next year’s Olympic Qualifier in Cuba. A native of Longueuil, Qué., Green went 4-4-3 in 2005 splitting time between the AA Akron Aeros of the Eastern League and the AAA Toledo Mud Hens of the International League. A 10th round pick of the Anaheim Angels in 1997, Green is one of 18 Canadians (nine pitchers) to have only played in one Major League Baseball Game, doing so April 7, 2001. Green has also represented Canada at the 1996 World Junior Championships and the 1999 Pan-Am Games. Uxbridge Ontario’s Chris Begg was part of the Canadian team that finished in fourth place at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games. The 2001 Metro Atlantic Conference Pitcher of the Year went 8-7-0 with a 3.07 ERA for the Norwich Navigators of the Eastern League in 2005. Begg also played for Canada at the 2003 Olympic Qualifier and the 2005 World Cup. London Ontario’s Mike Meyers has played eight professional seasons since being drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 26th round of the 1997 MLB amateur draft. The 1999 Florida State League All-Star posted a 7-4-1 record in 2005, splitting time between the AA Huntsville Stars of the Southern League and the AAA Nashville Sounds where he won a Pacific Coast League Championship. Meyers has also represented Canada at the 1995 World Junior Championships, the 1999 Pan-Am Games and the 2003 Olympic Qualifier. Canada has now officially named 26 players to its 30-man roster and is currently in the process of securing player approvals in order to confirm the remaining 4 spots, which must be filled prior to the start of the tournament. Click here for current roster. Canada will play its first game against South Africa on March 7 in Scottsdale, Arizona. They will then play the United States on Wednesday, March 8th at Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona before closing out the first round against Mexico on Thursday, March 9th, also at Chase Field. The World Baseball Classic The World Baseball Classic, a 16-team tournament sanctioned by the International Baseball Federation (IBAF), will feature many of the best players in the world competing for their home countries and territories for the first time ever in March 2006.  The 16 teams invited to participate in the event have been divided into four pools of four teams for the first round of play.  The four Round 1 pools will be played at venues in Japan (Tokyo Dome – Tokyo), Puerto Rico (Hiram Bithorn Stadium – San Juan) and the United States (Chase Field – Phoenix, Arizona; Scottsdale Stadium – Scottsdale, Arizona; Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex – Orlando, Florida). Round 2 will feature two pools of four teams each and will be played in Puerto Rico (Hiram Bithorn Stadium) and the United States (Angel Stadium – Anaheim, California). The Semi-finals and final game will be played at PETCO Park in San Diego, California.The WBC will feature a bracket-style format with the 16 teams competing in four groups: Pool A - China, Chinese Taipei, Japan, Korea; Pool B - Canada, Mexico, South Africa, United States; Pool C – Cuba, Netherlands, Panama, Puerto Rico; Pool D - Australia, Dominican Republic, Italy, Venezuela.

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