Archive for May, 2008

Team China won two and lost one in fundraiser games

May 22nd, 2008

Due to 7.9 earthquake, which epicenter was in the county of Wenchuan, Sichuan province could lead to huge disaster, the exhibition games between China Olympic Baseball Team and Golden Baseball League teams will become fundraiser.

Chinese media qiaobao also report this.

For first two game vs Long Beach Armada, both teams win one game.

Blair Field was the place to be this past weekend as the Long Beach Armada hosted the National Team from the Peoples Republic of China for two games. The weekend was originally intended to be an exhibition series—a chance for both managers to evaluate their players so that they could trim their rosters. After the devastating earthquake in China the focus shifted to fundraising and helping people across the world that desperately need it.

China came out strong in the first game, scoring four runs in the first inning behind a bases loaded triple by Feng Fei. Rik Currier, player/pitching coach, received little help defensively from his Armada teammates as the team committed four errors in the first three innings. Boo Tao pitched 4 2/3 innings for China and gave up four runs including a bases-empty home run by Steve Moss in the first inning and an RBI double to catcher David Parrish. Parrish also threw out a Chinese base runner.

The Chinese team held on for a 9-6 victory on Saturday night but couldn’t stop the Armada on Sunday. Long Beach Manager Steve Yeager cut three players after Saturday’s game, trimming the roster down to 34. Yeager needs to get down to 22 players before the season opener on May 22 in St. George, UT.

Long Beach native and Millikan H.S. alum Nick Bierbrodt took the mound for the Armada and the first ever draft pick of the Arizona Diamondbacks looked sharp as he struck out five batters during his three innings on the mound. Ryan Claypool took the hill after Bierbrodt and fanned four more Chinese hitters as the Armada won the game 5-2.

Kris Kasarijian singled and scored on a sacrifice fly from Ryan Lehr to give the Armada a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning. Marland Williams later reached base on an error and scored on an RBI single by Tony Torcato.

Steve Moss lined a two-run single in the eighth inning that highlighted a three-run rally giving Long Beach a 5-0 lead.

Feng Fei singled in two runs in the top of the ninth inning for China. Fei had five RBIs in the series, including a bases-loaded triple in the first inning on Saturday.

Andrew Layfield threw two scoreless innings for the Armada, while Brandon Buxbaum pitched the ninth inning and allowed the two China runs.

You can see some decent photo by Mark.

For the third game vs. Yuma Scorpions, Team China also win.

Before Wednesday’s exhibition between the Yuma Scorpions and the Chinese Olympic team at Desert Sun Stadium, there was a moment of silence to honor the victims of the earthquake that struck central China last week.

That moment meant a lot to the Chinese team – and the $1,100 the Scorpions raised in an auction of a autographed Chinese team jersey meant even more.

“It was really nice that the Scorpions would raise money for it,” Chinese team Jim Lefebvre said. “And for them to bring awareness to it with the moment of silence, we really appreciate it. It was very moving to the players.”

The gestures were especially meaningful to pitcher Chen Ku and right fielder Fen Fei, who both had family in the region at the time of the quake, Lefebvre said.

“They were concerned,” Lefebvre said. “We were all concerned about that. Chen Kun’s parents were okay, but he couldn’t get communication to his wife for a couple days, so there was some concern. But everything was okay.”

Chen did not pitch in the game Wednesday, but Fen had a two-run double in the first inning, giving the Chinese a lead they would never relinquish in a 6-3 win.

The team has been in the United States since early April practicing and scrimmaging against American teams. A 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck the Sichuan province May 12. The death toll is approximately 10,000.

Lefebvre said he gave the players the opportunity to return home, but none took him up on the offer.

Before coming to Yuma, the Chinese team split two games with the Scorpions’ Golden Baseball League foe Long Beach. The Armada held a similar auction to raise money.

Lefebvre said the earthquake puts everything the team is doing in perspective.

“We’re over here in a very festive mood, and everybody is working hard, then something like this comes along, it just takes all the shine off what we’re doing,” Lefebvre said. “You realize baseball is secondary when it comes to human life.”

So Team China is not that weak as people think, especially after they won two games from teams who has player with major league experience.

Stubby Clapp gets green light for Olympics

May 18th, 2008

10 days after Stubby Clapp, who known for his grit, hustle and trademark back flip, was turned down a request, Houston Astros changes mind and decide to let the heart and soul of Canada’s baseball team making the trip to Beijing to play.

STAR WIRE SERVICES has more detail.

The Houston Astros had a change of heart yesterday, granting the national team icon permission to play for Canada at the Olympics after initially rejecting the idea.

Nearly a week-and-a-half of delicate talks between Clapp, the hitting coach for Houston’s Class-A affiliate Lexington, Baseball Canada and the Astros took place before the 35-year-old received clearance in a morning conversation.

“Sometimes if you really love something you do what you can do to pursue it hard,” Clapp told The Canadian Press. “Either way if I got to go or not, I’m happy the situation is resolved. I’m happy with the way Houston handled it, they’re a class organization and I’m very happy with the way things worked out.”

The back-and-forth over the issue was particularly hard on Clapp, who dedicated himself to the final Olympic cycle before hanging up his glove for good, but found himself caught between career and country.

With a contract due to expire after the season and the Astros not keen on him missing a month July 28-Aug. 24 for the Olympics, he had to tread carefully.

“I told them that if my job is in jeopardy if I go that I wanted to stay,” said Clapp. “All the credit goes to Houston. I had to think about my team’s needs and about taking care of my family. I have a wife and two kids, my job was my priority.

“This is a great organization, I want to pursue my career with Houston.”

So does Jim Parker of Windsor Star.

“They’re going to let me go,” Clapp said.

Earlier this month, the Astros freed up Leamington-native Danny Klassen and Jimmy Van Ostrand to play for Canada, but turned down Baseball Canada’s request for Clapp because he was a coach in the organization and not a player.

“When they came back and said it was too much time for a coach, it was completely understandable,” said Clapp, who will be gone from July 28 to Aug. 24. “I had no qualms.”

But Clapp, who is the hitting coach for Houston’s Class A team in Lexington, knew he would have a chance to speak to team officials.

Bennett was in Lexington for organizational meetings last weekend and Clapp sat down and proposed a shorter time frame for him to be away from the team.

“He said they would reconsider,” Clapp said.

But the married father of two young boys made it clear to Bennett that he didn’t want to risk his job in the organization to play for Canada.

“My livelihood is on the line,” Clapp said. “I told him, ‘I can’t afford to lose my job. If there’s any issue, just tell me and there’ll be no words. I want to be with the Houston Astros.'”

Bennett came back with more than Clapp could have hoped.

“He said, ‘Don’t worry about your job,'” Clapp said, “‘Just go and finish what you started.'”

The organization imposed no time limit for Clapp, who will use the full timetable.

“I’ve committed to the whole thing,” Clapp said. “I need the (extra) time to get ready (physically).”

Canadian manager Greg Hamilton has his own thoughts on why the Astros had a change of heart.

“I think it was two things,” Hamilton said. “They saw how passionate he was to play and how passionate a nation was to have him play.”

The Astros aren’t saying there was public pressure, but both Hamilton and Clapp know the organization heard from many Canadians.

“There were some haste words and while I appreciate the support, I wish they would have been thought out, but I understand that people don’t know what’s at stake,” Clapp said. “They’re a class organization and I’d say that even if they hadn’t let me go.”

While he’s played just 23 games in the Major Leagues with St. Louis, Hamilton is thrilled to have him on board.

“He’s certainly the face of the program,” Hamilton said. “He’s been front and centre of everything we’ve accomplished.”

He batted .364 in helping Canada earn an Olympic berth at the final qualifier, which was held in Taipei in March.

“He brings a lot to the team,” Hamilton said. “He just brings that never-say-die attitude, that calming presence and at the same time he gives a lift.

“Every player knows he’s given every ounce to get where he has when many people didn’t think he would. He’s a special guy.”

And Clapp is ready to write the final chapter of his playing career and put the disappointment of a fourth-place finish at the 2004 Olympic Games behind him.

“What a way to be able to write the final chapter,” Clapp said. “Go over, write the Cinderella story and win the gold medal, and come home and be done playing.”

So let’s Clapp and his famous backflip are headed for Beijing, and he will keep coaching in the future.

China Olympic Team To Play 3 Game Series Versus Golden Baseball League

May 9th, 2008

From oursportscentral, China Olympic Team will play three games vs. Golden Baseball League.

Dublin, CA: The independent professional Golden Baseball League (GBL) announced today that the China Olympic Team will play a three-game series versus GBL teams later this month in Long Beach, CA and Yuma, AZ Managed by former Los Angeles Dodger All-Star and Major League Manager Jim Lefebvre, the China National Team is a rising power in the baseball world in Asia with recent victories over Korea and will be one of the eight teams vying for gold in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

The China National Team will face the Long Beach Armada, managed by former Los Angeles Dodger and 1981 World Series MVP Steve Yeager, in a two game series at historic Blair Field in Long Beach, CA. The first game will be on Saturday night, May 17th with a 7:05 P.M. start time. The second game will be the following day on Sunday at 6:05 P.M. The team will then travel to Yuma, Arizona and will take on the Yuma Scorpions, managed by former Los Angeles Dodger All-Star Mike Marshall on Wednesday, May 21st at 6.35 P.M.

“We are excited to be able to bring such an interesting match-up and high-quality baseball to our fans in Long Beach and Yuma,” said GBL Commissioner Kevin Outcalt. “Baseball has made great strides in China and I wouldn’t be surprised to see some of the players on this China National Team continuing their careers in major league organizations once the Beijing Olympics are completed later this summer.”

The series should be a good tune-up for China as they will face a veteran lineup in Long Beach that boasts one of the most experienced professional independent teams in the country with four former MLB first round draft picks and a roster with five players with major league experience including pitcher Jerome Williams, pitcher Nick Bierbrodt, second baseman Cleatus Davidson, first baseman Tony Torcato, and catcher David Parrish. The Yuma Scorpions also field an experience professional team including major leaguers catcher Pascual Matos and starting pitcher Mike Esposito, along with former New York Mets second round draft pick Alhaji Turay leading off and patrolling center field.

The 2008 Beijing Olympics will feature the world’s finest baseball teams from around the globe. The eight team tournament is set and will showcase some of the greatest players in the world as China, Cuba, U.S.A., Canada, Netherlands, Japan, Korea, and Chinese Taipei will compete for the gold medal from August 13 – 23, 2008.

Tickets for the three games start at $6 and can be ordered by contacting the Long Beach Armada front office at 562-498-4487 and the Yuma Scorpions front office at 928-257-4700.

About the Golden Baseball League

The Golden Baseball League, Presented by Safeway, is an independent professional baseball league operating in western North America. The Golden Baseball League is comprised of the following eight teams in an 88 game schedule between May and September each year: The Chico Outlaws in Chico, CA; the Reno Silver Sox in Reno, NV; the Long Beach Armada in Long Beach, CA; the Orange County Flyers in Fullerton, CA; the St. George Roadrunners in St. George, UT; the Yuma Scorpions in Yuma; AZ; the Calgary Vipers in Calgary, Alberta, Canada; and the Edmonton Cracker Cats in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

In addition, the GBL owns and operates the six-team Arizona Winter League which plays from late January to the beginning of March and is considered the premier winter showcase league for professional and aspiring professional baseball players. The AWL’s six teams are the Palm Springs Chill, the Yuma Scorpions, the Blythe Heat, the San Diego Surf Dawgs, the Sonora Pilots, and the Canada Miners.

In three seasons of play, the GBL has had over 60 players purchased by major league organizations and has included over 30 former major league players including American League MVPs Rickey Henderson and Jose Canseco.

The Golden Baseball League is headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area town of Dublin, CA. For general information and/or ticket information, please visit our web site at or call (925) 226-2889.

John Sailors of East Bay Business Timesalso report.

Two Golden Baseball League teams will host three games this month against the Chinese Olympic baseball team in the run-up to the 2008 Summer Olympics being held in Beijing in August.

The games also come just before the May 22 season opening of the Golden Baseball League, an independent professional minor league that has its headquarters in Dublin.

The Long Beach Armada will host the Chinese national team in a two-game series at historic Blair Field in Long Beach on May 17 and 18.

The Chinese team will then travel to Yuma, Ariz., where it will play the Yuma Scorpions on May 21.

The games also will be a battle of former Los Angeles Dodgers. Coincidentally, all three teams are managed by former Dodgers. The Chinese team is managed by former Dodger All-Star and Major League manager Jim Lefebvre.

Long Beach is managed by former Dodger and 1981 World Series MVP Steve Yeager, and Yuma is managed by former Dodger All-Star Mike Marshall.

It is uncertain as yet whether the games will be televised or broadcast over the Internet, according to Kevin Outcalt, the GBL’s commissioner.

The games will serve as a tune-up for the Chinese team, which will go on to face the United States, Canada, Cuba, Japan, Chinese Taipei, Korea, and the Netherlands in Beijing in August.

The Chinese team had been practicing in Phoenix with help from Major League Baseball personnel, who contacted the GBL about possible practice games, Outcalt said. The games come at the end of the GBL’s short spring training period, when teams are normally playing exhibition games.

In preparation over the last week, the GBL has had a lot of success finding sponsors and cooking up promotions, Outcalt said. These include a Passport to China promotion with Chinese restaurants in the two cities.

The games also bring added prestige to the league. The GBL enters its fourth season this summer with a renewed sponsorship from Pleasanton-based Safeway Inc. that includes several joint programs such as baseball clinics and ticket giveaways in schools. Safeway also promotes the games in stores in host cities.

The GBL has added two Canadian teams this year, as well — the Calgary Vipers and the Edmonton Cracker-Cats, both of which left the established Northern League following a dispute over travel and scheduling.

The GBL is also in discussions with Ohlone College to build a stadium at the school’s Newark campus and field a Newark team. The league has for some time been working to launch a team in the East Bay.

Let’s see who will win the three games.

Stubby Clapp not going to Beijing Olympics

May 8th, 2008

One of the most icon of Team Canada, Stubby Clapp did not get permission to play Olympic 2008, according to

Canada’s Olympic baseball team will have to compete at the Beijing Games this summer without its most popular and scrappiest player, has learned.

Baseball Canada was informed that second baseman Stubby Clapp was denied permission to play for the Olympic team.

Greg Hamilton, coach and director for the national teams, was told by the Houston Astros, who employ Clapp as a hitting coach for their Class A affiliate team in Lexington, Ky., on Monday that the Windsor, Ont., native would remain with the organization.

“The Houston Astros have turned down our request for Stubby to play for us,” Hamilton told “It’s a blow. Stubby Clapp brings leadership to the team and in many ways is the face of the program.”

Hamilton has spoken to Clapp “three of four times” since Monday’s decision by the Astros and said the 35-year-old veteran was “obviously disappointed” he woudn’t be going to Beijing.

Calls to Clapp and the Houston Astros were not immediately returned.

Clapp is in his second year with the Astros organization after retiring as a full-time player. Hamilton suggested that Clapp might be leary of pushing the Olympic issue with the Astros because his contract expires on Oct. 31.

While Hamilton is disappointed with the major-league club’s decision, he understands the business side of its desire to keep Clapp in Lexington.

“The last thing that I want to portray here is that the Houston Astros are cold,” said Hamilton. “They had to make a tough decision. Their view is that they hired Stubby as a coach. He came to them and applied for that job as a coach, not a player.”

Hamilton also said Clapp may not have been ready to play because the veteran suffered a knee injury during Canada’s last Olympic qualifying game in March against Germany.

Clapp took out the German catcher at home plate but collided knees with his opponent.

Clapp had a couple of MRIs done on the knee and it hasn’t responded well since he left the qualifer, according to Hamilton.

“Stubby has a physical issue that might have precluded him from playing anyway,” he said. “[Neither] he nor our medical people know whether that knee would be good enough to go [for Beijing]. So he’s got that issue even if he was granted permission. If we had to go to the [Olympics] today, he wouldn’t be able to play.

“The worst view is he’s looking at operations and the most optimistic view is he can rehab it and be ready to go.”

The Astros did grant first baseman/outfielder James Van Ostrand the oppotunity to compete for Canada this summer, but Hamilton views the two decisions as separate issues.

“It wasn’t easy for them to say no to Stubby,” said Hamilton, who wouldn’t reveal Clapp’s replacement at second. “They were at a point where they needed him and for Stubby to be gone for another month was very difficult to say yes to. They weren’t comfortable doing it. I have no bad feelings toward the Houston Astros and I understand where they are coming from.”

Clapp has been a longtime member of Canada’s national team.

Drafted by the St. Louis in the 36th round of the 1996 amateur draft, Clapp played 23 games with the Cardinals and spent the rest of his career in the minor leagues.

He first made a name for himself at 1999 Pan Am Games in Winnipeg.

During round-robin play, the underdog Canadians faced the more experienced and talented American team. Clapp walked to the plate with the bases loaded in the 11th inning and the score tied 6-6.

More than cross-border bragging rights were on the line when Clapp blooped a single that dropped between the shortstop and left-fielder to give Canada the unexpected win.

The hit turned Clapp into a Canadian cult hero and was a media darling among Canadian journalists.

Clapp then participated at the 2004 Athens Olympics where he almost helped guide Canada to a medal. The team finished fourth.

Beijing will be baseball’s final Olympic appearance as the IOC dropped the sport for the 2012 Games in London. However, IOC president Jacques Rogge has urged the federation to apply for reinstatement in time for the 2016 Olympics.

Not a good news for Team Canada and Olympic 2008.

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