Thursday, August 14, 2008

Baseball Olympia

I know, I know, you're sick of hearing about Olympic Baseball, just bear with me for one post and it'll all be over.

Actually, I think it's a little weird that there is essentially no coverage for the Olympic baseball tournament. I suppose since it's going on during the MLB season and there are no major league players involved there isn't that much interest, but I heard Terry Tiffee is on the team so I thought I'd check it out a bit.

The most interesting thing about the USA roster is that Twins AAA pitching prospect Brian Duensing is on the team. Duensing was ranked the #10 prospect in the Twins system going into the season and had just an ok year at Rochester this season. The lefty compiled a 4.32 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP over 131 innings in 23 starts, striking out just 76. He's 25, and has moved fairly slowly through the system. He'll need to take a big step forward in the next couple of seasons to break through, but for now, he's an olympian and you're not.

He pitched well in relief in his only Olympic appearance thus far (USA is 1-1 right now), pitching to four batters and getting them all out, striking out two against the dirty Koreans.

A couple other interesting guys on the US team are Terry Tiffee (former Twin), Matt LaPorta (just traded in the Sabathia trade), and Taylor Teagarden (good catching prospect who was up for the Rangers for a bit and homered off Scott Baker). Thus far, Tiffee is 4-8 in two games, LaPorta is 1-8 with a homerun, and Teagarden is 1-3 in just one game.

Other names you might recognize include Canada's Rheal Cormier and Chris Reitsma, and Taipei's Tsao Chin-Hui and that's about it - and there's really no good reason to remember any of those guys listed above anyway unless you're a real nerd. So, in other words I guess, it's kind of a snooze fest. But USA takes on Cuba tonight at 10:30pm central, so be a real American hero and take a watch. [EDIT: Ok, I guess it's at 10:30 am tomorrow. And also I don't know if it's on TV. So just nevermind.]

In case you're curious, and I was, there are 8 nations involved (USA, South Korea, Canada, China, Chinese Taipei, Cuba, Japan, and the Netherlands) who each play each other once, with the top four teams advancing into a four team, single elimination tournament. Also of interest, this is the last year baseball (and softball) will be an Olympic sport. RIP.