Monday, June 8, 2015

1985 World Baseball Cup

As it was announced at the end of last tournament, the IBF would now expand the tournament to 12. They determined teams 8-12 could hold their own against the best of the best, and the worst teams in the world would be weeded out in qualifying. The qualifying provided a surprise with Japan losing to South Korea in the Pacific Division. Chinese Taipei and Canada would advance in the playoff. This made Taipei the 12th team to compete in the tournament.

The structure would now be as follows. The teams would play in their group, then seeded 1-12. The top 8 teams would be put into a bracket and play to the finals. Hometown Mexico had a group play to remember. They played in their capital, and Parque del Seguro Social became the first stadium to host 2 tournaments. They beat Puerto Rico and coasted to a 3-0 record and clinched the first overall seed by allowing less than Japan in a tie breaker. Groups B and C were very contested. Three teams tied at 1-2 in Saltillo, with only Canada advancing forward. Group C was the tightest group. The Americans and Cubans both went 2-1, with South Korea and the Dominican finishing 1-2. All four teams moved on to the Round of 8.

Mexico beat the upstart Koreans to start. Jose Canseco hit a 2 run home run in the 7th to bear the Puerto Ricans, setting up a match up with the Mexicans. The Cubans went out and dominated Mexico. Mexico only got 2 hits, two doubles in the 3rd. Then the Cuban pitching staff retired 20 in a row to win 3-1. The North American match up of USA-Canada wasn't very close. The USA won 7-2. Then the Japanese-Dominican game had almost no pitching, a 10-8 barn burner saw the Japanese face their rivals America in the semi finals. The Americans had a big traveling fan base, but it wasn't enough as the Japanese won 8-2 in Caliacan. That set up the Japanese vs Cubans in Mexico City. Jose Canseco added 2 more home runs to make his total 6 during the tournament. Cuba would hang on and win their first title in team history.

Several changes were made to the jerseys of the tournament. Canada and the Dominicans both wore racing stripes for the first time. Canada brought back a button up jersey. Taiwan's debut jerseys were very amateur looking, with a cursive script and light blue roads. Cuba made their tops and bottoms match, unlike the previous tournaments. Panama introduced a jersey similar to the White Sox's 80s jerseys. Puerto Rico dropped the light blue and recolored several things for this new tournament. Finally, the much loved yellow Venezuela jersey became the home, with an all grey look becoming the road.

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