Americas Qualifier - 2021 Olympics

So i attended my first baseball game in person today since 2019 when I went to the Venezuela/Cuba game here in WPB that was part of the kickoff of the Americas qualifier for the Tokyo Olympics. About the qualifier and the game today…

  • 8 teams in the qualifier (USA, DR, Cuba, VZ, Colombia, Canada, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico) with 1 team advancing to the Olympics.

  • 4 teams have already qualified for Tokyo: Japan, South Korea, Mexico and Israel. Two more teams will join them (including the one from this qualifier).

  • Games are being played here at the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches and Clover Park in Port St. Lucie

  • A number of the teams (USA and Venezuela for example) are a mixture of ex-MLBers and prospects not on a 40-man roster

  • Cuba has a depleted roster given all the younger players who have defected. NPB vets Alfredo Despaigne and Frederich Cepeda anchor their lineup.

  • Former Astros’ catchers Robinson Chirinos and Carlos Perez are on the VZ squad and were in the starting lineup today batting 4th and 5th respectively with the former behind the plate and the latter DH’ing.

  • Perez was the hitting star as Venezuela defeated Cuba 6-5. Went 3-4 with a homer and 4 RBIs. Chirinos went 1-5 and also had a longball.

  • Based on social media postings, I thought Astros minor leaguers Carlos Machado and Sean Mendoza were also on the Venezuela squad but I don’t see them on the official roster. I assume they may be alternates.

  • Game was sold out though that was based on limited capacity (25% I’m guessing). Crowd was decidedly pro-Cuban. Not a surprise given this is south Florida but I did expect a bigger Venezuelan presence given the huge number of Venezuelan expats who’ve moved to this area in recent years.

  • The usual anti-Cuban regime demonstrations before the game. Many of the Cuban fans wearing Patria y Vida shirts as an opposition statement and as a play on the communist slogan Patria O Muerte. I kept thinking throughout the game that the slogan would have been just as appropriate for the Venezuela fans to be wearing.

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USA beat DR 8-6 tonight to go to 2-0 in the first round and will face winless Puerto Rico tomorrow as Group A play continues. DR is 1-1 and still has a chance to go to the super round (top 2 teams in each group advance).

Venezuela is 2-0 in Group B after beating Colombia this afternoon. Canada leads Cuba 6-3 in the B9 and if they win will join VZ at 2-0.

The DR beat Nicaragua this afternoon and will join USA from Group A in the super round which begins Friday. Venezuela beat Canada this afternoon but both squads still move on to the super round from Group B.

Friday match-ups: USA vs Canada and DR vs VZ.

Saturday games: USA vs VZ and Canada vs DR

The DR spanked VZ today and USA did the same to Canada.

If USA beats VZ tomorrow, they’ll win the qualifier and secure an Olympics berth.

Not baseball but Olympic related.

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USA over VZ 4-2 to advance to Tokyo.

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In the last qualifier held in Mexico this week, the DR topped Venezuela by an 8-5 score in the finals and will join the USA in Tokyo along with the 4 countries above.