The long-awaited and much-anticipated announcement of a baseball World-Cup style tournament is expected this week, but Page 2 can't wait to wonder what would happen.
So let's peak into the famous Page 2 crystal ball, which we purchased from a group of Hungarian gypsies a couple years ago, to see how such a tournament may unfold. We've listed 22-man rosters for prominent countries ... and, yes, Manny Ramirez, while born in the Dominican, elected to play for the U.S. squad.
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SS Derek Jeter
1B Todd Helton
3B Alex Rodriguez
DH Barry Bonds
LF Manny Ramirez
RF Gary Sheffield
CF Jim Edmonds
C Jason Varitek
2B Mark Loretta
Starting pitchers: Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson, Jason Schmidt, Ben Sheets
Bullpen: Brad Lidge, Joe Nathan, Billy Wagner, Tim Hudson, Dontrelle Willis
Bench: Scott Rolen, Adam Dunn, Brian Roberts, Joe Mauer
2B Alfonso Soriano
SS Miguel Tejada
1B Albert Pujols
DH David Ortiz
CF Vladimir Guerrero
RF Sammy Sosa
3B Aramis Ramirez
LF Jose Guillen
C Miguel Olivo
Starting pitchers: Pedro Martinez, Bartolo Colon, Odalis Perez, Miguel Batista
Bullpen: Francisco Cordero, Guillermo Mota, Armando Benitez, Octavio Dotel, Damaso Marte
Bench: Adrian Beltre, Rafael Furcal, Wily Mo Pena, Juan Brito
2B Jose Vidro
C Ivan Rodriguez
CF Carlos Beltran
1B Carlos Delgado
DH Javy Lopez
3B Mike Lowell
RF Jose Cruz Jr.
LF Bernie Williams
SS Alex Cora
Starting pitchers: Javier Vazquez, Joel Pineiro, J.C. Romero, Kiko Calero
Bullpen: Roberto Hernandez, Javier Lopez, Fernando Cabrera, Pedro Feliciano, Juan Padilla
Bench: Jorge Posada, Jose Valentin, Juan Gonzalez, Luis Matos
3B Melvin Mora
2B Carlos Guillen
CF Bobby Abreu
LF Miguel Cabrera
DH Magglio Ordonez
C Victor Martinez
RF Richard Hidalgo
1B Andres Galarraga
SS Omar Vizquel
Starting pitchers: Johan Santana, Carlos Zambrano, Freddy Garcia, Kelvim Escobar
Bullpen: Francisco Rodriguez, Juan Rincon, Jorge Julio, Ugueth Urbina, Wilson Alvarez
Bench: Ramon Hernandez, Edgardo Alfonzo, Cesar Izturis, Juan Rivera
2B Pete Orr
RF Larry Walker
CF Jason Bay
1B Justin Morneau
3B Corey Koskie
DH Matt Stairs
LF Aaron Guiel
SS Danny Klassen
C Cody McKay
Starting pitchers: Rich Harden, Erik Bedard, Jeff Francis, Ryan Dempster
Bullpen: Eric Gagne, Jesse Crain, Paul Quantrill, Rheal Cormier, Aaron Myette
Bench: Simon Pond, Pete LaForest, Stubby Clapp, Rob Ducey
Medal Round matchups
No. 1 United States vs. No. 8 Australia
No. 2 Dominican Republic vs. No. 7 Canada
No. 3 Cuba vs. 6 Puerto Rico
No. 4 Venezuela vs. No. 5 Japan
U.S. 10, Australia 0
Ben Sheets, who pitched the U.S. to a gold medal in the 2000 Olympics, shuts down the Aussies while Manny Ramirez cranks two home runs.
Dominican Republic 6, Canada 3
Saving Pedro Martinez, Odalis Perez draws the start against the heavily left-handed Canadian lineup and matches Rich Harden with zeroes through five. Justin Morneau's three-run homer gives Canada the lead, before the Dominican rallies in the seventh-inning to tie. Eric Gagne enters in the ninth, but after Miguel Tejada and Albert Pujols single, David Ortiz blasts a mammoth 500-foot homer to win it.
Puerto Rico 4, Cuba 3
Javier Vazquez matches up against Livan Hernandez, but Carlos Beltran emerges the hero by hitting two home runs and making two diving catches in the outfield, including a game-saving grab in the bottom of the ninth with two runners on base.
Venezuela 7, Japan 2
Freddy Garcia and two relievers combine for a five-hitter while Miguel Cabrera and Bobby Abreu each hit two-run homers.
Dominican Republic 10, Puerto Rico 9
The Dominicans bypass Pedro Martinez in favor of Bartolo Colon, and while he gets roughed up by Carlos Delgado's two home runs, the Dominicans rally against Puerto Rico's thin pitching staff. Trailing 9-7 in the ninth, the DR wins with Sammy Sosa's two-out, two-run double off J.C. Romero.
Venezuela 1, United States 0
Johan Santana squares off against Randy Johnson -- U.S. skipper Joe Torre opted to hold Roger Clemens for the gold-medal game -- and shuts down the potent U.S. lineup with a four-hit, 13-strikeout performance. Johnson fans 14 and allows only one hit, but it was a long homer from national hero Andres Galarraga.
Dominican Republic 5, Venezuela 4
Pedro Martinez vs. Carlos Zambrano. Pedro fans the first nine batters he faces, but tires by the fifth as Cabrera and Victor Martinez hit home runs for a 2-0 lead. The DR rallies for a 3-2 lead in the seventh as Tejada, Pujols and Ortiz hit consecutive home runs. Pedro's pitch counts reaches 150 by the ninth, but he stays in the game ... and Venezuela takes the lead on Melvin Mora's two-run triple with two outs.
In the bottom of the ninth, Francisco Rodriguez enters for Venezuela. With two outs, Tejada singles and Pujols doubles to put runners on second and third. Ortiz is intentionally walked. Rafael Furcal pinch-runs for Pujols. K-Rod gets ahead of Vlad Guerrero with two nasty, unhittable 95-mph sliders. He throws another in the dirt, it bounces in front of the plate, Guerrero somehow gets his bat on the ball and drills a base hit to center field to score one run as Abreu, owner of one of baseball's strongest arms, fields it cleanly and fires home, Furcal slides in ... just ahead of the tag, and the Dominican Republic wins the first World Cup tournament.
Hmm. I don't know about all of you, but I'm thinking this thing could be pretty cool.
David Schoenfield last wrote about April baseball for Page 2.