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College Top 25: Feb. 5

After losing opening weekend series, Miami and Texas dropped out of the top four in Baseball America's weekly Top 25 college baseball rankings, while San Diego (which beat the Longhorns) jumped into the Top 25.

College | #2007#Top 25

Best Fans Ever

Chris Kline -

I know I've been raving about the Mexican fans--and they do deserve a ton of credit for continually showing up in team colors and bovine costumes throughout the series--but the DR fans rule.After they shoved it in a 12-0 win over Puerto Rico, Dominican fans stormed the field and celebrated for over 30 minutes . . . waving flags, jumping for joy and setting up individual pictures of people with DR flags while standing on the mound.

Minors | #Caribbean Series

Karim Kollapse

Chris Kline -

So . . . getting back to Mexico a second, the words "center fielder" and "Karim Garcia" don't exactly go hand-in-hand in this day and age. Garcia was tossed from Sunday's afternoon game for arguing with an umpire after getting thrown out on the back end of a double play in the fifth inning . . . while Mexico was already down nearly 10 runs.

Minors | #Caribbean Series

Kind Of Like Rubber

Chris Kline -

You know that Bud Light commercial where the guy just recently had rubber floors installed in his house and he bounces beers to his friends sitting around his living room?Well, I wouldn't be surprised if they used the surface at Roberto Clemente Walker Stadium as a testing area before they filmed.

Minors | #Caribbean Series

Puerto Rico Unravels Early

Chris Kline -

Jonathan Albaladejo--the Puerto Rico starter tonight--and I go back to 2004 when I did a series of stories in uniform in the Pirates organization. He was with the high Class A Lynchburg team I traveled with, so I sought him out on Saturday night to say hello more than anything else.

Minors | #Caribbean Series

Freedom Of The Press?

Chris Kline -

So the big showdown between Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic hasn't exactly turned out that way so far . . . the DR jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first and is now up 9-0 in the sixth.And I actually came up to the press box to tell you that, but then something weird happened. Like bad weird.

Minors | #Caribbean Series

Caribbean Series Could Expand for 2008

Chris Kline -

There have been rumors floating around San Juan all week about the Caribbean Series expanding--possibly to eight teams--and Commissioner of the Latin Confederation of Professional Baseball Juan Francisco Puello said the Series could expand to include Nicaragua and Colombia as early as next year, though Cuba is still an afterthought.

Minors | #Caribbean Series

Super Bowl Sunday?

Chris Kline -

It's so weird not to already be stuffed to the gills and watching the pregame show right now. But here, the majority of people in Puerto Rico will be more concerned about their home team taking on the Dominican Republic tonight.

Minors | #Caribbean Series

That’s Right . . . Almost Forgot

Chris Kline -

Every game here is show-n-go . . . meaning, no batting practice, no infield, not anything other than stretch and the starting pitchers getting warm in the bullpens."There isn't anywhere to take it," a member of one club's coaching staff said. "It's almost like this is just for fun--show up and play. There's not that intense demeanor of preparation like there is in the States, at least for this.

Minors | #Caribbean Series

Observations, Struggles

Chris Kline -

There are a few things I wanted to post last night, but sleep thankfully intervened--finally.So in brief, and before heading out for the day, here we go:1. The best announcement over the PA system here at Roberto Clemente Walker Stadium came on Friday, when suddenly, "Mister Logan White, please return to the scout's area. Mister Logan White, please return to the scout's area." I might be the only one who thought it was funny, but maybe that's in part because it's been the only announcement I've understood completely.

Minors | #Caribbean Series

Livin’ La Vida Loca

Chris Kline -

You ever been 'Livin' La Vida Loca?' Well, Puerto Rico certainly is, and the song was played twice--at deafening volumes--for Gigantes celebrations on Saturday night.It's become the semi-retro theme song for a team to be reckoned with.

Minors | #Caribbean Series

Scout’s View: Bubbie Buzachero

Chris Kline -

So apparently he goes by 'Edward' outside the U.S., but he'll always be 'Bubbie' to all of us Americanos. And let's face it: Edward Buzachero doesn't have quite the ring that 'Bubbie Buzachero' has. The Caribbean Series is flamboyant in nature, from the umpires' mechanics on calls to the extra-loud tunes being piped through the PA system. And somehow, a guy named Edward who pitches for the hometown Carolina club . . . well, it just doesn't fit.Buzachero was one of the main reasons Puerto Rico has a 2-0 record in the Caribbean Series, after working out of a bases loaded, 1-out jam against Venezuela on Saturday and then getting through the final two innings unscathed.

Minors | #Caribbean Series

Eyes Of The Veteran

Chris Kline -

Mexico outfielder Jon Weber's had to fight for everything he's accomplished in his career. Signed by the Reds as a nondrafted free agent in 1999, Weber was released by Cincinnati a year later. That's when he found himself in independent ball--first the Frontier and then the Northern League.Weber batted .309 in 204 at-bats at Fargo-Moorehead in 2003 before the Athletics signed him and sent him to Modesto. He then moved onto the Dodgers--serving as a veteran presence for the prospect-laden 2005 club at Double-A Jacksonville. Weber finished 2006 in Triple-A--first at Las Vegas, then Tucson after being signed by the Diamondbacks.Weber played at two stops this winter--Hermosillo (Mexico) and Caribes (Venezuela) and we stopped to chat about what it's like to be so close to the big leagues you can almost taste it, and the flip-side of being an American player in Latin America.

Minors | #Caribbean Series

Mexico Missing Roberson

Chris Kline -

This is not the same Hermosillo team that won the Mexican Pacific League title by sweeping its way through Mazatlan . . . this team managed just one run on nine hits in its first 18 innings, and now finds itself 0-2 in the Series.The final on Saturday was 9-0, as the Dominicans rolled through Mexico, pounding out 14 hits and led by Tony Batista (2 HR, 4 RBIs) and Luis Polonia (3-for-5 with an RBI triple).

Minors | #Caribbean Series