Jong-Beom Lee remembers walking off the field in Sapporo, Japan, in 2003 after Korea lost to Chinese Taipei in the Olympic qualifiers. "They beat us, but I don't think we will lose this time," Lee said. "I want to walk off the field with no regrets."
Four countries with varied baseball histories converge in Tokyo this weekend for the first round of games in the inaugural World Baseball Classic.
Korea, with the most-developed offensive squad in the Asia round, enters the World Baseball Classic with a talented roster and great expectations for national glory.
Japan and Korea have turned Yahoo! Dome into baseball's biggest house party leading up to the World Baseball Classic. The massive dome in southern Japan is host to both Japan's and Korea's respective training camps, leading up to Friday's first exhibition game between Japan and the Nippon Professional Baseball All-Stars.
Pitchers across Asia are used to throwing baseballs with horsehide covering, but in the World Baseball Classic, they'll be using balls that are covered in cowhide. That's nothing to fuss about, you might say, but some of the hurlers in Group A beg to differ.
Korean slugger Seung-Yeop Lee posted big numbers at the Tokyo Dome with the Chiba Lotte Marines in November's Asia Series, and he will look to do the same in the World Baseball Classic. And a couple weeks after the WBC wraps up, Lee will be back at the Dome in a different uniform, suiting up for the Yomiuri Giants, who signed Lee in the offseason.
Wladimir Balentien, Scott Thorman, Francisco Liriano and Yusmeiro Petit are a few of the top prospects on the preliminary rosters for the upcoming WBC.
The provisional roster for the Korean national team competing in the World Baseball Classic was announced Wednesday, with pitcher Chan-Ho Park to most prominant name.
The Korea Baseball Organization has announced that Jae Seo will pitch for Korea at the first World Baseball Classic in March. Seo's place on the team is established, meaning the Mets will likely have players representing five countries in the tournament.
The list of 60 players that have agreed to participate for the Korean national team that will compete in the 2006 World Baseball Classic has the names of eight players currently belonging to Major League ballclubs.