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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

A Couple Of Things

Chris Kline -

Two quick plugs, first for my housemate Peter Bjarkmann, who is an expert on Cuban baseball and has a new book out called 'A History of Cuban Baseball, 1864-2006.' His Website is www.bjarkmann.com . . .The other is for an American writer I met here yesterday named Jonathan Helfgott. Jonathan is on a fellowship for a year of what some of us can only dream of--seeing baseball all around the world. So far he's been to Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Australia and Puerto Rico . . . Japan is next on his agenda. And you can read of his exploits as he travels from country to country exploring the game at http://globalbaseball.wordpress.com.That's it for now . . . just had to throw out some props. Press conference in 20 minutes, then Puerto Rico vs. Venezuela.

Minors | #Caribbean Series

Venezuelan Roster

Chris Kline -

PCory Bailey, Yorman Bazardo, Francisco Butto, Horacio Estrada, Rosman Garcia, Tim McClaskey, Victor Moreno, Vladimir Nunez, Juan Carlos Ovalles, Yohan Pino, Josmir Romero, Kevin TolarCAlexander Delgado, Yosnel Garcia, Ramon Hernandez, Steve TorrealbaINFRonny Cedeno, Jose Martinez, Luis Maza, Alexis Nunez, Luis Rodriguez, Randall SimonOFGregor Blanco, Jose Castillo, Oscar Salazar

Minors | #Caribbean Series

Rosters

Chris Kline -

I keep getting e-mails from you on where the prospect info is, so here are the rosters for each team. This isn't a tournament geared toward prospects, though there are several . . . even if the Mariners don't think Yorman Bazardo (they designated him for assignment a few days ago) has upside.

Minors | #Caribbean Series

Food

Chris Kline -

What is this and where can I get some?We might as well throw 'Sleep' under the same category.It's almost daylight here in the Atlantic Time Zone and all I keep thinking about is whether or not 36-year-old Venezuela righthander Cory Bailey will give their bullpen a rest.

Minors | #Caribbean Series

Lima Time, Part II

Chris Kline -

This is where it gets a little weird. It's been kind of a strange trip already . . . ever since it took over 2 1/2 hours to get my credentials. But during the Dominican Republic press conference, things got a little weirder. I guess I should preface this with the fact that I don't speak Spanish very well at all, and I think I've apologized for being an ignorant American slob on more than one occasion already, but the Venezuelan press conference went first . . . and that was basically Buddy Bailey--piece of cake. He spoke in English and had a translator for the 99.9% Latin American media contingent. But in the Dominican press conference, there was no English spoken whatsoever--never a good sign for the ignorant American slob.

Minors | #Caribbean Series

Lima Time

Chris Kline -

One of the things I was personally looking forward to in the opener was seeing Dominican righthander Jose Lima bring out that national passion against Venezuela. And he didn't disappoint, both in terms of results and his always colorful demeanor. Lima allowed a pair of runs on eight hits over five innings, but certainly added to the drama by seemingly constantly pitching out of jams, then jumping off the mound pumping his fist and pointing to the Dominican flag-waving crowd on his way back to the dugout.

Minors | #Caribbean Series