Saturday, May 30, 2009


When umpire Mark Carlson tossed Chicago Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano out of a Major League Baseball game last Wednesday against Pittsburgh, the show was only beginning. Zambrano was ejected for vehemently objecting to Carlson’s call on a close play at home plate. After Carlson gave him the thumb, Zambrano mockingly gave Carlson the thumb, threw the ball into center field, tossed his glove to the infield, and then battered an unarmed soft drink dispenser in the Cubs dugout before Chicago manager Lou Piniella was able to get Zambrano to go to the locker room.

As a result, Zambrano was suspended for six games for what MLB’s Bob Watson termed “inappropriate and violent actions on the field and in the dugout.” Zambrano will not appeal the decision. Piniella (who is not exactly the shy, retiring type himself) agreed with the suspension, saying, “This is not the WWF…this is professional baseball.” Thanks for noticing, Lou.


When the Brockton Rox of the independent Can-Am League took the field for their season opener against the Sussex Skyhawks last Thursday night, history was made. The Rox pitching coach this season is Justine Siegal, the first woman ever to coach a men’s professional baseball team.

A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Siegal has a varied background in baseball, including a stint coaching with Springfield College’s men’s team in Massachusetts this spring. She is married with an 11-year-old daughter, who will travel with her on road trips this summer.

Siegal was hired by the Rox on May 4. Team owner Van Schley said, “The doctrine of professional baseball is going to undergo an alteration.” Brockton manager Chris Carminucci says “It absolutely does not matter to me that she is a woman. I needed to fill out my coaching staff.”


One of two berths in this season’s Cuban National Series championship series has been taken. Villa Clara defeated Ciego de Avila, 2-1, last Monday night to take their Oriental Division final series by a 4 games to 1 margin. Villa Clara won the first three games of the series before Ciego de Avila put up an 8-2 win in Game 4 to stay alive. However, Villa Clara sealed the deal Monday when rookie Ramon Lunar whacked a walk-off homer in the bottom of the ninth.

The question remains as to who Villa Clara will square off against in the title set. La Habana leads Pinar del Rio in the Occidental Division finals, 3 games to 2, but unusual steady rainfall over the past week has been keeping that series from wrapping up. La Habana’s Ernesto Molinet’s three-run homer keyed a 6-1 win over Pinar del Rio on May 23, the last game played before the rains arrived.


The first half of the Mexican League’s 2009 season is in the history books. The Mexico City Diablos Rojos slipped past the Reynosa Broncos on the final day of the first-half schedule to win the Northern Division title with a 32-18 record, a half-game up on 31-18 Reynosa. Mexico City earned eight points for finishing first while Reynosa collected seven. The Mexican League uses a points system over both halves of their season to determine playoff seeding.
In the LMB South, Quintana Roo cruised to the first half crown with a 35-15 mark, three games ahead of second-place Yucatan, who finished at 32-18. The second half schedule is underway.


Eight national teams converged in Bangkok last week for the 2009 Asian Cup tournament. The teams were split up into two groups for round robin play in the first stage of competition, with the top two teams in each group advancing to the semifinal round.

Pakistan won the Group A title with a perfect 3-0 record, including a 9-4 upset over host Thailand. Sri Lanka also surpised the Thais, 3-1, on the opening day of competition, and went on to finish second in Group A at 2-1. Thailand was third at 1-2, and Malaysia was winless in three games.

Indonesia finished first in the Group B round-robin with three wins, and their 7-2 victory over Hong Kong on May 27 clinched a spot in the Cup final. Hong Kong was second at 2-1, Myanmar was third at 1-2 and Cambodia brought up the rear of Group B at 0-3.

In the crossover semifinals, Pakistan beat Hong Kong, 7-2, followed by Indonesia’s 7-4 win over Sri Lanka. Indonesia then took a come-from-behind win over Pakistan, 2-1, in the final by scoring twice in the eighth inning. Cambodia won their first-ever international tournament game with a resounding 20-8 consolation win over Malaysia (despite Cambodia 's Joe Cook having to manage the team via cell phone from Alabama because he couldn't make the trip to Bangkok), while Thailand shut out Myanmar, 5-0, in the other consolation game.


The Korea Baseball Organization’s All-Star Game fan balloting began last week and will run through June 17. Fans in Korea can vote at all seven KBO ballparks, online or by cell phone.

Voters will select ten players from a group nominated by the four “Eastern” teams, including the SK Wyverns, Doosan Bears, Lotte Giants and Samsung Lions. Similarly, ten players will be picked from a group nominated by the KBO’s four “Western” teams: Hanwha Eagles, Kia Tigers, LG Twins and the sponsorless Seoul Heroes. The managers for the two All-Star squads, SK’s Sung-geun Kim and Hanwha’s In-sik Kim, will each choose ten additional players after fan balloting is concluded. The All-Star game will take place July 25 at Gwangju’s Mudeung Stadium, home of the Kia Tigers.

In the KBO standings, the defending champion Wyverns are out in front with a 29-14-4 record. Doosan is second at 25-16-2, Kia is third with a 23-21-3 mark, and LG is fourth at 22-22-3.


Following an offseason that featured a gambling scandal and the reduction of two teams, the folks running Taiwan’s Chinese Professional Baseball League can be forgiven if they breathe a collective sigh of relief now that attention on their league is centered on a tight pennant race.

The defending champion Uni-President Lions and the La New Bears have been swapping the lead in the CPBL standings all season, with the Sinon Bulls staying in the mix. Only the Brother Elephants appear to be out of contention, although you can never say “never” in baseball.

The Lions topped the Bulls, 7-5, May 25 to pull to a 22-16-2 record while Sinon fell to 20-18-2. Uni-President third baseman Jose Castillo went 2-for-5 with a double and three RBIs. Castillo, who played for the San Francisco Giants and Houston Astros last season, came to the Lions in early May after failing to stick with the Washington Nationals this spring.

One night later, the Bears lost to the Elephants, 6-4, in front of over 7,000 fans. Brother’s Chia Chia hit a homer with three RBIs to lift his team to a 14-26-1 mark while the Bears fell to 21-17-1.


After getting a considerable amount of attention when one of their teams signed and pitched a 17-year-old female knuckleballer, Japan’s Kansai Independent Baseball League is struggling to survive.

Eri Yoshida made her debut for the Kobe 9 Cruise on March 27, becoming the first woman to play in a Japanese men’s pro game. Since then, the Kansai League has struggled mightily to make ends meet financially. The four teams are forming a company and taking over the league from Stella, Incorporated, who formed the league but has defaulted on distributing revenues. The matter will end up in court. Supposedly, the Kansai League will expand to five teams next year. We’ll see.

And Yoshida? She’s been shelved by a sore shoulder and hasn’t pitched since her debut.


The Amsterdam Pirates took two out of three games in their series last week with Mr. Crocker HCAW, and hold a 3.5-game lead over DOOR Neptunus and the Konica Minolta Pioniers in Dutch Major League baseball. The Pirates are 17-4, while both Konica Minolta and Neptunus are 12-6-1.

Amsterdam and Mr. Crocker were tied at one game apiece in their series before the Pirates won the rubber match, 7-2, last Sunday. The Pirates registered a 7-5 win in the opener as leadoff hitter Wesley Connor racked up five hits. Mr. Crocker’s Joey Eijpe won a 3-2 pitcher’s duel against Amsterdam’s Adam Blackley in Game 2, setting up the series finale one day later.

Konica Minolta didn’t fare nearly as well in the series with Corendon Kinheim, losing three in a row to last year’s second-place team. Corendon won the opener, 4-2, as Dave Bergman allowed two runs on two hits in seven innings and swamped the Pioniers, 13-3, in the second game before completing the sweep with a 7-1 win last Sunday. Ryan Murphy tossed a complete-game two-hitter and hit a three-run homer for Corendon.

DOOR Neptunus moved into a tie for second with Konica Minolta by taking three in a row from MediaMonks RCH by an average score of 11-2, including a 14-0 shutout shortened by the mercy rule.


The defending German Baseball League champion Regensburg Buchbinder Legionaere have picked up where they left off in 2008, snapping up a pair of wins last weekend against the Saarlouis Hornets to stretch their perfect record to 16-0 in the current Bundesliga season. Needless to say, Regensburg is on top of the German League’s South Division standings.

Mike Heaney’s bases-loaded triple in the top of the ninth gave the Legionaere a 7-6 come-from-behind win in the May 22 opener. Whitney Pierce cracked a two-run homer for Regensburg in the game, while Ludwig Glaser homered and drove in four runs for the Hornets.

One day later, it was all Eddie Aucoin, who tossed the first no-hitter of the German season for Regensburg in a 5-0 whitewashing. Aucoin struck out nine and walked none, but hit two Saarlouis batters en route to the first no-no since Solingen’s Enorbel Marquez-Ramirez threw one last year.

Speaking of Marquez-Ramirez, he threw an 11-strikeout shutout for Solingen on May 24 against the Dortmund Wanderers. The Alligators gave Marquez-Ramirez more than enough support with seven third-inning runs as Solingen ran their North Division-leading record to 16-2.


The Rouen Huskies and Savigny Lions are 1-2 in the French Elite League standings thus far in 2009, and that’s how they finished in the 12-team Challenge de France tournament.

The two teams first crossed paths during first round pool play, with Rouen routing Savigny by a 15-1 score on May 22 in Montpellier. In Pool A play, the Senart Templiers went a perfect 3-0 to qualify for the final four, while the La Guerche Hawks came in second in the pool at 2-1.

The semifinals were held May 23, with Savigny eliminating Senart, 4-1, and Rouen tripling up on La Guerche, 6-2. The title game went to Rouen, who topped Savigny by a 7-5 count. By winning the Challenge de France, Rouen gets an automatic berth in next year’s European Cup. The other slot from the French Elite League will be filled by this year’s pennant winners.


AVG Draci Brno has moved into sole possession of first place in the Czech Extraleague standings by slipping past Technika Brno, 8-6, last Wednesday night to go to 14-2 on the season. The game was a lot closer than Draci is used to playing, since the team has been winning by an average score of 10-3 over 16 games. Technika dropped out of a tie for first with Draci, and is now second in the eight-team Extraleague at 13-3.

Brno’s third Extraleague team, the Brno Express, was surprised by seventh-place Liberac, 3-2, Wednesday night. The Express are in third at 9-7, making it effectively a two-horse race at the top.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


When Edwin Jackson came to Detroit in the offseason, the Tigers knew the former Tampa Bay pitcher would be a solid addition to their starting rotation. The 25-year-old Jackson proved as much May 21 as he battled to a 3-2 home win over the Texas Rangers at Comerica Park.

Jackson fought his way through an eight-inning, 132-pitch effort for Detroit’s sixth consecutive win, which gave the Tigers a 23-16 record and a three-game lead over the Kansas City Royals in the American League Central Division standings. Miguel Cabrera’s RBI single in the bottom of the eighth gave Detroit a 3-2 lead, and Fernando Rodney held the Rangers scoreless in the ninth to save the win.

Elsewhere in the American League, Toronto still leads the East Division at 27-16. Boston is second at 24-16, and the New York Yankees have won eight straight to improve to 23-17. In the AL West, Texas is still on top at 23-17 despite losing to Detroit, while the Los Angeles Angels are 20-19.


After missing most of April with a ribcage injury, Milwaukee reliever Trevor Hoffman is back in the Brewers bullpen, and the National League Central Division leaders have benefitted. Hoffman tossed his sixth consecutive 1-2-3 inning Tuesday night in Milwaukee’s 4-2 win over Houston at Miller Park, giving the Brewers their seventh straight win and 21st in their past 26 outings.

Hoffman, who came to Wisconsin from San Diego in the offseason, is 10-for-10 in save opportunities this year. He has retired 19 consecutive batters and 23 of the past 24 hitters he’s faced since April 30. His May 19 save against Houston preserved the win for Dave Bush, who is now 3-0.

The Brewers are 25-15 and lead the NL Central by two games over 23-17 St. Louis. In the East, Philadelphia is on top at 22-17 despite losing 12 of 20 home games. The Los Angeles Dodgers have baseball’s best record at 29-13, well ahead of 19-20 San Francisco in the NL West table.


Santiago de Cuba will not repeat as Cuban National Series champions this spring. Santiago’s hopes for a third straight pennant crashed when they were beaten by Villa Clara in their Oriental Division semifinal series.

Villa Clara now leads regular season champion Ciego de Avila, 2 games to 0, in the Oriental final series. Ariel Borrero homered in both games as Villa Clara took 8-0 and 8-3 wins. Game Two was tied 3-3 in the top of the eleventh before Villa Clara scored five times and held on for the victory.

La Habana and Pinar del Rio are tied at a game apiece in the Occidental Division finals. Pinar won the opener, 3-0, behind Rafael Vales’ two-run homer before La Habana won Game Two, 7-4.


Veteran Mexican League slugger Carlos Sievers crashed two homers and drove in three runs to pace the Quintana Roo Tigres’ 8-3 win over the Oaxaca Guerreros on May 20. Tigres starter Pablo Ortega’s record rose to 7-2 as Quintana Roo stretched their record to a Liga-best 32-14, good for a three-game lead over 29-17 Puebla in the South Division.

Mexico City and Reynosa are tied for the LMB North lead at 30-16. The Diablos lost to Saltillo, 8-7, on May 20 as the Saraperos’ Refugio Cervantes recorded two homers and five RBIs. Reynosa beat Monterrey, 2-0, the same night as starter Felix Diaz and three relievers combined for the shutout.


Interleague play is underway in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball, with both league leaders colliding in Sapporo. The Pacific League-leading Nippon Ham Fighters defeated the Central League-topping Yomiuri Giants, 6-5, on May 20. The game was tied at 4-4 when the Fighters’ Shinji Takahashi cracked a leadoff homer in the sixth inning and pinch-hitter Luis Jimenez followed with a roundtripper of his own to put Nippon Ham ahead for good. Both homers came off Giants starter Seth Greisinger, whose record dropped to 5-3 with the loss.

Nippon Ham is now 25-14-0 and 2.5 games ahead of second-place Rakuten in the Pacific League. The 22-16-0 Eagles kept pace with a 2-0 shutout over the Yakult Swallows. Rakuten pitcher Masahiro Tanaka ran his record to 6-0 with a two-hitter for his third shutout of the season.

Despite their loss to the Fighters, Yomiuri held steady at the top of the Central League standings with a 25-12-3 mark, 2.5 games ahead of 22-14-0 Yakult. The third-place Chunichi Dragons missed a chance to move up a game by losing to the Seibu Lions, 2-1, in 10 innings. Hiroyuki Nakajima’s RBI single won the game for Seibu. Nakajima also homered in the fourth frame.


Just as the Korea Baseball Organization is in the process of cracking down on the use of performance-enhancing drugs among domestic players, an ex-KBO player’s new book is creating a stir with allegations of steroid use and pitch-tipping among former teammates and opponents.

Thirteen-year KBO veteran Hae-young Ma, who retired from the Lotte Giants last year, has released a memoir called “Yagu Bonsaek,” which roughly translates to “The True Colors of Baseball.” In his book, the Busan native reveals he witnessed fellow Korean players taking PEDs, and also tipping each other off to pitch selections during games. Ma said, “Whenever a foreign player was seen taking something, a domestic player would go up to the player and ask what he was taking and some would try it out of curiosity.” On pitch-tipping, Ma said most domestic players from Korea’s system of prep, college and pro baseball are familiar with each other, and would tip off what pitches were coming as favors to their friends. The book is the first of its kind written by a retired Korean athlete.

On the field, the defending champion SK Wyverns lead the KBO with a 27-10-4 record after beating the Samsung Lions, 3-2, on May 19. The Doosan Bears are second at 22-13-2, followed by the Kia Tigers in third. Kia has a 21-17-3 mark.


Two teams are in a virtual tie for first place in Taiwan’s Chinese Professional Baseball League, with a third club just one game behind the leaders.

The Sinon Bulls are 19-14-1 after pulling out a 5-3 win over the Uni-President Lions in Tienmu on May 16. Yu-jeh Shen came out of the bullpen to toss five innings of shutout ball for Sinon, who got 3-for-5 nights from Jien-ming Chang and Yi-chuan Lin at the plate. The Lions fell out of first place into third, and are now 18-15-1.

The La New Bears beat the Brother Elephants, 4-2, in front of a sellout crowd of nearly 20,000 fans in Kaohsiung County Stadium. The game featured a showdown between two former Major Leaguers. Brother pitcher Chin-hui Tsao struck out the Bears’ Chin-fong Chen in the fourth inning, but Chen got the last laugh with a sixth-inning homer. La New is 19-14-0, while Brother is now 11-24-0.


The Batangas Bulls continue to beat a tattoo on their Baseball Philippines competition this spring. The Bulls destroyed the Manila Sharks, 17-1, on May 17 as starter Vladimir Eguia earned the win with five shutout innings. Eguia got all the help he needed from teammate Vio Roxas, who had three hits (including a homer) and three RBIs as the Bulls scored 13 runs in the sixth inning.

Batangas is now 8-0 for the season, well ahead of the 4-2 Cebu Dolphins, who lost to Alabang, 8-7, on May 18 when the Tigers scored three times in the ninth for the comeback win.


Telemarket Rimini swept a three-game series from De Angelis Godo to hold on to their tenuous one-game lead over Fortitudo Bologna in the Italian Serie A1 standings. Rimini finished the sweep last weekend with an 8-0 shutout of Godo as starter Sandy Petrone pitched six innings for the win, scattering six hits and a walk while striking out ten De Angelis batters. Danny Gonzalez highlighted a six-run seventh inning for Rimini with a grand slam as the winners went to 14-4 for the season.

Hot on Telemarket’s heels are the 13-5 Bolognese. After starting the season 3-5, Fortitudo has won eight straight games, including a three-game sweep of the Montepaschi Grosseto Orioles last weekend. Bologna popped Grosseto, 11-1, in a mercy rule-shortened seven-inning game last Saturday as Yulman Ribeiro pitched a six-hitter over seven frames for the complete game win. Fortitudo wrapped up the series in the nightcap with a 11-6 win over the Orioles. Eddy Garabito had a perfect night at the plate, going 4-for-4 with four runs scored for Bologna.

Danesi Nettuno is in third place at 11-7 after winning the last two games of their weekend series with defending champion T&A San Marino. Nettuno scored all eight runs in the eighth inning in their 8-1 win over San Marino on May 16. Abraham Nunez, Dewis Navarro and Ennio Retrosi each drove in two runs. Danesi wrapped up the set with a 5-1 win as Retrosi had two more RBIs.


The Puerto Cruz Marlins have won their first 18 games of the 2009 Spanish Division de Honor season. Last weekend, the Marlins had to work for two wins over the Viladecans.

In the May 16 opener in Caledonia, Puerto Cruz needed three runs in the top of the ninth to pull out a 5-2 win as Daniel Sanchez broke a 2-2 tie with a two-run triple. Leslie Nacar got the win on the mound for Puerto Cruz, and is now 8-0. The Marlins came back one day later to cop an 8-4, but this one wasn’t easy. The Viladecans got off to a 4-0 lead, thanks in part to a bases-loaded triple by Oscar Angulo in the third. Puerto Cruz fought back and eventually took the lead with a five-run eighth. Daniel Martinez reached base all five times he came to the plate, including four walks.

FC Barcelona earned a split of an important two-game series with Sant Boi to maintain second place at 13-3, while Sant Boi dropped to 13-5. Sant Boi won the opener, 7-3, as William Domero stroked a three-run homer in the third for the victors. Barca came back to win the second contest, 8-3, behind the four hits of Albert Diaz. Pedro Belmonte went the distance to go to 6-0 for Barcelona.


While it’s never a good idea to take your eyes off the Antwerp Royal Greys if you’re a Belgian baseball fan, the Namur Angels and Hoboken Pioneers are doing a good job of taking attention away from the defending champions.

Although Antwerp is a reasonably solid third in the Belgian League standings at 7-4 after a somewhat indifferent start, it’s Namur and Hoboken who are threatening to pull away from the rest of the eight-team pack. Namur took 15-2 and 13-5 wins last weekend over the hapless Brussels Kangaroos to keep their winning streak alive at 10 games, and the Angels now lead the league at 10-1 after losing their opening contest. Hoboken kept pace with a couple of impressive shutout wins over The Merchtem Cats, 6-0 and 10-0, last week. They’ve won five in a row en route to a 9-2 record.

Namur may be on top of the table, but Hoboken is +80 in runs differential to the Angels’ +62.


Good news, bad news for the British National League’s Croydon Pirates: The good news is that the Pirates have gotten their act together to continue playing this season. The bad news is that they dropped two games to the Richmond Flames last weekend, 20-4 and 17-4, to fall to 0-6 for 2009. With the double win, Richmond now leads the league with a 6-2 record.

Croydon hosts the 4-4 London Mets this week, while the Flames visit the 4-2 Bracknell Blazers, who split two games with the 4-4 Herts Falcons last weekend.

Saturday, May 16, 2009


When Washington Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman went 0-for-3 in a May 13 game in San Francisco, it marked the end of his 30-game hitting streak (longest in Major League Baseball so far this year). Appreciative Giants fans gave Zimmerman a standing ovation following his final plate appearance of the night.

The 24-year-old Zimmerman entered the current season in the best shape of his life after a strict offseason regimen, and is now batting .357 with eight homers and 26 RBIs this year.

Zimmerman’s bat hasn’t helped lift his team out of the National League East cellar. The Nats are 11-21, well behind the 18-15 New York Mets. There’s a tight race in the NL Central, with 21-14 Milwaukee holding a half-game lead over Chicago, Houston and St. Louis, who are all 20-14. Out West, the Los Angeles Dodgers are on top with a 24-14 mark, but will have to play 50 games without outfielder Manny Ramirez, who’s been suspended for performance enhancing drug use...just Manny being Manny, apparently.


A.J. Burnett received a lot of headlines in the offseason when he signed a five-year, $82.5 million contract with the New York Yankees, but Toronto’s Roy Halladay showed why Burnett was the Number Two starter when both were with the Jays last year by tossing a complete-game 5-1 win over the Yanks on May 12 at the Rogers Centre in a matchup of former moundmates.

Halladay raised his record to 7-1 by scattering five New York hits with no walks, working his way through 17 consecutive batters without allowing a hit at one point. For his part, Burnett saw his record fall to 2-1 by letting in five runs on seven hits and four walks in 7.2 frames.

With the win, the Blue Jays held on to their American League East lead at 23-13, one game up on 21-13 Boston. Kansas City leads the AL Central at 18-16, just ahead of 17-16 Detroit and 18-17 Minnesota. Texas leads the West with a 20-14 record, while the Los Angeles Angels are 17-15.


Alexei Bell’s Cuban National Series record of 31 homers in a season didn’t last long…Just one year, in fact. Alfredo Despaigne finished this winter’s regular season with 32 homers for Granma, and also won the Cuban RBI title with 97. He missed out on the Triple Crown, though, as Isla de la Juventud’s Michel Enriquez batted .401. Among pitchers, Pinar del Rio’s Yuniesky Maya led the league with 13 wins, while La Habana’s Yadier Pedroza’s 1.91 ERA was tops.

In playoff action, La Habana and Pinar del Rio are meeting in the Occidental Division finals, while Ciego de Avila will play either Villa Clara or Santiago de Cuba in the Oriental Division finals.


The Reynosa Broncos have won five straight games to overtake the Mexico City Diablos Rojos for the top position in the Mexican League’s North Division with a 27-13 record. The 27-14 Diablos had won eight straight contests themselves before dropping two in a row. The Saltillo Saraperos have taken five wins in a row themselves, but trail the Broncos by five games at 22-18. In the LMB South, the 29-11 Quintana Roo Tigres have Mexico’s best record and lead the division by four games.

Monterrey outfielder Edgar Quintero is off to a torrid start with a .447 batting average, while Chihuahua’s Jacob Cruz leads the Liga with 13 homers and 46 RBIs despite “only” hitting .380.


What had been a momentous season for Orix Buffaloes outfielder Karl “Tuffy” Rhodes took a turn for the worse when he suffered a broken hand May 13 after being hit by a pitch from Seibu’s Tomoki Hoshino during an 8-3 loss to the Lions. Rhodes, who was batting .327 with 11 homers in 32 games, joins first baseman Alex Cabrera on the Buffaloes’ sideline. Cabrera has a broken toe. In 2008, Rhodes and Cabrera combined to slam 76 homers and drive in 222 runs for Orix.

Earlier this season, Rhodes became the first import player to reach hit 450 career homers in Japanese baseball. Orix is in last place in the Pacific League with a 14-20 record after losing six games in a row through last Wednesday.

The Nippon Ham Fighters and Rakuten Eagles are battling for first place in the PL, with the Fighters leading the table at 21-13, one game ahead of the 20-14 Eagles. In the Central League, the Yomiuri Giants are a Japan-best 23-10-2, and hold a comfortable four-game bulge over second-place Yakult, who are 18-13.


The Korea Baseball Organization has announced it will begin testing its foreign players for banned substances. According to the JoongAng Daily, the KBO did not say when the testing would begin or how often it would take place.

Although the KBO has never tested import players, the league began testing domestic players in 2007. It conducted a random urine test of three players from each of the league’s eight teams in 2007, and did the same twice last year for a total of 72 players tested in a two-year period. The KBO claims none of the players tested positive for any performance-enhancing drugs, but they are planning to increase the number of domestic players tested to five per team while upping the frequency of tests during the season to three.

One past KBO star whose name comes up when the use of steroids is discussed is former Doosan Bears pitcher Daniel Rios. Rios regularly reached double-figure win totals before exploding for a 22-5 record and a 2.07 ERA in his MVP season of 2007. Rios signed with Japan’s Yakult Swallows for 2008, but was released in June of last year upon being suspended by Nippon Professional Baseball after testing positive for anabolic steroids.


But what have you done for me lately?

The Taiwan Baseball blog reports that defending Chinese Professional Baseball League champion Uni-President Lions have released third baseman Rico Washington after the 30-year-old Milledgeville, Georgia native had made all of 86 plate appearances. Washington appeared to have been doing his job. He was hitting .297 for the Lions, while leading all third sackers in Taiwan in on-base percentage and slugging percentage. In the field, he was performing well enough to fill in effectively at shortstop when the need arose.

Although team officials mentioned Washington’s previous injuries as the reason for releasing him, those injuries didn’t prevent them from signing him in the offseason after hitting .254 with 13 homers for Memphis of the Class AAA Pacific Coast League prior to making his big league debut with the St. Louis Cardinals, where he hit .158 in 14 games.


The Batangas Bulls took two games last weekend from the Taguig Patriots to bring their Baseball Philippines Series 5 record to 6-0 this spring. The Bulls beat Taguig, 5-4, in 12 innings in the opener on JoJo Apura’s game-winning RBI single, then crushed the Patriots, 7-1, one day later as Virgilio Roxas cracked his 11th career homer, most in BP’s two-year history.

The Manila Sharks are in second place with a 4-1 record, while the Cebu Dolphins are third at 3-1. The Dumaguete Uni-bikers lead the second division with a 2-3 mark, the Alabang Tigers are 1-5 and Taguig fell to 0-6 after the Batangas series. The Patriots are allowing over eight runs per game.


Claudio Liverziani of Foritudo Bologna became the seventh player in Italian League history to collect 1,000 or more hits in his career. The 34-year-old Liverziani reached the four-digit mark in a recent game against Palfinger Reggio Emilia by singling against former Boston Red Sox pitcher Abe Alvarez, who earned a 2004 World Series ring with the BoSox.

Liverziani made his Italian Series 1A debut with Novara in 1991 at age 16, and later spent two seasons in the Seattle Mariners organization in the late Nineties. After returning to Italy in 1999, the first baseman-outfielder played for four pennant winners, twice with Rimini and twice with Bologna. He’s also played for Italy’s National Team in three Olympic Games, three European Championships, the 2001 Baseball World Cup and the 2006 World Baseball Classic. Italy’s all-time hits leader, 44-year-old Roberto De Francheschi of De Angeles Godo, is at 1,514 safeties and counting.

Telemarket Rimini is still on top of the Italian League standings at 11-4, but Bologna is now just a game behind at 10-5 after reeling off five straight wins.


The defending Dutch Major League champion Amsterdam Pirates swept a three-game series against DOOR Neptunus last weekend to maintain their leadership of the Hoofdklasse standings. The Pirates opened with a 9-6 win as Kenny Berkenbosch and Pavel van Zaane combined for seven hits and four runs. Australian pitcher Adam Blackley allowed just one earned run over six innings to help Amsterdam to a 4-2 win in the second game, and the Pirates made it a clean sweep with a 5-4 win on May 10 with van Zaane going 3-for-3 with two runs and an RBI. Amsterdam is now 13-2 for the year.

Neptunus started the weekend one game out of first and ended in third place after being passed by the Konica Minolta Pioniers, who took all three games of their series with the last place MediaMonks RCH. The Pioniers cruised to a 14-0 pounding of MediaMonks in the opener as starter Ryan Murphy pitched seven scoreless innings and helped his own cause at the plate with three RBIs. Konica Minolta won the next two games by identical 6-5 scores to stretch their winning streak to five games while bringing their season record to 10-3-1, two games ahead of 8-5-1 Neptunus.


It’s a good thing for the Rouen Huskies that they’ve built a five-game winning streak, because they’ve had to keep winning to hold the lead in the French League standings while the Sevigny Lions have built their own four-game streak to stay within percentage points of the defending champions.

Rouen put together a pair of wins over the La Guerche Hawks last weekend, 5-2 and 13-10, to bring their record to 9-1 for the season. With a winning percentage of .900, the Huskies are barely ahead of 10-2 Sevigny, who are in a virtual tie for the French lead with Rouen but trail in winning percentage at .833. Any way you look at it, this is a close race.

Sevigny helped themselves with a pair of wins against Stade Toulousain last weekend, 9-5 and 9-2. The third place Montpelier Barracudas have quietly built a 6-3 record after sweeping both ends of their road doubleheader against the Montigny Cougars, 8-5 and 7-5. The Barracudas are a game-and-a-half ahead of 6-6 La Guerche.


Although this small island nation west of Italy isn’t a place one would expect Alexander Cartwright’s game to be played, Malta has had its own domestic baseball league since 1994. The 16th season of Maltese baseball came to a conclusion earlier this month, as the Mellieha Northenders won their fifth pennant in six years (and eighth overall) by defeating the Marsa Mustangs in their three-game final series. The Northenders won the third and deciding contest, 11-1, as first baseman Keith Bartolo homered and drove in four runs for the winners.

Mellieha pounded their way to a 12-0 record in the regular season. Marsa won the title series opener, 15-14, before Mellieha won the last two to cop the flag.

Sunday, May 10, 2009


Next month’s annual First-Year Player Draft will be broadcast live on the MLB Network, according to Major League Baseball. The draft begins at 6PM Eastern Time on Tuesday, June 9, and the first day will be held at MLB Network’s faux-ballpark studio named after Jackie Robinson in Secaucus, New Jersey. This year, the draft is being expanded from two to three days, with the final two days to be held via conference call at MLB headquarters in New York.

After MLB Network broadcasts the first round of the draft live, the website will air a live video stream from Studio 42 for the rest of Day One’s selections, starting with the first compensation round (which begins with the 33rd pick). will provide comprehensive coverage of the final two days online.

It is widely expected that the Washington Nationals will take San Diego State junior pitcher Stephen Strasburg with the first overall selection.


On Sunday, May 3, the first all-women’s college baseball game since 1900 was scheduled to be played at Springfield College in Massachusetts. Athletes from at least twelve colleges and universities were slated to converge in Springfield for the first women’s college baseball game since Alabama College played Georgia College in March, 1900.

The May 3 contest, dubbed the “Friendship Game” by organizers, was to involve over 25 players from such New England schools as MIT, Brown, Bates, the University of Massachusetts and Boston University, as well as Springfield College. Among the players expected were Team USA veteran Karen Costes and Australian Christal Fitzgerald, who is presently the only woman playing men’s college varsity baseball at Daniel Webster College. The game was set to be played on a regulation diamond, going seven innings and following all NCAA baseball rules and regulations.


Although baseball has been discontinued at the Olympic Games, Olympic baseball is alive and well at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. The museum opened its “Olympic Baseball” exhibit on May 1 and will keep artifacts on display through January of next year.

Among the items are a USA cap and jersey worn by catcher Herman Goldberg, one of six Jewish American athletes at the 1936 Olympics in Nazi Germany, a ball from the first ballgame in the 1984 Olympics (in which baseball was finally played as a medal sport), and a gold medal given to USA pitcher Jim Abbott, who tossed a complete game seven-hitter in the 1988 title game against Japan.

While baseball has been dropped for the 2012 Olympics in London, it may return in 2016.


The Monterrey Sultanes are celebrating their 70th season this year, and Mexican baseball’s own hall of fame is honoring the team with a display. The Salon de la Fama in Monterrey will have an exhibit centered on the Sultanes through September. A press conference announcing the display included Salon director Jesus Alberto Flores Saucedo and Sultanes president Jose Maiz Garcia, himself a member of the Salon since 2002.

The Sultanes played their first game on May 20, 1939 against the Monclova Acereros.


The man generally regarded as the greatest catcher in Japanese baseball history has reached a milestone that helps establish him as one of the country’s greatest managers, too. When the Rakuten Eagles defeated the Nippon Ham Fighters, 2-1, in a recent Pacific League contest, it marked the 1,500th win in the managerial career of Rakuten skipper Katsuya Nomura. But it didn’t come easily.

The Eagles got off to a 2-0 lead on RBI singles by Daisuke Kusano in the second inning and Fernando Seguignol in the sixth, but a solo homer by the Fighters’ Termel Sledge brough Nippon Ham to within one run of Rakuten. However, Eagles starter Masahiro Tanaka held on to keep the Fighters off the scoreboard the rest of the way to complete his fourth complete game in as many starts this season. Tanaka limited Nippon Ham to four hits and a walk, striking out eleven batters.

Nomura becomes the fifth manager in Japanese baseball history to reach 1,500 victories. The late Kazuto Tsuruoka tops the list with 1,773 wins. Before becoming a manager, Nomura spent over 20 seasons as a catcher in Japanese baseball, primarily with the Nankai Hawks, beginning in 1954. He retired in the 1970’s with over 600 homers and 2,500 hits in his career.


It has not been the happiest of seasons for Japan’s Lotte Marines president Ryuzo Setoyama. Already in hot water with fans in Chiba after it was announced that manager Bobby Valentine would not be brought back in 2010 after his contract expires this year, Setoyama has had to address rumors that the Marines are planning to relocate from their current home of Chiba Marine Stadium.

A memo was leaked last month that quoted Setoyama as saying, “If we have unworthy fans like this, let’s move,” in response to criticism of the decision to release Valentine at season’s end. The team president admitted that such a memo did exist, but added, “This is no joke. This is a forgery.” Setoyama says an investigation into the memo will be conducted at Lotte corporate headquarters.

Valentine is one of the most successful gaijin managers in Japanese baseball history. Now in his seventh year with the Marines, the former Major Leaguer led Lotte to their first Japan Series win in 31 seasons in 2005. Last year, Lotte missed a spot in the Pacific League Climax Series playoffs by finishing fourth in the standings.


After being rebuffed numerous times to meet with Korea Baseball Organization upper management and teams, players in South Korea are moving forward with plans to form a union. Korea Professional Baseball Players Association president Min-han Son announced the plan at a recent press conference in Seoul. Son pitches for the Lotte Giants. The players association was formed ten years ago, but has never acted as a collective bargaining unit with KBO teams.

Predictably, the KBO has objected. League spokesman Jin-hyung Lee told The Korea Times, “The clubs are making a deficit. If we make a profit, we can have a dialogue with them.” Another unnamed KBO spokesman said, “Professional baseball players are not workers, but individual businessmen…Individual businessmen cannot make a union.” Son replied, “Our legal support team confirmed that to form a union is not against the law.”

The Korean Confederation of Trade Unions says it will support a players union.


The son of former Major League All-Star Tim Raines has signed with a team in Taiwan’s Chinese Professional Baseball League. Tim Raines, Jr. recently inked a deal to play outfield with the La New Bears after batting .311 with 18 homers and 78 RBIs in 128 games for Tucson in the Pacific Coast League last year. He was released by the Chicago White Sox earlier this season.

Raines played parts of three seasons with Baltimore between 2001 and 2004, batting .213 in 75 games and playing in the same game as his father with the O’s on October 4, 2001.

To make room for Raines, the Bears released Nate Gold, who was hitting .221 in 18 games.


Telemarket Rimini is on top of the Italian Baseball League standings with a 7-2 record after beating Danesi Nettuno twice in a three-game series. The series stood at one game apiece before Rimini won the rubber match, 4-3, thanks to an eighth-inning double by Ivanon Coffie that drove in Daniel Gonzalez with the winning run. Gonzalez scored twice in the contest, while Coffie had two RBIs. Reliever Michel Quattrini picked up the win for Rimini with four no-hit innings out of the bullpen, while Nettuno’s Carlos Richetti took the loss after giving up all four Telemarket runs.

Nettuno is now 5-4 for the season and in a four-way tie for second with Fortitudo Bologna, Montepaschi Grosseto and defending champion T&A San Marino. Bologna took two of three games against San Marino, including a 16-5 pasting in the third match of their series. Fortitudo racked up eight runs in the sixth inning of that one as Joseph Mazzuca went 3-for-5 with a homer and five RBIs. Juan Carlos Infante also slugged a grand slam homer for Bologna as six different players scored twice.


Three teams were a perfect 8-0 as the German League headed into the month of May. The defending champion Regensburg Buchbinder Legionaere swept their two-game series with the Manheim Tornados to hold onto their two-game lead over the 6-2 Heidenheim Heidekoepfe in the Bundesliga’s South Division.

Regensburg needed a walk-off RBI single from Matt Vance in the tenth inning to win the series opener, 6-5. One day later, the Legionaere rolled out to an 8-0 lead by the third inning and went on to defeat Manheim, 10-3. The Tornados are in a virtual tie for third place in the German League South with a 4-4 record, sharing third with the 5-5 Saarlouis Hornets.

In the North, the Paderborn Untouchables swept a doubleheader from the Bonn Capitals to pull into a first-place tie with the Solingen Alligators, who had the weekend off. Paderborn rocked Bonn, 14-0, in the opener before trashing the Capitals again, 12-1, in the nightcap as both games were shortened by the ten-run mercy rule.


After being shocked by a pair of Opening Day losses to the Richmond Flames, the defending British National League champion London Mets have evened their record at 2-2, but they’d probably rather pick up wins in a more time-honored fashion than they did against the Croydon Pirates.

The Mets and Pirates were scheduled for a weekend doubleheader in London, but Croydon was forced for forfeit both games after being unable to field enough players for the road trip. With the forfeits, Croydon’s record fell to 0-4 while creating concern that the Pirates might not play again in 2009. Such a move would be a blow to the five-team BNL, which lost three teams after last season before an expansion franchise was granted to Hertfordshire over the winter.

There were two games played between Richmond and the Bracknell Blazers, with Bracknell coming away with 6-2 and 10-4 wins in Richmond. The set marked the return to National League baseball of Michael Stewart to the Bracknell lineup after a three-year absence. Stewart, who batted .324 between 2002 and 2005, drilled an RBI single in the first game before coming back to hit a two-run homer in the nightcap and pitching 3.1 innings in relief for the win. The Blazers are tied with Herts at the top of the league table with a 2-0 record, while the Flames fell to 2-2.


The Merchtem Cats and Namur Angels both swept their respective two-game series last weekend to pull into a three-way tie with the Hoboken Pioneers for the Belgian League leadership with 3-1 records.

The Cats took two games against the Mortsel Stars last weekend, while the Angels swept the Borgerhout Squirrels. Hoboken split a two-game set with the defending champion Antwerp Greys in a rematch of last season’s final, suffering their first loss of 2009 by falling, 4-3, in the second game.

Sunday, May 3, 2009


St. Louis Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols cranked a long grand slam homer in the seventh inning of a recent 8-2 win over the Chicago Cubs at Busch Stadium to drive in the 1,000th run of his Major League career.

Now in his ninth MLB season, Pujols crushed a 441-foot bomb off Cubs right-hander David Patton to move past Ken Boyer into fifth place on the Cardinals’ all-time ribbie list and becoming the 23rd active player to reach the four-figure mark for runs driven in. He is the second player to reach that plateau this year, following Carlos Beltran of the New York Mets.

A two-time National League Most Valuable Player (and the reigning MVP), Pujols becomes only the 30th player in Major League history to reach 1,000 RBIs before his 30th birthday. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he ranks 14th all-time and second among active players, behind only the Dodgers’ Manny Ramirez, in terms of being the fastest batter to reach 1,000.


With the Major League season only a month old, injuries are already piling up. Players like Vladimir Guerrero, Brian McCann, Brandon Webb, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Jeremy Bonderman have been shelved for various reasons. While their clubs are scrambling to fill the voids left by their absences, a number of veteran free agents are still looking for work.

Former Cy Young Award winner Pedro Martinez looked sharp during the World Baseball Classic, but teams have shied away from Martinez because he’s a 37-year-old coming off an injury who is asking for $5 million. Other available pitchers include Paul Byrd and Ben Sheets.

Some good position players are still unsigned, including outfielders Jim Edmonds, Geoff Jenkins, Luis Gonzalez and Shannon Stewart


One pitcher who might eventually help a Major League team is Patrick Schuster. The pitcher from New Port Richey, Florida’s Mitchell High School recently gained national attention by throwing four consecutive no-hitters. However, his amazing streak of hitless innings is over at 28.1 frames after allowing a double to Drew Doty in the third inning of last Tuesday’s playoff game against Gaither High School. Until Doty’s double, Schuster had not allowed a hit since March 24.

In the end, Gaither defeated Mitchell, 9-4, to finish Schuster’s senior season. He was 8-1 with a 1.35 ERA in 25 pitching appearances, giving up just 12 hits and striking out 115 batters in 60 innings on the mound. Schuster has signed a letter of intent with the University of Florida, and is projected to be picked between the second and fourth rounds of next month’s MLB Player Draft.


With six games remaining in the regular season, six playoff berths have been clinched in the Cuban National Series. In the Occidental Division, La Habana, Pinar del Rio and Sancti Spiritus are set for the postseason. Ciego de Avila, Santiago de Cuba and Villa Clara will extend their seasons in the Oriental Division. Isla de Juventud has a magic number of four for the final berth in the Occidental Division, while Holguin’s magic number for the fourth playoff slot in the Oriental Division is three.

Granma’s Alfredo Despaigne leads the league with 31 homers, and is now tied with Santiago de Cuba’s Alexei Bell for the all-time single season homer record. Bell set the mark last winter.


Karl “Tuffy” Rhodes once hit three homers on Opening Day for the Chicago Cubs in 1994, but he was not regarded as a home run hitter during his major league career after knocking out just 13 longballs in 590 at-bats in 225 MLB games between 1990 and 1995. That has changed since he left the United States to play in Japan in 1997.

Rhodes had another three-homer performance for the Orix Buffaloes in an 11-3 win over the Nippon Ham Fighters last week to become the first American player to reach 450 home runs in Japanese baseball. The 40-year-old Rhodes now has 452 dingers for his career, tops among all active players in Nippon Professional Baseball. Hanshin’s Tomoaki Kanemoto is second on the list at 429.

In the win over Nippon Ham, Rhodes cracked a solo homer in the fourth inning to become only the 12th player in Japanese baseball history to reach the 450-homer mark, then whacked a three-run homer in the fifth inning before capping off his night with a two-run bomb in the eight.

Now in his 13th season of NPB ball, Rhodes has topped 50 homers twice (including a record-tying 55 roundtrippers in 2001), and has surpassed 40 homers on four other occasions.


Jae-hong Park of the SK Wyverns has finally stolen the 250th base of his Korea Baseball Organization career to become the first player in KBO history to collect both 250 homers and 250 steals in a career.

The 35-year-old Park stole second base after singling in an April 24 game against the Lotte Giants. As Giants starter Jung-hoon Cho tossed his third pitch to Wyverns batter Choi Jeong, Park took off for second base. Lotte catcher Min-ho Kang attempted to throw Park out, but the ball dropped from his glove before he could get the throw off.

Park stole the first base of his career on April 13, 1996 against the LG Twins, three days before cracking his first KBO homer against the Hanwha Eagles.

Making the 250-250 Club is rare in any league. Only 19 Major Leaguers have turned the trick, the most recent being Alfonso Soriano of the Chicago Cubs, and just four Japanese baseball players have recorded that feat.


After winning just two games last fall in Baseball Philippines’ Series 4 season, the Manila Sharks started off this spring’s Series 5 schedule with two wins on Opening Weekend at venerable Rizal Memorial Stadium in the nation’s capital.

Manila opened the first season of 2009 with a 9-6 victory over the Taguig Patriots last Saturday, breaking up a 6-6 tie with three eighth-inning runs as Francis Candella stroked the game-winning hit. One day later, the Sharks swamped the Taguig Patriots, 9-2. Raffy Dimaculangan had two hits and three RBIs, while Mick Natividad pitched a complete game.

In other BP action, the Batangas Bulls crushed the Alabang Tigers, 11-1, behind 20-year-old pitcher Vladimir Eguia, who gave up just two hits and struck out eight in six innings for the Bulls. In the other opener, the Cebu Dolphins outlasted the Dumaguete Uni-Bikers, 17-7, in a rematch of last fall’s Series 4 finals. Jonash Ponce crashed a three-run homer for the Dolphins who have never lost an Opening Day game since the league was launched in 2007.


Pitcher Hideki Irabu has signed a contract with the Long Beach Armada of the independent Golden Baseball League for 2009. The veteran pitcher joins a starting rotation that includes another former big leaguer, Jose Lima, in Long Beach.

Irabu pitched three seasons for the New York Yankees, turning in a 13-9 record in 1998, before moving on to the Montreal Expos and Texas Rangers. Following his final MLB season with the Rangers, the right-hander pitched two years for Japan’s Hanshin Tigers before his initial retirement.


The defending champion Amsterdam Pirates have picked up where they left off last year, reeling off eight wins at the start of the 2009 season to take sole possession of first place in the Dutch Major League standings. Amsterdam had an easy time of it last weekend, sweeping ADO in a three-game series. The Pirates outscored ADO, 31-6, over the set, including wins with 13-1 and 11-3 scores before wrapping up the sweep with a 7-2 victory on April 26 as ADO fell to 0-7 for the season.

DOOR Neptunus is in second place with a solid 6-0-1 record. Neptunus came away with two wins and a tie in their series against a good Konica Minolta Pioniers team last weekend. The series opened with a 3-3 tie before Neptunus won the final two contests by scores of 6-5 and 7-3. Konica Minolta slipped to third place with a 4-2-1 record.

Corendon Kinheim is off to a streaky start in 2009, with a 4-4 mark after eight games. Kinheim lost the opening game of their series against Mr. Crocker HCAW, 8-3, before rebounding to win the next two, 12-5 and 15-14. Mr. Crocker is now 3-4, a half-game behind fourth place Kinheim.

Sparta/Feyenoord defeated MediaMonks RCH in three straight games last weekend after losing their first four games, and now hold sixth place at 3-4. MediaMonks are tied with ADO for last at 0-7.


The Puerto Cruz Marlins have won four consecutive Spanish Division de Honor pennants, and it looks like they’re on their way to Flag Number Five after twelve wins out the gate in 2009. The Marlins dismantled the Valencia Astros last week in a two-game series, winning 10-0 and 11-1 in a pair of mercy rule-shortened games.

In the opening contest, Puerto Cruz scored all their runs between the second and fifth innings as Daniel Martinez was 3-for-4 with two doubles and three runs scored. Pitcher Leslie Nacar went to 5-0 on the year by pitching six perfect innings before reliever Audie Nunez allowed two hits in the seventh and final inning. Game Two went much the same, as Puerto Cruz scored seven runs in the seventh inning to halt the contest. Ivan Granados is now 4-0 after pitching a complete game.

Sant Boi beat San Inazio twice last week to hold onto second place with a 10-2 record. FC Barcelona showed up for their game against Navarra, winning a 2-1 thriller to go to 8-2. Barca’s Homer Baez pitched all the way, letting in one run on eight scattered hits to lift his record to 5-0.


The Rouen Huskies and Savigny Lions are in a virtual tie for the French Elite League lead after the two teams split a two-game series last weekend. Rouen is 5-1 thus far, while Savigny is 6-2.
The Lions won the opening game, 3-1, as pitcher Pierrick Lemestre let in one run on six hits and four walks in eight innings. Steven Huff was 3-for-4 for Savigny with two doubles and two RBIs as the Lions scored all three of their runs off Rouen starter Robin Roy in the third inning. Roy went the distance for the loss.

The defending French champions came back for an 8-7 slugfest win in the second game as the two teams combined for 31 hits. Savigny took a 7-6 lead with one run in the top of the ninth, but Rouen replied with two runs in the bottom of the frame off reliever Thomas Salado to post the win. Lic Piquet and Olivier Israel each had three hits for the Huskies.


The Bern Cardinals dominated the Sissach Frogs last weekend in a two-game series to bring their Swiss National League record to 5-0. The Cards swamped the Frogs, 22-2 and 7-0, in a Sunday doubleheader, and lead the standings by one game over the 4-1 Lausanne Indians, who swept their own twinbill against the Zurich Barracudas, 9-6 and 6-2, on the same day.
While just one game separates Bern and Lausanne, the four-time champion Cardinals have put up far more impressive numbers in the young season, outscoring opponents by a 59-8 margin while Lausanne is only +2 in runs differential.