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The WBC in a nutshell: Panamanian pitcher wants to play for China

Jan 16, 2013, 8:53 AM EDT

bruce chen getty Getty Images

Despite a lot of people assuming that he’s Asian based on the name, Bruce Chen is second generation Panamanian. But he wants to pitch for China in the WBC. Which is leading to some logistical issues, reports Pete Grathoff of the KC Star:

Any questions about a player’s eligibility for a country must be cleared by the World Baseball Classic, Inc. Chen was asked to present his birth certificate, along with his parents’ and his grandparents’.

“It was very difficult,” Chen said. “I’m talking about 60, 70 years ago, and we cannot find the Chinese one. That’s in China, 70 years ago, I don’t even know how they recorded that. When they moved to Panama, they were not thinking, ‘Let me bring my birth certificate from China.’

Chen pitched for Panama for the past two WBCs.

I’m not the biggest WBC fan, but I kind of like this aspect of it. If I was a baseball player I’d get to pick (presumably) between team USA, team Ireland, team England, team Romania — they have that, right? — and depending on whether mere names as opposed to actual blood was enough, team Italy (it’s complicated).

Probably have to go with team Romania. That would probably be the most fun team.

  1. Al - Jan 16, 2013 at 9:08 AM

    Craig, are you saying you’re not actually Italian? I feel so misled.

    • Craig Calcaterra - Jan 16, 2013 at 9:14 AM

      Was it my swarthy complexion which misled you?

      (truth: my dad, of Irish/Romanian extraction was adopted by his mom’s second husband, a guy named Calcaterra; if he had not been adopted, I would be Craig McIntyre. Really.)

  2. csndrew - Jan 16, 2013 at 9:11 AM

    Bruce Chen has pitched for every team in the majors, so he wants to pitch for every country in the world. Seems legit.

    • rocketsteadman - Jan 16, 2013 at 9:32 AM

      Bruce Chen, International Man of Mystery?

  3. tfbuckfutter - Jan 16, 2013 at 9:31 AM

    Can we please get them to change the name from Team USA to Team America: Fuck Yeah!

    • flosox - Jan 16, 2013 at 9:39 AM

      That’ll cost you a Buck O’ Five…

  4. flosox - Jan 16, 2013 at 9:40 AM

    So, Craig, are you saying that Team USA should really only consist of Jacoby Ellsbury?

  5. jkcalhoun - Jan 16, 2013 at 11:35 AM

    Desperately seeking contact information for Team Magyar. Anyone?

    • jwbiii - Jan 16, 2013 at 3:28 PM

      Team Magyar is currently ranked #63 in the world, just below Romania (#62) and Ireland (#61).
      http://www.ibaf.org/en/world-ranking.aspx?type=1

      Contact them at
      Lehel u. 11.
      H-1134, Budapest
      tel. +36-209-434-678
      web http://www.baseball.hu
      e-mail mobssz@googlegroups.com, info@baseball.hu

      Best of luck!

      • jkcalhoun - Jan 16, 2013 at 6:52 PM

        Outstanding. Thanks very much.

        Now if only I can impress them more favorably than Brian Wilson impressed the Mets.

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