The guys at Camden Depot are producing a nice series that examines the teams in the World Baseball Classic -- not so much an examination of the rosters but a history of baseball in the country as well as a record of their play in international tournaments. They've done six in there series so far. Check out the reports:
Brazil: Jon Shepherd has an interesting history of baseball in Brazil and how the sport grew differently from other countries in Latin and South America. Only one Brazilian has made the major leagues so far, but the Blue Jays and Rays are two teams starting to invest resources.
Australia: I've always wondered why baseball has gained a small bit of popularity in Australia while remaining essentially non-existent in England (cricket, after all, is popular in both countries). Apparently baseball was brought to Australia in the 1850s by American gold miners. Anyway, Australia won the silver medal at the 2004 Olympics but hasn't fared well in the previous two WBCs.
Canada: The Canadians don't have much pitching, especially with Ryan Dempster undecided about playing, but with Joey Votto, Justin Morneau, Brett Lawrie, Michael Saunders and Russell Martin, maybe they can pull off an upset or two.
Cuba: The Cubans went 4-2 in the 2009 WBC and 5-3 in 2006, losing to Japan in the final. As Yoenis Cespedes showed in his rookie performance with the A's, there is still a lot of talent on the island, although defections from the likes of Jorge Soler and Yasiel Puig will hurt the national team's future.
Puerto Rico: As you may be aware, Puerto Rico isn't producing as much elite talent as it once did. Jon looks into what has happened.
United States: The U.S. is just 7-7 in WBC play. R.A. Dickey, Ryan Vogelsong and Gio Gonzalez lead the pitching staff this year, with Giancarlo Stanton, Adam Jones and Joe Mauer among the position players.