Cuba Out, Classic Interest Continues

by Circles Robinson

HAVANA TIMES, March 22 — Despite Cuba being knocked out of the 2nd World Baseball Classic, interest continues on the island as the tournament is now down to two games.

“Hot corners” at different parks around the country host all day debates as to what went wrong and what’s to come, as well as discuss the chances of the remaining teams.

Last night Korea scored seven runs in the first two innings and went on to a lopsided 10-2 win over Venezuela to reach the WBC finals.

Right-hander Suk-Min Yoon pitched 6 1/3 strong innings to get the win for Korea while Carlos Silva was battered for five runs in the first inning and took the loss.

It was one more sign that Asian baseball is at its peak and has surpassed the different teams of the Americas. Korea also won the 2008 Bejing Olympics gold medal.

Cuba’s nemesis, Japan, which beat it twice and outscored it 11-0, now plays Team USA in the other semifinal game on Sunday.

Roy Oswalt will start for the Americans against Daisuke Matsuzaka, MVP of the 2006 Classic.

The winner of the USA-Japan clash plays Korea on Monday for the World Baseball Classic II championship.

US Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig announced Saturday that the third WBC will take place in March 2013.

Plans being discussed for the next Classic include the possibly of increasing the number of participating teams to 24 with qualifying rounds to reach the main competition.

The 16-team Cuban Baseball League, interrupted for the Classic, resumes play with a full schedule on Friday March 27th. With a third of the 90-game season left to play Villa Clara is leading the Eastern Division and Habana tops the West.

To read more about Cuba in the World Baseball Classic click on Peter C. Bjarkman’s Havana Times WBC Diary: