PHOENIX — World Baseball Classic is back, and the players are joining their team. It's been a long time coming after the previous tournament, scheduled to be played in 2021, was canceled due to COVID-19.
After negotiations, the MLB and the World Baseball Softball Confederation agreed to have the event in March 2023.
The last time the event was played was in 2017, with the United States taking home the title. This year, a strong showing from the Dominican Republic could upset that previous victory.
The games will be played from March 7-21 at four different cities on two continents, Asia and North America.
- Taichung, Taiwan
- Tokyo, Japan
- Miami, USA
- Phoenix, USA
There are 20 teams divided into four groups:
Pool A, Taiwan:
- Chinese Taipei, Netherlands, Cuba, Italy and Panama
Pool B, Japan:
- Japan, South Korea, Australia, China and the Czech Republic
Pool C, Phoenix
- U.S., Mexico, Colombia, Canada and Great Britain
Group D, Miami
- Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Dominican Republic, Israel and Nicaragua
The Classic starts on March 7 with five of the Pool A games to be played at Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium in Taiwan.
The first round for pool B will be at the Tokyo Dome from March 8-13.
The Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona will host teams in Pool C from March 11-15. Team U.S. is in that group.
Teams participating in Pool D will play at LoanDepot Park in Miami from March 11-15 as well.
After the first round, the top two teams from each group will advance to the quarter-finals from March 15-18. Two games will be played in Japan and two in the US.
At this point, a single-game elimination will start, whoever loses is out of the tournament.
At this point, there will be four teams and only two will advance to the final. From March 19-20, the four teams will play in Miami, Florida.
The LoanDepot Park, home of the Miami Marlins, will host the championship on March 21.