Tomorrow (Thursday) is the day everyone involved in British baseball has been looking forward to for months. Great Britain will begin their 2009 Baseball World Cup with the exciting prospect of a game against Japan.
The only slight problem is that it’s not entirely clear when the game will begin. GB-Japan was originally scheduled to start at 10.30 CET (9.30 BST) and at time of writing it still states this on the Group D mini-site. However, the official World Cup website schedule now lists the Croatia-Nicaragua game as starting at 12.30 (11.30 BST), with first pitch in our game at 16.30 (15.30 BST). Presumably the official website is correct and we’ll provide an update here if we get any confirmation.
Japan are one of the great baseball nations and they won the most recent major international tournament, the World Baseball Classic, in March earlier this year. The team that GB will be facing is very different to the one that beat Korea in extra innings at Dodger Stadium. Japan’s World Cup roster is made up of amateur players, but don’t let that fool you into underestimating their ability.
It’s the most difficult start GB could have been handed from their group, yet that may work to our advantage overall. Losing the first game wouldn’t be such a big blow were it to happen (on the basis that it’s the game you would expect us to lose) and if we catch Japan cold, well you never know what might happen.
The game isn’t available to watch on TV or online, but the official World Cup website is using a live GameTracker facility that looks very impressive (it’s a bit like Gameday on MLB.com) and allows you to follow the game in enjoyable detail. Once on the official website, click on ‘Schedule’, hover over ‘First Round’ and select ‘Schedule’. You will then be able to click the relevant link for the GB game in the ‘PbyP’ (play-by-play) column.
I’ll be ‘watching’ the game that way and commenting along on Twitter, so do join me if you can. I’ll then provide my post-game thoughts here later in the day. Whether that’s mid-afternoon or sometime in the evening depends on when the game actually starts!
Good luck to the British team. I’m sure you’ll do us proud.