Davey Johnson and Derek Jeter to lead Team USA in 2009 World Baseball Classic
Johnson a bench coach in 2006; Jeter making second World Baseball Classic appearance; Tommy Lasorda named Global Ambassador
The announcement was part of an overall presentation at the Winter Meetings by WBCI, Major League Baseball (MLB), the MLB Players Association (MLBPA), and the International Baseball Federation (IBAF) to build excitement for the upcoming tournament in March.
Johnson was a bench coach for the U.S. in the 2006 World Baseball Classic, and he has also managed five other USA Baseball Professional Teams, most recently the 2008 U.S. Olympic Baseball Team that took home the bronze medal from Beijing in August. The former Major League All-Star, World Series-winning manager and player, first managed for Team USA in 2005 at the IBAF Baseball World Cup in the Netherlands.
Jeter started for Team USA in the 2006 Classic earning 'All-World Team' honors at shortstop with a.455 tournament average. Team USA finished sixth in the inaugural tournament, with a 3-3 overall record. Jeter is entering his 15th season with the New York Yankees.
Team USA begins tournament play on March 5, 2009 at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Canada as a member of Pool C. The U.S. will be joined in the first round by host Canada, Italy and Venezuela.
Johnson and Jeter were joined at the announcement by Bob DuPuy, MLB President and COO; Don Fehr, Executive Director of the MLBPA; Paul Archey, MLB Sr. VP of International Business Operations; Doyle Pryor, Assistant General Counsel; and Dr. Harvey Schiller, President of the IBAF. The baseball industry leaders spoke about the increased globalization of the game, the international vision of their respective organizations and details about the upcoming March 2009 event, including tickets sales, web presence and training camps.
DuPuy also introduced Hall of Famer, two-time World Series-winning Manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers and 2000 U.S. Olympic Baseball Team Manager Tommy Lasorda as Global Tournament Ambassador for the World Baseball Classic. A leading figure in international baseball, Lasorda has either played or managed in 14 of the 16 participating countries. He was recognized earlier this month by the Emperor of Japan with the 'Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette' for his contributions to Japanese baseball.
About World Baseball Classic, Inc.
World Baseball Classic, Inc. is a company created at the direction of Major League Baseball (MLB) and the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) to operate the World Baseball Classic tournament. The tournament, which is sanctioned by the International Baseball Federation (IBAF), is supported by MLB, the MLBPA, Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB), the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO), their respective players associations and other leagues and players from around the world.
About the World Baseball Classic
The World Baseball Classic is the premier international baseball tournament, sanctioned by the International Baseball Federation, and features the best players in the world competing for their home countries and territories. In March 2006, 486 players (235 of them from MLB organizations) representing 16 teams from across the globe competed in the inaugural event. More than 740,000 fans from 48 states and 15 countries attended games (16 of which sold out) and millions more watched on TV as Team Japan was crowned the first-ever World Baseball Classic Champion. The inaugural tournament was broadcast by 48 media outlets in 10 languages to 205 countries and territories around the world. Media members representing 25 different nations attended the 39 games in seven host venues across three countries/territories. The upcoming World Baseball Classic will be played from March 5 - 23 and will again feature 16 of the greatest baseball-playing nations in the world. The tournament will be held every four years thereafter, with plans in place to expand the participant field beginning in 2013.