CPBL's Scott Richmond and Mike DeMark to Compete on the World Stage at the 2017 WBC

With 22 of the 28 players on the Taiwanese national team for the upcoming World Baseball Classic coming from the local CPBL, the league will be well represented when the tournament kicks off on March 6. Two other current CPBL players will also be representing their respected countries in the global competition: Uni Lions' freshly signed closer Mike DeMark, as well as 2016 CPBL champion and Fubon Guardians RHP Scott Richmond.

Wearing Canada's colors is nothing new for the former member of the Toronto Blue Jays. Richmond has played in many senior-level tournaments for the red and white: the 2007 Baseball World Cup, the 2008 Olympic qualifiers, the 2009 WBC, the 2015 Premier12 and both the 2011 and 2015 Pan American Games gold medal-winning squads. 

"My best memory playing for Canada came in 2011 at the Pan Am Games in Guadalajara, Mexico," the 6'5'' Richmond explains. "I closed out the game, going 2.2 innings against the USA and winning Canada's first-ever senior men's gold."

Richmond pitching for the 2016
CPBL champion EDA Rhinos
(now the Fubon Guardians)

But even for a 37-year-old who has accomplished so much in his professional and international careers, playing for the Canadian national team in this year's WBC is still an extraordinarily special opportunity for Richmond. 

"To represent Canada again on the biggest stage the sport has to offer is once again a dream come true," the B.C.-born hurler confessed. "It means so much to me. Not only because it's the best of the best, but because of the path I took to get there. I just hope that it can help inspire kids that don't throw 95-plus and hit homers all the time to work hard and keep trying to improve everyday and good things can happen. People are always watching, and with what Canadian baseball has done over the past decade, more and more schools and scouts are looking in Canada for talent."

DeMark, born in the American state of Pennsylvania, will represent the Italian national team thanks to his Italian heritage. The newest CPBL import player understands the patriotic opportunity that playing in the biggest international baseball competition offers. 

"I'm very excited to compete In the WBC," the closer said. "I do take tremendous pride in being able to represent my family's heritage and represent my family's name in the Classic for Team Italy. It is like being asked to be in the Olympics and I can't wait for the experience."

Having their new closer, who was basically unhittable in the Atlantic League before signing last month, gain the experience that the WBC offers can only be beneficial for a Lions team that will be looking to improve on a disappointing 2016 season.

"As far as how it will prepare me for the season, well I believe competing at the highest level can only help in my prep for the season to come with the Lions," DeMark told CPBL English. "It will give me an opportunity to pitch against the best of the best and any opportunity to pitch before I come over to Taiwan for the season will be great to get me ready and help bring a championship to the organization."

Team Canada will take on Pool C competitors the Dominican Republic, Columbia and the United States in Miami beginning on March 9. Team Italy finds itself in Pool D with Puerto Rico, Mexico and Venezuela. Those games will kick off March 9 as well but in Mexico.


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