The World Baseball Classic has started with a bang, especially for two of the European teams.
The Netherlands looked impressive as they made their way through their First Round Pool in Taiwan earlier in the week and they started their Second Round Pool in the early hours of Friday morning, U.K. time, with a great win against Cuba.
It will be called a “shock” by some, a “surprise upset” by others, but the Dutch should get more credit than that considering how they performed in the 2009 event and their World Cup triumph in 2011. They’ve got a good team and although going all the way will be very difficult, don’t casually dismiss their chances of doing just that.
Meanwhile Italy came from behind to beat Mexico on Thursday evening, scoring 2 runs in the top of the ninth inning for a 6-5 victory. They will still need to earn a win against either the U.S. or Canada to progress into Round 2, and that will be a tall order, but they’ve given themselves a great chance and probably also ensured qualification for the 2017 tournament.
ESPN America is providing plenty of live coverage of the WBC this weekend, with British Eurosport 2 scheduled to show a couple of games too.
19.30 – Canada v Italy *ESPN America
22.30 – Spain v Puerto Rico *ESPN America, *British Eurosport2 (from 23.00)
02.00 – Mexico v USA *ESPN America
10.00 – Pool 1 Gm 3 *ESPN America
10.00 – Pool 1 Gm 4 *ESPN America
16.30 – Spain v Venezuela *ESPN America (Eurosport 2?)
20.00 – U.S. v Canada *ESPN America
23.30 – Dominican Republic v Puerto Rico *ESPN America
Note that there is a game listed as starting on Eurosport2 at 18.00 on Sunday. It will probably be the Spain game, either joining whilst it’s in progress or showing it on a time delay.
Sadly there has been no change on MLB.com’s policy of providing no online coverage of games via MLB.TV, except for MLB Network U.S.-based subscribers.