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Daily Archives: June 16, 2011

The 2013 World Baseball Classic: New Countries Join the WBC

Thursday June 16, 2011

 

MLB reports:  The majority of sports fans know of the World Cup of soccer, held every four years.  Even the most casual non-soccer fans will tend to follow their favorite team/country in the tournament when it is staged.  For all the hype and legacy surrounding the World Cup, MLB reports is obsessed with another tournament all together.  What the World Cup is to soccer, the World Baseball Classic is to baseball.  The original WBC tournament took place in 2006, followed by the 2009 edition.  From there, the WBC was to be staged every four years, to mirror the World Cup, Olympics and other international sporting tournaments.  With the 2013 World Baseball Classic coming up in less than two years, our favorite international tournament has recently undergone some changes.  MLB reports is here to give you the lowdown on the 2013 WBC.

The 2013 WBC will remain a sixteen team field, as was the case in previous years.  There will be four teams in each of the four divisions.  But with a twist.  From years past, twelve of the teams will remain and automatically qualify for the tournament.  The holdovers that will play in the WBC commencing March 2013 are:

  • Australia
  • China
  • Cuba
  • Dominican Republic
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Korea
  • Mexico
  • Netherlands
  • Puerto Rico
  • United States
  • Venezuela

In terms of the remaining four spots in the WBC, for the 2013 edition, the WBC will hold for the first time a qualifying tournament.  There will sixteen teams in the qualifying round, which will be held in the fall of 2012.  Logistically, it was apparently impossible to hold the qualifying tournament and the WBC itself at the same time and the fall of 2012 was considered to be the best time for this inaugural for tournament.  The sixteen teams invited to qualify for the WBC are:

  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • Chinese Tapai (Taiwan)
  • Columbia
  • Czech Republic
  • France
  • Germany
  • Great Britain
  • Israel
  • New Zealand
  • Nicaragua
  • Panama
  • Phillipines
  • South Africa
  • Spain
  • Thailand

It is an extremely happy moment for baseball, as its borders continue to expand and more countries adopt the greatest sport in the world.  Countries such as Columbia, Israel, Germany, France and Spain will be encouraged to develop baseball athletes.  This will in turn increase the popularity of baseball in those respective countries, which will increase the fan base of baseball and the talent level of the sport.  It is truly a win-win proposition for everyone.  After years of lobbying for such a qualifying tournament, it is an absolute delight to announce that the WBC has expanded and moved towards becoming a truly world event.

With happiness does come a little sadness.  After poor showings in the 2009 WBC, holdovers Canada, Chinese Tapai (Taiwan), Panama and South Africa are now required to qualify in order to participate in the 2013 World Baseball Classic.  After having attended the first round divisional games in Toronto two years ago, as a Canadian I am dismayed that Canada has set itself back on the world stage by not having an automatic berth in the tournament.  Similarly, fans in Taiwan, Panama and South Africa that have been a part of both editions of the tournament will also possibly suffer setbacks in the development of their baseball programs.  But logically, only so many countries can participate in each WBC and having the qualifying tournament should help ensure that the best teams get to advance.  I am surprised to say the least that Canada has to qualify while say, Italy has an automatic berth.  But the field will change for every tournament and the countries that have the best showings will get to participate, that is the bottom line.

We would love to hear your thoughts on the changes for the 2013 World Baseball Classic.  Tell us about the country that you cheer for and how you feel about these changes.  Was your country added to the tournament?  Are there any countries that were missed?  Will a new country take the tile from two-time winner Japan?  We want to hear from you!  Please leave your comment at the bottom of the page and let’s hear what you, the readers, have to say.  In the meantime, make sure to note the fall of 2012 and March 2013 in your calendars.  The 2013 World Baseball Classic qualifying tournament will be upon us in little over a year.  We can’t wait.

 

 

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