FanPost

Olympic Baseball Qual Tourny Begins Tonight

The qualifying tournament for the 2008 Olympics starts at 8pm tonight with the United States playing the Canadian team (led by Stubby Clapp) in el Estadio Latinoamericano. As of now, the USA Baseball website isn't ready yet, so there probably won't be any live updates from the game tonight.

Baseball America has an article previewing the tournament and gives this probable lineup:

Heath Phillips - P - White Sox
Jarrod Saltalamacchia - C - Braves
Bryan LaHair - 1B - Mariners
Bobby Hill -  2B - Padres
Mike Kinkade - 3B - Marlins
Brandon Wood - SS - Los Angeles Angeles de Anaheim
Chad Allen - LF - Royals
Michael Bourn - CF - Phillies
Billy Butler - RF - Royals

Our own Skip Schumaker is the fourth outfielder on the team. In the exhibition games in Florida leading up to the tournament, Skip went 6-15 (.400) with two walks against one strikeout and was hit by a pitch once. He had one RBI and scored five runs and stole a base.

If you thought a five-game playoff series was a crapshoot, this tournament would truly drive you nuts. We play in Pool A of this regional along with Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela. All teams in a pool play each other once and then the top four teams advance to a single elimination round to end up with two teams that qualify for the Olympics in 2008, the last Olympic games where baseball will be played. (Don't get me started on that...) Using this bracketing, the US team failed to qualify for the 2004 Olympics, so it's an important tournament.

In the other pool, Cuba will have to compete with the likes of Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Nicaragua, and Panama.

If there's any live coverage of tonight's game that I find, I'll post a link in here.

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