Starting Thursday, four teams will vie for the final spot in next year’s World Baseball Classic.
If a Great Britain player rounds third base, play close attention to who is waving him home. You might catch a glimpse of St. Mary’s High School baseball coach Bill Percy.
Percy was asked to help coach Great Britain by manager Liam Carroll, a friend of Percy’s.
The Pirates coach spent a couple weeks helping Great Britain in the European Championships. He hasn’t made it home yet, as he’s stuck around the club which will take part in a run to the Classic’s final tournament.
Wednesday night, he and the rest of the Great Britain ball club stood in Times Square and belted out “God Save the Queen.”
Yep, Percy knew the words. His background is English-Canadian.
“You trace my bloodlines I have a lot of English blood in me,” Percy said, joking that he has no intention of becoming an ex-pat.
The other three teams playing this weekend are Brazil (managed by Barry Larkin), Israel (coach by Rockies Offensive Coordinator Jerry Weinstein) and Pakistan.
Pakistan opens the tournament against Brazil. Great Britain takes on Israel at 5 p.m. MDT. The games will be streamed on MLB.com for free.
The tournament is taking place at MCU Park in Brooklyn.
The championship game is Sunday at 4 p.m. The winner will play in South Korea in March.
One of Percy’s fellow assistants: None other than longtime San Diego Padres closer Trevor Hoffman, he of 601 saves, second most all time.
No surprise, but Hoffman’s the team’s pitching coach.
“It’s humbling,” Percy said. “I’ve been around pro guys before and coached guys in the big leagues years ago. … This is clearly the biggest stage. It’s a little eye-opening at first. It’s rewarding. I’m just kind of taking it all in and enjoying the moments.”