Baseball’s World Cup opened play Wednesday in four European cities. The day’s biggest news probably was the more than 5,000 fans that showed up in Regensburg, Germany, to see the host country pound China 14-1 in seven innings. Just last year, China impressed scouts with a gritty, resourceful team in the Beijing Olympics, but Germany has been the most improved nation in European circles in recent years under the leadership of coach Greg Frady, whose full-time job is being the head coach of Georgia State.
In other games, Australia—with six Twins farmhands on the roster—defeated the host Czech Republic 17-4 in Prague. Playing at home in Barcelona, Spain beat South Africa 15-0, with Orioles farmhand Danny Figueroa (better known perhaps for his playing days for the Miami Hurricanes) going 3-for-4. And the Netherlands Antilles beat host Sweden 10-8 in a game that drew more than 1,200 fans to a new ballpark in Sundyberg, just outside Stockholm.
Team USA plays its first game Thursday in Germany against Venezuela. On Sept. 11, Team USA’s game with the host Germans will be broadcast on MLB Network at 1 p.m.