Giant Panda wants a worldly ‘Triple Crown’

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Giant Panda wants a worldly ‘Triple Crown’

World Series, Venezuelan championship, WBC title ...
Ryan Vogelsong hopes to pitch the United States into the World Baseball Classic championship game, something the Americans never have done in two tournaments. Pablo Sandoval, who backs Vogelsong with defense during the Major League Baseball season, will represent Venezuela. The World Series champions hope to be crowned world champions all over again, and this time at the San Francisco Giants’ home ballpark.
After two unsuccessful World Baseball Classics, the Americans will turn to Joe Torre to skipper them to their first final four. “I’m not sure that our players weren’t excited,” Torre said of the previous two WBC tournaments. “The guys who have played this before were excited to get back to it.”
For all the added teams and the talking points surrounding the start of this year’s World Baseball Classic, one thing holds true: two-time WBC champion Japan remains the favorite to win the prestigious international tournament.
World Baseball Classic

The internationally popular World Baseball Classic will begin Saturday and will end March 19 in the San Francisco Giants’ waterfront ballpark.

Here’s a few things to watch:

Animated crowds so different than the regular MLB supporters, complete with instruments, patriotic chants, face paint and flags. More than 1.5 million fans have attended games in the first two WBC tournaments.

This year’s field went from 16 in the previous two events to 28 countries that had a chance to qualify. The top 12 nations from the last WBC already were in, then the other four determined from 28 teams through qualifying. The WBC winner will be named world champion for the first time.

It’s now a six-game, modified double-elimination format. The inaugural 2006 Classic featured a pool-play format, while 2009 was double-elimination; this one will be a combination of both. The first round will be pool play, with the top two teams advancing. The second round is double-elimination, and the top two teams will reach the semifinals.

Americans on a mission: Team USA has yet to reach the championship game of the first two Classics.

Players will be subject to drug testing by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

San Juan, Puerto Rico, will host games for the third time at Hiram Bithorn Stadium, to be played March 7-10.

Sparkling new Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, the shared spring venue of the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies, will be on display for the world to see. The ballpark will host Pool D games between the U.S., Italy, Mexico and qualifier Canada.

Associated Press

Giant Panda wants a worldly ‘Triple Crown’

Ryan Vogelsong hopes to pitch the United States into the World Baseball Classic championship game, something the Americans never have done in two tournaments. Pablo Sandoval, who backs Vogelsong with defense during the Major League Baseball season, will represent Venezuela. The World Series champions hope to be crowned world champions all over again, and this time at the San Francisco Giants’ home ballpark.
After two unsuccessful World Baseball Classics, the Americans will turn to Joe Torre to skipper them to their first final four. “I’m not sure that our players weren’t excited,” Torre said of the previous two WBC tournaments. “The guys who have played this before were excited to get back to it.”
For all the added teams and the talking points surrounding the start of this year’s World Baseball Classic, one thing holds true: two-time WBC champion Japan remains the favorite to win the prestigious international tournament.
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