International Herald Tribune
The Associated Press
Published: January 13, 2009
LAUSANNE, Switzerland: Cuba is No. 1 — in the International Baseball Federation's first rankings.
South Korea, which beat Cuba for the gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, finished second on the list released Tuesday. The United States was third in a ranking system that assigned points based on finishes in sanctioned events over the last four years, or in a period that includes two IBAF Baseball World Cups.
In addition to its silver at the Olympics, Cuba won the World Cup in 2005 and finished second to the United States in '07. It also finished second to Japan, No. 4 in the rankings, in the inaugural World Baseball Classic in 2006. The next classic will be played in March.
Taiwan was fifth, followed by the Netherlands, Canada, Mexico, Panama and Australia.
"The IBAF is long overdue for World Rankings," IBAF president Harvey Schiller said. "The level of competition worldwide grows stronger every year, and we need to begin to recognize the federations that are fielding teams and performing well, whether it is in an intercontinental tournament or a World Cup."
The rankings were developed with Scott Goode, a sports information director at Harding University in Arkansas. Events are weighted for importance with the Olympics, World Cup and World Baseball Classic getting more credit than junior and continental tournaments.
The rankings are for promoting the federation's teams and will not necessarily be used for tournament seedings or organizing events.