Left on Base is MLB FanHouse's link dump.
-- From Bambino to Billy Penn to Billy Goat, we love our curses here in America, particularly when it comes to the national pastime. What you may not know (we sure didn't) is that the Japanese professional baseball isn't immune from this phenomenon. The Hanshin Tigers have won just one championship since 1950, and their current title drought, which stretches back to 1985, is somehow related to a statue of KFC icon Colonel Sanders. Anyway, their long national nightmare, the Curse of Colonel Sanders, might be over. If the video doesn't explain it all, Bats will.
-- One of the great things about the World Baseball Classic is that we get to learn so much about the game internationally. Enter this fascinating New York Times feature about the Cubans. If desire was everything, they'd win the WBC every time. Remember, this is their World Series -- their only chance to prove themselves -- only it comes once every four years. Just don't expect them to be sportsmanlike about it.
-- Geoff Baker of Mariners Blog reports that Phillippe Aumont returned to Mariners camp from the World Baseball Classic, only to find he's not with the big league team. Patience, Phillippe. With stuff like that, your time is coming.
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-- They've been compared since the moment they were drafted, so with Rick Porcello poised to possibly seize a rotation spot, Mike Berardino compares him once more to former World Series MVP Josh Beckett.
-- Shawn Hoffman at Baseball Prospectus addresses the idea of an international draft once again, and surprisingly, at least to me, comes to the conclusion that the system we have now might be ideal.
-- Last but not least, a little bling in the form of Tampa Bay's replica AL Championship ring. The Rays will be handing them out to fans at a home game on April 14.