The Los Angeles Dodgers hosted Filipino Heritage Night that included a visit from the Philippines National Baseball Team during their series-opening win last Thursday against the Chicago Cubs.
The Philippines National Baseball Team is organized by the Philippine Amateur Baseball Association (PABA) and represents the Philippines in international matches and tournaments. The program includes a roster for the World Baseball Classic (WBC), a collegiate roster, an 18-under team and a 16-under team.
They have been working to grow the game of baseball in the Philippines and among Filipino athletes, so to be recognized by the Dodgers on the field was a special and exciting moment for head coach Bill Picketts.
“It’s kind of a culmination of what we’ve been working on for the last few years,” Picketts told DodgerBlue.com. “So this is amazing.”
Picketts has been the head coach at L.A. Pierce College in Woodland Hills, Calif. since 2015, where he coached Dodgers’ prospect Brandon Lewis. He was more recently named the manager of Team Philippines for the World Baseball Classic Qualifier.
“My wife would like to think it was all because of her because she’s Filipino, and she definitely had something to do with it,” Picketts said about becoming the team’s manager.
“But honestly, it was a gentleman named Oscar Marcelino. He reached out to me years ago and then when they needed a coach for the WBC team, he called me and asked me if I’d be interested. And of course I said yes.”
Unfortunately for Picketts and the team, they were three days away from leaving for the WBC qualifier when the start of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic began, which put everything on the back burner. Picketts said it was hard to deal with that, but it helped build their commitment to the program.
“Yes, as a coach, and personally, it was very difficult,” he said. “But it gave us a time to get away from it and realize how important it was. And that’s kind of how we are embracing it now because of it.
Picketts said his goal with the team was to get an organization where he can help develop and progress the careers of younger players. He added it’s been fun to watch how it’s grown and seeing some of the good players come into the program.
The collegiate team has so far gone 4-1 in their exhibition games, with 15 more to play, and he sees them continuing to get better as the program continues to grow.
“Actually what’s funny is the guys are reaching out to us,” Picketts said. “Some Filipino players that want to come and be involved, guys that we had no idea about. And players on the team are reaching out to friends of theirs. And so we’re getting better as the summer goes along.”
While Team Philippines was not among the teams who qualified to participate in the 2023 WBC, the work has not stopped for the program and Picketts wants to “keep it going for as long as possible.”
“I want to be a player on the international level,” Picketts said. “I want to have success in the WBC. I want to see players go up through our program and make it to those four-year colleges and get the opportunity to play professionally.
“If we can do that, then this whole thing has been a success.”
Dodgers prospects selected for Futures Game
Dodgers prospects Diego Cartaya, Bobby Miller and Miguel Vargas were selected for the 2022 All-Star Futures Game at Dodger Stadium. Established in 1999, the Futures Game is a highly distinguished and selective event aimed at showcasing the next generation of talent.
From its inception in 1999 until 2018, the Futures Game was played between a United States team composed of American-born players and a World roster consisting of players born outside the U.S. However, the format was changed to American League vs. National League in 2019, just like with the annual All-Star Game among Major League players.
Former Dodgers catcher and three-time World Series champion Mike Scioscia will manage the NL Futures team, while 2007 NL MVP Jimmy Rollins will oversee the AL Futures team.
The 2022 Futures Game is scheduled for seven innings and will take place at Dodger Stadium on Saturday, July 16 at 4 p.m. PT. It will be exclusively broadcast on Peacock and SiriusXM.
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