The baseball tournament at the Pan American Games has long been considered to be one of the premier international baseball events in the world, even higher than the Olympic Games. This is because the level of competition is higher than in the Olympics, where only two teams from the Americas have traditionally been permitted to qualify. Cuba has dominated the tournament since its inception, and has already advanced to the medal round of this year’s Pan-Am games in Rio de Janeiro.
Cuba has won the last 9 gold medals in a row and I believe this year will be their 10th. The real battle will be for second place between Brazil, USA, Mexico, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, Panama and Venezuela. It is suprising to see Canada absent from this list, since the Canadian squad garnered a Bronze Medal just two games ago. Canada must have really fell flat on their faces to get turfed in favour of the likes of Nicaragua, Panama and Brazil.
Keeping up with my Mexican obsession, I have been following the team (which includes Karim Garcia – listed in the boxscores as “Gustavo Garcia”, Benji Gil and Antonio Osuna) since the beginning of the tournament.
Mexico’s first game was against a very potent Cuba squad that is basically the same team that won the World Baseball Classic. Mop Up Duty darling SS/3B Yuliesky Gourriel was 2 for 5 with a HR, a triple and a stolen base. Mexico got spanked 8-1.
Mexico rebounded against Panama behind a strong pitching performance from starter Francisco Campos. Karim Garcia was 2 for 5 with a 2B and Tigres’ fan favourite Luis Suarez was 3 for 5 with a ding dong. Mexico won 9-0.
I’ll keep you posted as to what happens next. I expect a dogfight between the Dominican, US and Mexican teams for Silver and Bronze. The US team boasts a few hot shot prospects like Justin Smoak and Jordan Danks. Keep checking back to Mop Up Duty for more updates.