The 2023 World Baseball Classic

World Baseball Classic

For the first time since 2017, the World Baseball Classic will return to galvanize a global audience. The 2023 edition of the WBC will be played from March 8 and culminate at loanDepot Park in Miami on March 21. The WBC is also playing two qualifying rounds in September and October In Germany and Panama. Instead of the traditional 16 team format used in previous tournaments, there will be four pools consisting of five teams, bringing it to 20. Japan won the first two World Baseball Classics in 2006 and 2009 while the Dominican Republic won in 2013. The last World Baseball Classic, played in 2017 came away with the United States won the title. Team USA rolled over Puerto Rico in an 8–0 blowout at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. The tournament was originally set for 2021 but was postponed until 2023 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

 

Qualifying Rounds

Two teams will come out of each of the two qualifying rounds. There will be six teams in each of the qualifying pools. Pool A will be played from September 16-21 at Armin-Wolf Arena in Regensburg, Germany which seats 10,000. The countries participating in Qualifying Pool A are host country Germany, Czech Republic, Spain, France, Great Britain and South Africa. Pool B will be played at 27,000-seat Rod Carew National Stadium in Panama City, Panama from September 30 through October 5. The countries participating in Qualifying Pool B are host country Panama, Nicaragua, Brazil, Argentina, Pakistan and New Zealand. The allocation of which of the four pools the four qualifying teams will go to will be determined at a later date.

 

Pool Play

The main tournament will begin with Pool A being played at Taichung, Taiwan’s International Baseball Stadium. which seats 20,000, from March 8-13. The countries assigned to Pool A are host country Chinese Taipei, Cuba, Italy, the Netherlands and a qualifier. Pool B will be held in the 45,600-seat Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan from March 9-13. The countries assigned to Pool B are host country Japan, Korea, China, Australia and a qualifier. Pool C takes place at 48,680-seat Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona from March 11-15.

The countries assigned to Pool C are the United States, Canada, Mexico, Colombia and a qualifier. Pool D will be at LoanDepot Park, with a seating capacity of 36,742 in Miami, Florida from March 11-15. The countries assigned to Pool D are Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Israel, the Dominican Republic and a qualifier. Matchups and schedule of play for pool play will be determined at a later date.

 

Bracket Play

The top two teams in each pool will advance to the Quarterfinal Round. Teams from Pool A and Pool B will play in Tokyo from March 15-16. Teams from Pool C and Pool D will play in Miami from March 17-18. These games will all be single-elimination games. The semifinals and finals of the World Baseball Classic will be at LoanDepot Park in Miami from March 19-21. Much like the quarterfinals, the semifinal and championship game will be single elimination format.

 

The Who’s Who of the 2023 World Baseball Classic

As far as Team USA goes, it was announced that Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout has been named as the Team Captain. USA Baseball also announced that Tony Reagins will serve as the team’s general manager. Reagins is currently the Chief Baseball Development Officer for Major League Baseball.

In the qualifying rounds, Team France will have former Giants and San Diego Padres manager Bruce Bochy in their dugout. Former Chicago White Sox, and Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen will be part of Bochy’s coaching staff.

San Francisco Giants outfielder Joc Pederson will play for Team Israel. Ian Kinsler, a former second baseman for five major league clubs, has been named as the manager for the Israelis. Kinsler was part of the United States squad in 2017. He gained his Israeli citizenship in 2020, and played for Israel in the postponed 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman Freddie Freeman has stated that he intends to play for Team Canada.

Angels outfielder Shohei Ohtani has stated that he expressed his desire to play for Team Japan in the World Baseball Classic.

The Baseball Federation of Cuba has stated that any player that has defected from Cuba will be ineligible to play for the Cuban National Team in the tournament. The defected group of Cubans could still put a team together and play in pre-tournament exhibition games.

 

Qualifier Pool Schedule

Regensburg Qualifier Schedule
Fri. Sep 16
1:00p CET (Game 1) South Africa vs Spain
7:00p CET (Game 2) Great Britain vs France
Sat. Sep. 17
1:00p CET (Game 3) Winner Game 1 vs Czech Republic

7:00p CET (Game 4) Winner Game 2 vs Germany
Sun. Sep. 18
1:00p CET (Game 5) Loser Game 2 vs Loser Game 3 – Elimination Game
7:00p CET (Game 6) Loser Game 1 vs Loser Game 4 – Elimination Game
Tue. Sep 20
1:00p CET (Game 7) Winner Game 5 vs Winner Game 6 – Elimination Game
7:00p CET (Game 8) Winner Game 3 vs Winner Game 4 – Winner Advances to WBC
Wed. Sep 21
7:00p CET (Game 9) Winner Game 7 vs Loser Game 8 – Winner Advances to WBC

Panama City Qualifier Schedule (Subject to change)
Fri. Sep. 30
TBA (Game 1) Pakistan vs Argentina
TBA (Game 2) New Zealand vs Brazil
Sat. Oct 1
TBA (Game 3) Winner Game 1 vs Panama

TBA (Game 4) Winner Game 2 vs Nicaragua
Sun. Oct. 2
TBA (Game 5) Loser Game 2 vs Loser Game 3 – Elimination Game
TBA (Game 6) Loser Game 1 vs Loser Game 4 – Elimination Game
Tue. Oct. 4
TBA (Game 7) Winner Game 5 vs Winner Game 6 – Elimination Game
TBA (Game 8) Winner Game 3 vs Winner Game 4 – Winner Advances to WBC
Wed. Oct. 5
TBA (Game 9) Winner Game 7 vs Loser Game 8 0 Winner Advances to WBC

 

Main Photo:
Embed from Getty Images

Players/Managers Mentioned:

Mike Trout, Tony Reagins, Bruce Bochy, Ozzie Guillen, Joc Pederson, Ian Kinsler, Freddie Freeman, Shohei Ohtani