Baseball Latin America – Baseball Brazil

March 17, 2014

Brazil Baseball Update – St. Paddy’s Day Edition – March 17, 2014

Filed under: Baseball in Brazil — Andy @ 9:26 am

LSPB back in action. Photo credit - STI Esporte

Though St. Patrick’s Day isn’t as big in Brazil than it is in the U.S., Brazilians can still appreciate wearing green and having a good reason to party. There’s also plenty to celebrate on the Brazilian baseball scene at the moment, here are some quick updates:

- The Liga São Paulo de Beisebol (LSPB) started up its regular season yesterday. Defending 2013 champions Underdogs have already positioned themselves at the top of the standings with 2 wins, along with the Red Foxes and newcomers the Indians. The LSPB’s Facebook page continues to be the primary source of updated information for the league, including results, standings and other information.

- One of the big new announcements from the LSPB is their partnership this season with STI Esporte and Radio Paraty, who will be broadcasting LSPB games both live on the internet and on radio. Check back to STI Esporte’s baseball page to get information on the next broadcasts.

- Over in the CBBS, Pereira Barreto continued its winning ways by taking home the U-11 17th Annual Honorio Mukai Cup yesterday in Ibiuna. Stats from the tournament can be found here.

- Another piece of interesting news out of the CBBS is that the Nippon Sports Science University (NITTAIDAI) baseball team is touring Brazil and playing in different cities around the country. You can see their tour schedule here.

- On a more social note, here’s a pretty cool picture of some of the top Brazilian players currently in U.S. Spring Training. Apparently these guys were able to get together one evening while in Arizona.  From left to right are Daniel Missaki (SEA), Rodrigo Takahashi (AZ), Felipe Caldeira (Brazil natl. pitching coach), Paulo Orlando (KC), Luis Gohara (SEA), Yan Gomes (CLE), Andre Rienzo (CWS) and Thiago Vieira (SEA).

Brazil All-Stars - photo credit CBBS

- Finally, Brazil National Team Manager and Hall of Famer Barry Larkin was hanging out in São Paulo this weekend, watching his daughter, singer Cymcolé perform at a local club. Cymcolé is well known in Brazil for singing the theme song to a popular Brazilian soap opera called Avenida Brasil. More pics of the night can be found on the Baseball Live Brazil Facebook page.

Barry Larkin & Cymcole - Photo Credit Basball Live Brazil

March 9, 2014

Brazilian Baseball Update – March 9, 2014

Filed under: Baseball in Brazil — Andy @ 6:42 pm

New D-Back Rodrigo Takahashi - Photo credit: Baseball Live Brazil

It’s that time of year again. Baseball all over the world is getting revved up, including in Brazil where the annual tournaments have already started up again at various age levels. Here’s a quick review of what’s going on:

Pereira Barreto wins the 11th annual U12 Yakult Cup. In fact, PB dominated this tournament, outscoring their opponents 45-1 in 4 games.  Marilia won the U-13 edition of the tournament, but under slightly less dominating circumstances.  You can find the box scores for the U12 tournament here and for the U13 tournament here.

The 12th Annual Adult Paulista Baseball Championship just concluded its first weekend of games. Atibaia, Nippon Blue Jays and São Paulo were all winners.  More information on the tournament can be find on the Baseball Live Brazil Facebook page, which is a new group that plans on providing news and live feeds of games in Brazil. Stay tuned for their new website. They already have great content on the Facebook page covering the Brazilian guys who are already in MLB organizations.

Something I forgot to mention this past offseason is that the Arizona Diamondbacks signed pitcher Rodrigo Takahashi from Presidente Prudente. Takahashi participated in the 2013 edition of the MLB elite camp in Brazil. Takahashi, 17, is in camp with the D-Backs this spring training.

January 30, 2014

Brazilian Baseball Update – Jan. 30, 2014

Filed under: Baseball in Brazil — Andy @ 6:59 pm

If you didn’t see this, it wasn’t in the English speaking press but was
announced in Brazil.

MLB International intends to open an office in São Paulo, and help
renovate São Paulo’s venerable Mie Nishe municipal baseball stadium
(http://www.prefeitura.sp.gov.br/cidade/secretarias/esportes/estadio_mie_nishi/index.php?p=887)
so that it can eventually host an MLB exhibition game.

This, according to ExtraTimeBrasil, an online sports journal with
contributors from the major Brazilian media outlets as well as ESPN
Brasil. You can see the article (in Portuguese) here:

http://extratime.uol.com.br/exclusivo-mlb-planeja-reformar-estadio-em-sao-paulo-para-organizar-um-jogo-no-brasil/

Also announced this week is a lecture in São Paulo by Martin Brunner, who
was instrumental in starting a baseball academy in Germany 10 years ago
that has since produced 10 professionally signed(w/ MLB teams) European
players. He’s specifically going to be speaking to local Brazilian Nikkey
clubs about how to set up academies and attract the funding for doing so.

The Confederação Brasileira de Beisebol e Softbol (CBBS) is hosting this
lecture. Link (in Portuguese): http://www.cbbs.com.br/noticias.php?id=5863

Also understand that MLB now has twice the size of a viewership rating than the NBA does in Brazil. Amazing when you consider the NBA has had Brazilians playing in its league for a longer period of time than MLB has. No doubt, Brazil’s success in the WBC, along with the sudden of emergence of Yan Gomes and Andre Rienzo, have helped stimulate interest among Brazilians.

December 13, 2013

Historic Broadcast For 20th Annual Brazil (Baseball) Cup This Weekend

Filed under: Baseball in Brazil — Andy @ 11:44 am

Broadcast partner for Brazilian Baseball - Travinha TV

This weekend is the XX Taça Brazil (20th Annual Brazil Cup), taking place at the Mie Nishe municipal baseball stadium in São Paulo, and pitting the top adult baseball club teams in Brazil against one another in a tournament-style championship that this year stands to feature an unprecedented number of current and former pro players, most of whom play in MLB minor league organizations.

This year’s tournament also happens to be the first time a CBBS-associated club tournament will be televised. Though you’ll only be able to see it online (it will not be on local television), it means that anyone in the world can watch the games, which start at 8:30AM local time tomorrow (Saturday, December 14) and carries on through Sunday.  Tomorrow’s first game will feature Atibaia vs. Nippon Blue Jays.

Viewers will be able to login via Travinha TV’s website at: www.travinhatv.com.br/aovivo. Current MLB players Yan Gomes and Andre Rienzo will be supporting the telecast as analysts for the play-by-play team (in Portuguese, of course).

Travinha TV, out of the Rio Grande do Sul state, already has experience televising baseball games, as they have covered a number of amateur Liga Gaucha games in the last two years, as well as televise this year’s Brazilian National Amateur and Beginner’s Baseball Tournament in Ibiúna.

Players who are expected to participate include Leonardo Reginatto (TB), Rafael Moreno (BAL), Thyago Vieira, Pedro Okuda, Felipe Talos, Daniel Missaki, Felipe Burin (SEA) and Lucas Rojo (PHI). Other former minor leaguers such as Jean Tome and Brazil national team veterans such as Juan Muniz will also be playing, along with some new, up-and-coming young players you haven’t heard of yet.

This is truly the first real opportunity that the rest of the world, and even the rest of Brazil, will have to watch the best baseball Brazil has to offer, so take advantage of it!

November 18, 2013

Brazilian Baseball Update – Nov, 18, 2013

Filed under: Baseball in Brazil — Andy @ 12:30 pm

Lucas Fornelli, Londrina - photo credit: CBBS

Here’s a quick wrap up of all the cool things going on in the world of baseball over the last few weeks. We’ll start with the CBBS Nikkey club action:

Londrina wins another U14 Nikkey tournament with its win of the 41st Annual Brazilian Baseball Championship. Lucas Fornelli and Gabriel Maciel were virtually interchangeable at shortstop and pitcher for Londrina, which beat Marilia 3-2 in the final game. Both Fornelli and Maciel took home all kinds of hardware from the tournament.

Presidente Prudente wins the 66th Annual U15 Brazilian Inter-Club Baseball Championship. Lucas Mifane, Hugo Prevedel and Rodrigo Takahashi all had a big tournament for Presidente Prudente, which beat Guarulhos 6-5 in the final game.

The 20th Annual Adult Brazil Baseball Cup is in full swing. First weekend’s action included current champion Atibaia and Anhanguera going 1-0, and Nippon Blue Jays, GECEBS and Marilia going 1-1. More games to follow this weekend.

Marília wins the 30th Annual U12 Brazilian Inter-Club Baseball Championship. 20 teams participated in the tournament that was held in Maringá this past weekend. Be on the lookout for João Victor Sequeira da Silva Lima, of Marilia, who won both Most Valuable Pitcher and Player awards.

Over in the independent leagues, lots of action happening as well:

Underdogs wins both the Liga Paulista de Beisebol and 2013 National Amateur Tournament. With both these wins, Underdogs effectively have a “hat trick” for 2013, as they also won the Liga São Paulo de Beisebol championship earlier this year. Also of note was that the games from the National Amateur Tournament were televised online via Travinha Esportes. The LSPB Facebook page still seems to be the most current source of information on all of the São Paulo-based independent leagues and tourneys.

Liga Curitibana de Beisebol playoffs wrap this weekend. I’m personally rooting for Sushiyama. More info on their Facebook page.

October 23, 2013

Brazilian Baseball Update, Oct 23. 2013

Filed under: Baseball in Brazil — Andy @ 10:30 am

Team Brazil at S. American Championships - photo credit: Nikkei Portal

Brazilian baseball continues at full throttle! Still so much going on, and more to come in the world of baseball in Brazil. Here’s my attempt to review what’s been going on in the last month:

- Yan Gomes becomes first Brazilian-born player to appear in the MLB playoffs. Yes, the Yanimal was instrumental in getting Cleveland into the playoffs. Though it was only a one game playoff against Tampa Bay that they lost, it was still a huge milestone for both Yan and Brazilian baseball. Also, early indications suggest that Yan will start at catcher for the Indians next season.

- Paulo Orlando is a big contributor on the Triple A Champion Omaha Stormchasers. Orlando has had a bumpy ride the last few seasons in the minors after having been a Texas League All-Star back in 2010.  Then, he turned in a strong showing at the end of last year in the WBC, got injured this spring, slowly worked his way back into the Omaha lineup, and ended up being a significant part of their postseason. Orlando is now with Cardenales de Lara in the Venezuelan Winter League, hitting .258 in the first 8 games of the season.

- Brazil comes in 2nd place at the South American Adult Baseball Championships. Brazil lost a close one to Argentina to take 2nd place at the 12th edition of this tournament, which took place in Chile at the end of September. Brazil’s team featured current pro minor league players Lucas Rojo (PHI) and Felipe Talos (SEA), as well as ex- U.S. minor leaguers Jean Tome, Fabio Murakami and Marcel Vianna.

- CBBS concludes the Los Angeles Dodgers-sponsored youth “João Nakaei” tournaments. Nippon Blue Jays won the U-14 category and Pereira Barreto won the U-12 category of the annual Champions’ Club Cup tournament.

- Marília continues to dominate the CBBS with its U-17 win over Ibiúna to take the 55th Annual Brazilian Baseball Inter-Club Championships. Both of the teams are powerhouses, but Marília has definitely held its own lately. Be on the lookout for Caic Nonoyama, who was the MVP of this tournament and also played for the national team at the S. American championships.

- The 12th Annual Brazilian National Baseball Tournament will take place the 9th-17th of November. This tournament brings together the “amateur” and “beginner” club teams from all over the country to compete.

- MLB will hold preliminary workouts in Brazil November 5th through 8th for the Upcoming Elite Camp in February, 2014.  Tryouts will be held in Marilia, Londrina, Curitiba and Ibiuna.

- The Liga Paulista de Beisebol concludes this weekend. Piracicaba, Under Dogs, Wild Eagles and Farmime are all in the mix for the semi finals and finals.

September 18, 2013

Brazilian Baseball Update – September 18, 2013

Filed under: Baseball in Brazil — Andy @ 6:56 pm

Rienzo vs. Gomes - photo courtesy of Youtube

There’s just more and more to talk about with respect to baseball in Brazil and Brazilians in baseball. The sport is growing in leaps and bounds both in the country, and with the guys that are coming out of there.

No where has it been more front and center than with the budding rivalry between Cleveland Indians super-utility player Yan Gomes, and Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Andre Rienzo. They were battery mates for Barry Larkin’s Brazilian national team in the World Baseball Classic qualifying round last year, when they upset the hugely favored Panamanian team in Panama. Now, they are playing for American League Central division rivals, and in the case of Gomes is jockeying for a spot in the playoffs. Who could have predicted things would have played out for both of these guys like this?

Then there’s Paulo Orlando, the veteran minor league outfielder who got another shot with the Triple A Omaha Stormchasers (Kansas City Royals organization) this season after coming back from injury. He took that opportunity and just helped Omaha win the Pacific Coast League Championship last night.

Coming right behind Orlando is Leonardo Reginatto, who had an incredible first full Single A season in the Tampa Bay organization. Reginatto hit .325 with a .780 OPS, and was equally remarkable in the field, playing second base, short stop, third base, left field and centerfield for the Bowling Green Hot Rods.

There are other Brazilians who are beginning to make their mark in MLB organizations. Pitcher Rafael Moreno had a great season in the Dominican Summer League for the Baltimore Orioles, going 7-2 with a 1.23 ERA and 1.11 WHIP in 14 starts. Moreno also had 63 strikeouts to 16 walks in 80.2 innings pitched. By the way, Moreno is only 18 years old.

Felipe Talos did well in his second season with the Seattle Mariners Venezuelan Summer League team, hitting .266 with a .759 OPS in 44 games, mostly in the outfield. Fellow Mariner farmhand Thyago Vieira had a solid season at Single A Everett, going 4-5 with a 3.84 ERA and 1.38 WHIP in 13 games started.  Lucas Rojo put together another solid season for the Phillies’ Venezuelan Summer League squad, hitting .260 in 181 at bats with a .793 OPS (including 10 doubles, 2 triples and 7 home runs).

All of this pro baseball experience has allowed Brazil to field some fairly veteran teams in international competition recently. Take, for instance, the Brazilian national squad that is in Chile this week for the South American Baseball Championships. At least five of the players on that team play or have played in U.S. pro organizations.

Meanwhile, the CBBS-affiliated Nikkey clubs have enjoyed a resurgence of interest and talent in their ranks. These teams, and the tournaments they participate in, have attracted more attention from MLB teams and sponsorship from local and foreign businesses. For example, the Los Angeles Dodgers are now sponsoring the annual João Nakaie Club Champions Cup tournaments this month for the U12 to U15 age groups. Not surprising since Bob Engle, who is now the Director of International Scouting for the Dodgers, held the same position for the Mariners for many years, and also had Seattle sponsor one of the annual CBBS youth tournaments.

Speaking of recent CBBS tournaments, back in July the powerhouse Nippon Blue Jays won the 17th Annual Brazil Baseball Club U12 category. Nippon Blue Jays catcher Thales Iamamura was voted MVP of the tournament and had 6 stolen bases.

In August, Atibaia beat Marilia to win the 67th Annual Brazilian Baseball Championships in the adult category. The championships featured former minor leaguers Jean Tome (Atibaia) and Fabio Murakami (Marilia). Pitcher Lucas Tadakoro of Atibaia was voted MVP of the championship.

This past weekend, Guarulhos won the U15 edition of the João Nakaie tournament, with its pitcher Leonardo Villas Boas Oliveira taking home the MVP and Best Pitcher awards while hitting .778.

Now over to the independent leagues, which have been growing in size and interest as well. Last month the Liga São Paulo de Beisebol (LSPB) played its final championship games in front of 732 fans at Estadio Mie Nishe in São Paulo. I’m not 100% certain, but I am guessing that is the largest crowd to ever watch a LSPB game, and the league is only 2 years old! The aptly named Underdogs took home the championship that day.  The game was also broadcast online by STI Esportes, and last week the LSPB introduced a course to teach anyone interested how to use a baseball statistic mobile app. called Game Changer, so it’s great to see how technology is moving the game forward in Brazil. Speaking of which, if you haven’t liked the LSPB on their Facebook page, you should do so as they have really loaded it up with great news and information about the league.

Over in the Liga Paulista de Beisebol, Piracicaba is well positioned at the top of the standings as the league wraps up its regular season and goes into playoff mode. Again, you should like them on Facebook if you haven’t already done so.

In the south of Brazil, the Liga Curitibana de Beisebol is now in its 7th round, with Sushiyama on top of the standings. Great information about the league, including the recent announcement that the city of Curitiba will be upgrading the municipal baseball stadium, can be found on their Facebook page.

Last but not least, the Liga Gaucha de Beisebol (LGB) wrapped up its season last Sunday with a win by Farrapos over Ivoti Phoenix. Ivoti had been the champion of the Rio Grande do Sul state baseball championship the previous two seasons, but this season belonged to Farrapos, one of the founding teams of the LGB. Although the LGB does not have its own Facebook page or website, you can visit the Farrapos Facebook page or Twitter feed to read more about it.

August 12, 2013

Embrace the Brazilian Passion, Chicago…Some Are Reading Too Deep Into Andre Rienzo’s First 3 Starts

Filed under: Baseball in Brazil, Baseball in the USA — Andy @ 7:18 pm

photo courtesy of zimbio.com

“The Emotional Brazilian” is now playing in Chicago, which is both a blessing and a curse for rookie White Sox pitcher Andre Rienzo.  On the one hand, Rienzo has made so much history for his native Brazilian baseball community just by donning a major league uniform. The vast majority of the MLB baseball watching universe, however (including South Side fans) understandably lack the context of what his call up to the Big Leagues has meant for a small but hard-core sport in Brazil. Frankly, they don’t care as much about that. White Sox fans want Rienzo to win, and any slight deviation from the seemingly required “stoicism” that a major league starter is expected to exhibit is cause for a wee bit of concern.

Regardless of where he’s from, Rienzo is a highly rated rookie breaking into the White Sox rotation, and taking Jake Peavy’s spot at that. Thus, Rienzo is going to be probed and scrutinized by legions of White Sox followers no matter what. That’s well understood.

But how entertaining is it to sit back and watch people nitpick over at TOTAL of 18.1 big league innings, 13 of which came against top-of-division teams Detroit and Cleveland, where only 2 earned runs total were given up?

I can appreciate how his performance on Saturday against Minnesota, in which he gave up a bunch of doubles and a couple home runs, was attributed to his “excitable-ness”. Dude, the guy is 25 years old and from the other side of the world. Cut him a break if he has one letdown game in his first three major league starts ever. It’s not like Minnesota has a completely crappy lineup (despite their crappy record this year).

Yes, Rienzo shows fire and grit on the mound, and yes: he wears his emotion on his sleeve. Yes, he’s Brazilian, and Brazilians are generally vivacious people, but that’s what happens when you have the best Carnaval and soccer team in the world, among other things (disclaimer, I grew up for a number of years in Brazil and wouldn’t trade in a Brazilian for anyone else:)).

Granted, Rienzo’s emotions may cost him a bit on a big league mound down the road. He may continue to be cursed with walks, hitters may think he’s showing them up, ordinary Midwestern folks will continue to not understand the “Latin Flare”, etc., but so what? The White Sox have been dull since Ozzie Guillen left.

I don’t think there’s any question that Rienzo knows when he’s ON, and he can get himself there, otherwise he wouldn’t have made it this far. Rienzo has the ability to mix speeds and locations well enough to make some of the better hitters in baseball whiff. That was apparent when he deftly lured Prince Fielder into flailing at junk to end an inning with runners on, in his second career MLB start.

Something else to keep in mind, oh you Cook County fretting thumb twirlers: One cannot emphasize enough what it did for Rienzo to play for Hall Of Famer Barry Larkin, in the WBC, for his home country this past off season. The fact that Rienzo was tasked to pitch in the first ever WBC appearance for Brazil, against Panama, in Panama, with a lineup featuring Carlos Lee, Ruben Tejada and Carlos Ruiz (and Brazil won, twice against Panama and once against Colombia to go 3-0), was such a maturing experience for a young man who only a year prior was pitching in Class A.

Indeed, Rienzo’s ascension up through Single A, then to Double A and then to Triple A, was also due to some great streaks where he just simply dominated hitters, many he had gotten more than one opportunity to face. Rienzo’s demonstrated to be the kind of pitcher that, once he’s been around for a little while, knows how to get people out. Major league hitters may learn him, but he’ll learn all of them as well, and good pitching beats good hitting almost every time.

So, all you Chicagoans, grab a caipirinha and chill the ‘eff out, you may be watching the evolution of a real good pitcher, if given the time and right guidance!

Falou,

- Andy

July 30, 2013

Brazil Baseball Update = History Continues To Be Made With Rienzo vs Gomes!

Filed under: Baseball in Brazil, Baseball in the USA — Andy @ 9:11 pm

Andre Rienzo - photo credit: baseball america

Every time I write about baseball in Brazil, there is just more and more and more cool stuff to write about. Take tonight, for instance: Andre Rienzo became the first Brazilian to pitch in MLB. Yes, we’ve been tracking Andre for a while now and have seen him do his thing in person (in the WBC qualifiers in Panama last year).

Coming off a no hitter in Triple A last week, Rienzo was called up yesterday by the White Sox when they were all but ready to trade out Jake Peavy. Chicago scratched Peavy from the start and gave Rienzo the rock, and Rienzo delivered. Other than a couple of walks that lead to some unearned runs, Rienzo was virtually flawless: 7 innings with 6 K’s and 0 earned runs.

Of course, as if Cristo Redentor deemed it so, on the other side of the field tonight was Rienzo’s Brazil national team battery mate, The Yanimal. Yan Gomes not only got a knock off Rienzo, but then closed the game with a bang for the Indians with an RBI double.

Rienzo vs. Gomez part I – credit espn.com.br

Thus, the first MLB showdown between two Brazilians concluded, and history was made.  And it wasn’t just some ho-hum appearance by both guys; it was like Nene banging against Splitter, or maybe Neymar going against Kaka? Maybe not that big, but for those who care about baseball in Brazil, it was big enough.

I started this blog in January 2010, with the hope that I would someday see Brazilian baseball players burst on in to the MLB scene, with legions of batucada oozing Brazilian fans right behind them. Well, the players have started to show up, sooner than I honestly imagined, now I’m waiting for the batucada in Cleveland, Chicago, Tampa, KC, Seattle and other MLB cities where you’re probably going to start seeing Brazilian players pop up on the big league roster in the near future.

O NOVO jogo bonito…valeu!

July 8, 2013

Brazil Baseball Update – July 8, 2013

Filed under: Baseball in Brazil — Andy @ 5:56 pm

photo credit - LSPB Facebook Page - just loved the name

No matter what you want to say about Brazil: World Cup and Olympic corruption, nation wide protests over bus fare hikes, soccer referees getting drawn/quartered/decapitated, etc., every day gets better and better in the world of Brazilian baseball.

Of course we have to start with the Yanimal. Yan Gomes has gone through the ups and downs of half an MLB season and has weathered the storms and sunshine quite well. Going into tonight, Gomes is hitting .280 and an .829 OPS in 119 at bats. In addition he has a .996 fielding percentage behind the plate and has thrown out 10 runners to 8 stolen bases against. Gomes is a big reason the Indians are in the hunt for the AL Central, ask Tito.

More good news is that Triple A pitcher (CWS) Andre Rienzo is returning to form. In the last 10 games he’s started, Rienzo is 4-4 with a 2.26 ERA and 1.01 WHIP and 63 strikeouts in 63.2 innings pitched. Rienzo was also voted to the Futures Games and pitched the first complete game of his career yesterday.

Then there is Leonardo Reginatto, who is tearing up Single A with a .311 batting average, a .726 OPS and 39 runs scored in 257 at bats. Reginatto’s also been great in the field, as noted by this nifty play that almost got him injured last night.

Back in Brazil, Ibiúna continues its domination of the local baseball circuit by winning the 15th Annual Brazilian Interclub Championships U-17 age group, with a victory in the finals over the other Nikkey club heavyweight, Nippon Blue Jays. Be on the look out for the tournament’s best pitcher Vitor Yassunaga, home run king Vitor Souza dos Santos, best defensive player Nicholas Ito and best player of the tournament Kazuo Takayama. More info on the tournament results can be found on the CBBS website.

Over in the Liga São Paulo de Beisebol, playoffs start next weekend at the famed Mie Nishi Stadium in central São Paulo. More info on that can be found on the LSPB’s FB page. There are some great action photos of the LSPB season posted, by the way.

The Liga Paulista de Beisebol is being completely dominated by Piracicaba at the moment, and pressing on through a number of rain-outs. Still in the regular season, you can continue to track its progress on their FB page.

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