Today Big League Stew starts a two-week series previewing teams competing in the 2013 World Baseball Classic. The tournament starts March 2 and runs through March 19. Since international baseball brings many new players and storylines, The Stew wants to help you prepare for this worldly clash.
Pool: A, Japan
'09 finish: Didn't qualify.
First game: March 2 vs. Japan.
Biggest star: Hall of Famer Barry Larkin who is not playing for Brazil or even from Brazil for that matter, but was retained as the team's manager.
Name you may not know, but should: Andre Rienzo, a pitching prospect in the Chicago White Sox organization. He's at spring training with the White Sox now and may get a spring start before leaving to join Team Brazil.
Important questions to ask about Brazil:
Does Brazil have another fairy tale left? Brazil's story is like something from a movie. A country not known for baseball hires a Hall of Famer from the U.S. and he helps make it the surprise qualifier for the tournament. Here's where things get tough: Brazil travels to Japan and plays its first game against Japan, the defending champion. David, meet Goliath.
[Baseball 2013 from Yahoo! Fantasy Sports: Join a league today!]
Will Yan Gomes play? Gomes is the star of Team Brazil, but it doesn't sound like he's going to play. Gomes is the baseball hero of Brazli, the first from his country to reach the major leagues. He's currently a catcher with the Cleveland Indians. Reports say he might skip the WBC to focus on getting a roster spot in Cleveland.
Will anybody be there to watch Brazil? In its WBC berth-clinching game in Panama, only 20-30 Brazil fans were there to see the team to victory. This is from a country where baseball is growing in popularity, but still a fledgling sport. And Panama is a closer trip than Japan. So this kinda feels like Rocky Balboa going to Russia to fight Ivan Drago. Sorry, Barry Larkin.
Fantasy baseball video from Yahoo! Sports:
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