World Baseball Classic: a bit of MLB within the France team
World Classic Baseball (WBC) has existed since 2006 and is one of the most important international competitions in the discipline. The prestigious Major League Baseball (MLB) being a partner, it allows its players to participate in the event.
The 2017 edition, won by the United States, was thus contested by stars such as the Americans Buster Posey, Paul Goldschmidt, Andrew McCutchen, Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, the Dominicans Adrian Beltre, Robinson Cano, José Bautista or even the Puerto Ricans Yadier Molina, Carlos Correa and Carlos Beltran.
The France team has not yet managed to qualify for the WBC. The Blues are currently in Tucson, Arizona, where they will begin a qualifying tournament from Wednesday. Six teams are in contention, and two of them will advance to the finals. South Africa, Germany, Brazil, Nicaragua and Pakistan will compete with the French.
Bruce Bochy, coach of the Blues, three-time winner of the World Series
Within the tricolor workforce, there will be a bit of MLB. Since December, the France team has been coached by Bruce Bochy, one of the best MLB coaches of the past thirty years. He led the San Diego Padres (1995-2006) and the San Francisco Giants (2007-2019). With these, he won the World Series three times, in 2010, 2012 and 2014. Bochy also took the San Diego team to the final in 1998. He was named top coach of the MLB in 1996.
Aged 64, Bruce Bochy was born in France, in Bussac-Forêt, in the department of Charente-Maritime. His father, a soldier in the US Army, was then stationed in the region.
Two players who have tasted the MLB will also be present in Tucson with the France team. The first is none other than Brett Bochy, the son of the coach of the Blues. The 32-year-old played seven games in two seasons (2014 and 2015), pitching for the San Francisco Giants … coached by his father. He was not credited with any victory. Retired for five years, he agreed to follow his father in qualifying for the World Baseball Classic.
The other player is Alen Hanson (27), who can play second base or shortstop. Born in the Dominican Republic to a French father, he wore the colors of the Pittsburgh Pirates, Chicago White Sox, San Francisco Giants and Toronto Blue Jays, between 2015 and 2019, for a total of 261 matches and 12 homeruns.
Players must be « eligible » for French nationality
Unlike the European Championship, where players must have the nationality of the team for which they are playing, the World Baseball Classic allows the use of so-called “eligible” players, because, in the case of the French team , they have a French parent or were born in France, or because they live in France.
In the ranks of the Blues, we also find the Franco-Cuban Ernesto Wilson Martinez, who plays in the reserve teams of the Milwaukee Brewers, and whose father was a French international, the Franco-Dominican Donato Auguste, who plays in the subsidiaries of the Chicago Cubs, and the American Jason Alexander, whose mother is French, and who appears in the reserves teams of the Los Angeles Angels.
Finally Frédéric Hanvi and Andy Paz, who had signed professional contracts with the Minnesota Twins and the Oakland Athletics – but who have never played in MLB – will also be present at the WBC qualifiers.
The 28 French players selected:
Wrestlers : Ivan Acuna, Dylan Gleeson, Andy Paz.
First baseman : Ernesto Wilson Martinez.
Second baseman : Felix Brown.
Short stops : Alen Hanson, Frédéric Walter.
Third base players : Alexander Perdomo, Ariel Soriano.
Outfield players : Jacques Boucheron, Frédéric Hanvi, Norbert Jongerius, Maël Zan.
Launchers : Jason Alexander, Lilian Amoros, Donato Auguste, Brett Bochy, Leonel Cespedes, Robyn Clara, Yoimer Camacho, Marc-André Habeck, Yorfrank Lopez, Eric Moore, James Murrey, Rayner Oliveros, Owen Ozanich, Ismail Pontiac, Yoann Vaugelade.