Spring is in the air! While major leaguers are working out in Florida and Arizona getting ready to play a month of meaningless tune-up games, some of them are preparing for something a little bigger – the 2013 World Baseball Classic.
According to worldbaseballclassic.com, round one of the WBC kicks off tonight in Taiwan when Australia takes on Chinese Taipei. The first pitch is scheduled for 11:30 p.m. EST here in the U.S.
The big question is can anyone defeat Japan.
The Washington Post reported on Feb. 28 that Japan is going for a three-peat in the WBC. The Japanese team topped Cuba in the inaugural Classic in 2006 and South Korea three years later.
What would make a three-peat all that more impressive this year is that team Japan doesn’t have one MLB player on their roster.
Team USA hasn't played well in the WBC, and they know it. The Americans didn’t get out of the second round back in 2006, and then lost in the semifinals to Japan three years later.
They are focused on changing that this year, and hope to end up in the championship round in San Francisco.
“We’ll probably be disappointed if we don’t make it to San Francisco,” said Giants right-hander Ryan Vogelsong, slated to be the No. 2 starter in the U.S. rotation. “First and foremost, we’re focused on getting there.”
The World Baseball Classic takes place from March 1-19 and the games will literally be played all over the world. From Fukuoka, Japan to San Juan, Puerto Rico and to the City by the Bay, this is going to be one memorable tournament.
Las Vegas odds makers have made Team USA the favorite in this year’s WBC, despite their lack of success.
2013 World Baseball Classic - Odds to Win
- USA 9/4
- Dominican Republic 13/4
- Japan 7/2
- Venezuela 7/1
- Korea 10/1
- Cuba 16/1
- Canada 22/1
- Mexico 22/1
- Chinese Tapei 25/1
- Puerto Rico 25/1
- Netherlands 33/1
- China 40/1
- Australia 66/1
- Brazil 100/1
- Italy 100/1
- Spain 200/1