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Japan beat Cuba to win in 2006 and South Korea in 2009. Japan will be without its best-known major leaguers this time around _ Ichiro Suzuki and Yu Darvish opted out _ but arrives as the favorite again, at least in Torre’s mind.

“The fact they rarely make mistakes,” is how Torre explained his choice. “Whatever sport you’re looking at it’s usually the team that makes the least mistakes that has the most success.”

Of course, trying hard doesn’t hurt either, which is why I’m picking South Korea this time around.

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Jim Litke is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at jlitke(at)ap.org and follow him at Twitter.com/JimLitke.