Curto, Tacoma Rainiers

Former Rainiers Playing In The World Baseball Classic

The World Baseball Classic starts tonight, with pool play opening up in Taiwan. These games will be fun to watch, as we get some highly competitive baseball instead of the usual spring training doldrums.

Spurred into action by Rainiers PR man Paul Braverman, I compiled a list of former Tacoma Rainiers players who are on World Baseball Classic rosters. These players appeared on the initial WBC rosters which were released nearly a month ago, and there may have been some changes since then. It was a fun little project – particularly when I saw some former Rainiers from long ago listed as WBC coaches.

The teams are listed in the order they were on the MLB website, which I think was organized by pool. Here are our ex-Rainiers:

Chinese Taipei: bullpen coach Chien-Ming Wang

Netherlands: OF Wladimir Balentien, coach Eugene Kingsale

Cuba: Roenis Elias

Italy: Matt Festa, Sam Gaviglio, Vinny Nittoli

Panama: coach Julio Mosquera

Japan: none

Korea: none

Australia: Blake Townsend

China: none

Czech Republic: none

USA: Kendall Graveman, hitting coach Ken Griffey Jr

Mexico: Oliver Perez, Taijuan Walker, pitching coach Horacio Ramirez

Columbia: Nabil Crismatt, Tito Polo

Canada: Matt Brash, Abraham Toro, Tyler O’Neill

Great Britain: none (current Rainiers hitting coach Brad Marcelino is on the coaching staff)

Puerto Rico: Emilio Pagan, Hector Santiago, coach Alex Cintron

Venezuela: none

Dominican Republic: Jean Segura, Ketel Marte, coach Ramon Santiago

Israel: Zack Weiss, Ty Kelly

Nicaragua: Erasmo Ramirez, JC Ramirez, Alex Blandino

OK, who guessed that it would be Italy and Nicaragua that have the most former Rainiers who are playing, with three each? I was stunned to see that there are no former Rainiers on the Venezuela roster, even double-checked but still came up empty.

Special blog shout-out to 38-year-old Wladimir Balentien, who is on the active roster for the Netherlands. He played for the Rainiers in 2007 and 2008 – fifteen years ago!

Things will start picking up around here soon. I’ve got a spring training trip booked two weeks from now, and there will be daily posts when I get there as we gear up for opening day. Rainiers season starts early this year, with the season opener at Oklahoma City on March 31, and the home opener at Cheney Stadium just a couple days later on April 4.


Related Articles