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Baseball World Cup

The 28th edition of the Baseball World Cup from September 9th thru 27th 2009 is going to be a special one. Seven European countries will host the tournament of 20 teams. It is not the first time that the event is played on the old continent. Actually it is already the sixth time. But it's a premiere that there is not just one host. The two European baseball powerhouses Italy and the Netherlands will be joined in the organization by Spain, Croatia, Sweden, Germany, San Marino and the Czech Republic.

Another first is the high number of participants (20) and the playing format with three rounds determining the finalists. The first round starts with five groups à four teams with the best three of each advancing into the second round. The venues for this preliminary round are Barcelona (Spain), Zagreb (Croatia), Regensburg (Germany), Stockholm (Sweden) and Prague (Czech Republic). These 16 teams will be split into two pools, playing another round robin in the Netherlands, Italy and San Marino. The best four of each group will go into a third round, hosted by Italy, to play crossover games with the other four. The two leaders after this phase are playing the final on September 27th.

If you hear that the motherland of baseball, Team USA is the defending champion, than you may not be surprised. However the Americans, coach by legend Davey Johnson and led on the field by current American League rookie of the year favorite Evan Longoria alongside future Major League stars Andy LaRoche, Colby Rasmus, Jayson Nix and others, ended a streak of nine consecutive championships by Cuba. Their generation of Yulieski Gourriel, Yoandry Urgelles, Frederich Cepeda, Yadel Marti and company is poised for revenge. They not only lost the final 3-6 to the USA, they also were defeated by Holland in the preliminary round, showing that the gap between the baseball heavyweights and the underdogs is getting closer.

Nonetheless the favorites are still coming from North and Central America in addition to the Asian teams, who are always in consideration for the big price. In the upcoming Olympic Games in Beijing four of the eight participants are from the Far East with Japan, Korea, Taiwan and China. However at the Baseball World Cup the European teams are also looking for the surprise on home turf, with the Netherlands and Italy right in front. After looking at the results of the recent international events, we can expect two interesting weeks of baseball.

A successful tournament not only could provide a boost in the development of baseball in Europe, but also in the effort to bring the sport back to the Olympic program at the International Olympic Congress in Copenhagen (Denmark) in the fall of 2009.

These teams participate in the 2009 worldcup

Group A (Prague)

Group B (Barcelona)

Group C (Stockholm)

Group D (Zagreb)

Group E (Regensburg)

Bye for second round

Host (in bold) first, then in alphabetical order.

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