Saturday, July 25, 2009


This marks the final edition of “World Baseball Today.” After 16 months and 87 programs since November 2007, we will become “Baseball Mexico,” beginning August 2.

“Baseball Mexico” will be very similar to “World Baseball Today” in length and format, and will continue to air every Sunday at 10:30AM Eastern on Radio Miami International at 9955 kHz and online at However, there WILL be changes.

The obvious change will be the narrowing of programming focus to Mexican professional baseball. Mexico is the world’s only country in which pro ball is played all year long, and BBM will focus on both the Mexican League during the spring and summer and the Mexican Pacific League during the fall and winter, as well as Mexican players in Major League Baseball. BBM will also include features such as the “Mexican Baseball Road Trip,” in which all 24 Mexican baseball cities are profiled, histories of Mexico and Mexican baseball, and “Maestros of Mexico,” where 50 of Mexico’s most important figures in baseball (on and off the field) will be profiled.

Thanks to everyone who has followed WBT, and I hope you’ll make the move to BBM.  Our new email address is


Mark Buehrle of the Chicago White Sox tossed a perfect game Thursday, blanking the Tampa Bay Rays, 5-0, in Chicago to become the sixth pitcher in Major League Baseball history to throw a perfect game and a no-hitter in his career. He authored a 6-0 no-hitter against Texas in 2007. Ironically, Eric Cooper was the home plate umpire for both of Buehrle’s gems.

Buehrle did need a little late defensive help. Gabe Kapler drilled a ninth-inning pitch deep to left-center field, but Sox centerfielder DeWayne Wise was able to track the ball down and make a leaping catch at the fence to steal a homer and save the perfecto. Buehrle then got Jason Bartlett to hit a grounder to shortstop for the final out of the game.

The win pulled the 50-45 White Sox into a tie for first with Detroit in the American League Central Division. The 57-37 New York Yankees lead the AL East, and the 55-38 Los Angeles Angels are best in the West. In the National League, the 53-39 Philadelphia Phillies lead the East Division, the 51-46 St. Louis Cardinals lead the Central (where just two games separate the top four teams); and in the West, the 61-34 Los Angeles Dodgers are on top.


The New York Times is reporting the use of DNA testing by Major League Baseball on some Latin American prospects and their families. According to a written statement from the MLB office, DNA testing was used in the Dominican Republic “in very rare instances, and only on a consensual basis to deal with the identity fraud problem that the league faces in that country.” An MLB spokesman declined to say how many prospects have been tested.

In recent years, a number of Latin prospects have been found to be older than they claimed upon signing with Major League teams, some of whom received fairly large bonuses. According to the Times, some experts and at least one scout raised the possibility that DNA testing could also be used to predict a player’s medical future, and that baseball’s use of such information has alarmed genetics and bioethics professionals.

One of the hottest unsigned prospects in the Dominican, shortstop Miguel Sano, underwent a DNA test and a bone scan to verify that he is, indeed, 16 years old.


The Yucatan Leones and Quintana Roo Tigres began an important three-game series by splitting the first two games in a matchup of the top two teams in the Mexican League’s Southern Zone in Merida’s Estadio Kukulcan.

The Tigres won the opener, 4-1, Tuesday night by scoring one run in the top of the eighth inning and two more in the ninth. Alex Sanchez was 3-for-5 for the Tigres, scoring one run and driving in another. The Leones came back Wednesday night for a 5-4 win, thanks in no small part to a three-run homer by Luis Matos in the sixth.

With the win, the 30-16 Leones went 2.5 games ahead of the Tigres in the LMB South. In the North, the 32-13 Mexico City Diablos Rojos are seven games up on Saltillo.


Ace Yu Darvish tossed his sixth complete game win of the season to lead the Nippon Ham Fighters to a 2-1 win over the Lotte Marines Wednesday night, completing a three-game sweep and helping keep the Fighters in first place in Japan’s Pacific League standings.

The 12-3 Darvish allowed just two hits and struck out six in joining Seibu’s Hideaki Wakui as Japan’s only 12-game winners as Nippon Ham won their fifth game in a row to go to 48-32-1 on the season. The second-place Softbank Hawks kept pace by outlasting Seibu, 7-6, as Hiroki Kokubo’s tiebreaking RBI single off Lions pitcher Marcus Gwyn in the seventh was the difference-maker. Tadashi Settsu won in relief while closer Takahiro Mahara earned his 19th save of the year. Seibu fell to 42-39-3, and are currently in third place.

The Yomiuri Giants continue to lead the Central League with a 50-28-7 record, but the 51-34-1 Chunichi Dragons have been quietly closing in on the Kyojin. The Giants bopped the Yokohama BayStars, 6-2, Wednesday night as Michihiro Ogasawara hit two of Yomiuri’s four home runs to support pitcher Wirfin Obispo’s first complete game of the season. Chunichi also won Wednesday, topping the Hiroshima Carp, 3-2. Masaaki Koike’s eighth-inning single drove in Atsushi Fujii from second base with the game-winning run.


The Korea Baseball Organization’s 34th annual All-Star Game was scheduled for Saturday, July 25 in Gwangju, returning to that KBO city for the first time in eleven years.

The game is an East-versus-West affair. The West team consists of players from the Kia Tigers, Hanwha Eagles, LG Twins and the Heroes, and was managed this year by Hanwha skipper In-sik Kim. The East squad is drawn from the SK Wyverns, Doosan Bears, Lotte Giants and Samsung Lions, and was skippered by SK dugout boss Sung-geun Kim. The East led the all-time series, 21 games to 11, heading into Saturday’s contest. Seventeen first-time players were on the two All-Star rosters.

Defending champion SK leads the KBO at the All-Star Break with a 49-36-2 record, just ahead of traditional rival Doosan, who is 47-36-2. Kia holds down third place at 46-36-4 in what is now shaping up as a three-team race after the Wyverns and Bears were well ahead of the six other KBO teams for most of the season.


After holding off the La New Bears to win the Chinese Professional Baseball League’s first-half title, the defending Taiwanese champion Uni-President Lions have lost eight of the first ten games of their second-half schedule to drop into the CPBL cellar. The Lions won the first-half crown with a 34-24-2 record, just ahead of the 33-26-1 Bears.

Sinon defeated the Lions, 6-4, last Sunday to even the Bulls’ second-half record at 5-5, thanks to Da-hong Cheng’s three-run walkoff homer at Taipei County Stadium. The loss marked the first time in 19 seasons that Uni-President has dropped seven straight games as the Lions fell to 2-8 in the standings.

In other CPBL action last Sunday, the Brother Elephants pulled back into a first-place tie with the Bears following a 12-inning, 4-3 win in Tianmu. A fielding error by La New rookie Chih-ping Lin let in the winning run to snap a six-game Bears winning streak. Elephants reliever Jia-rei Mai tossed two scoreless innings to earn the win in relief as Brother avoided a three-game sweep at the hands of the Bears and moved back into a first-place tie with both teams at 6-3. The Elephants finished a distant last in the first half with a 21-38 record.


The Italian League Serie A1 playoffs began this weekend after Fortitudo Bologna and Telemarket Rimini tied for first place in the regular season standings with identical 30-12 records. However, it took a three-game sweep over Rimini by Bologna to pull Fortitudo into the deadlock.

Richard Austin socked his sixth and seventh homers of the season in last Sunday’s 7-4 Bologna victory to complete the broom job. Eddy Garabito also homered for the winners and Matthew Stocco added three RBIs as both teams gave a number of pitchers a workout as a prelude to the postseason. Defending champion T&A San Marino finished third, four games behind at 26-16, two games ahead of fourth-place Cariparma Parma, who was 24-18. Parma nudged out 23-19 Danesi Nettuno for the fourth and final playoff berth, while Montepaschi Grosseto, De Angelis GODO and Palfinger Reggio Emilia were all well out of contention.

This weekend’s best-of-3 semifinals pitted Bologna and Parma in one series, while Bologna squared off against San Marino. The winners will open the Italian Series next weekend.


DOOR Neptunus and the defending champion Amsterdam Pirates were just one game apart in the Dutch Major League standings when they opened their important three-game series last weekend in Rotterdam. However, after pulling out three wins, Neptunus is now 27-8-1 and has a four-game lead over 23-12-1 Amsterdam.

Neptunus opened the set with a 6-5 win on July 17, and followed up with a 10-8 victory on July 18 before finishing the sweep with an 8-2 triumph on July 19. As if the three straight losses weren’t bad enough for the Pirates, they now have two other Hoofdklasse teams chasing them for second place in the standings.

The Konica Minolta Pioniers took three straight games from last-place MediaMonks RCH last weekend to move into third place at 22-12-2, while Sparta/Feyenoord won two in a row over Corendon Kinheim to slide past last season’s runners-up into fourth with a 21-13-1 mark. Kinheim dropped to fifth at 21-14. Mr. Crocker HCAW, ADO and Media Monks are all out of playoff contention with a combined 25-80-3 record.