The World Baseball Classic has become an exciting part of baseball. The four previous tournaments (2006, 2009, 2013, 2017) have provided some thrills, love of country, and compelling baseball. The USA won the last one, in 2017; there was a tournament scheduled for 2021, but it was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Now, the WBC is returning next spring, but not before some qualifying tournaments this fall will fill out a 20-team field, the largest in tournament history. The 16 teams that participated in the 2017 WBC are invited to play in 2023 and they will be joined by four teams that will have advanced from the 2022 qualifiers.
The qualifiers will be held at Armin-Wolf-Arena in Regensburg, Germany from September 16-21 and at Rod Carew National Stadium in Panama City, Panama from September 30-October 5. The 2023 WBC will feature five-team pools in the first round for round-robin play. The top two teams in each of the four first round pools will advance to the quarterfinals, while the top two teams from each quarterfinal pool will advance to the championship round.
Here are the teams and pools for the qualifiers:
Then, the four five-team pools will play in Taichung, Taiwan (Pool A), Tokyo, Japan (Pool B), Phoenix (Chase Field, Pool C) and Miami (loanDepot Park, Pool D). The semifinals and championship game will also take place in Miami. Here’s how the pools shape up, with locations:
The WBC is tons of fun and I’m glad it’s returning. It’s a great way to promote baseball around the world. There will, obviously, be some adjustments made to Spring Training dates next March to accommodate the WBC — but I’m fine with that, and will likely attend one or more games in the Phoenix area next year.
We will cover the qualifiers here at BCB this fall, and of course the tournament next spring.