I love the World Baseball Classic. There’s nothing better for the sport than promoting it around the world, and watching players play for their home countries (or, at least, countries they are eligible to represent) can produce some high-drama baseball during March.
The COVID pandemic cancelled the 2021 WBC, so it’s been six years since the last one, which was won by the USA. Cubs righthander Marcus Stroman, then with the Blue Jays, pitched in the championship game that year (shown above).
This year, Stroman will throw for Puerto Rico — he’s eligible because his mother was born there.
Here are the other Cubs who will participate in the WBC and the countries they’ll represent:
Current Cubs:— Kurtis Arndt (@KurtisArndt) January 18, 2023
Marcus Stroman-Puerto Rico
There’s one more WBC Cub not on that list — Rowan Wick, who’ll play for Canada. Cubs minor leaguer Jared Young, who made his MLB debut last September, is also tentatively scheduled to be on the Canadian WBC team.
As for the others, most are minor leaguers who will be in camp on minor league deals, with the exceptions of Trey Mancini and Nick Madrigal.
If you think this will take away from preparation for the 2023 season, I’d argue that playing in the WBC might give players better preparation, as instead of playing a couple of innings in a meaningless game, many of these players will play (or pitch) multiple innings in a game or games that actually mean something.
Seiya Suzuki will have to leave Cubs camp and return to Japan for pool play there. Workouts in Japan begin March 5 and pool play begins March 9 (with a couple of exhibition games for each country’s team in between).
For the Cubs playing for Italy and Cuba, they’ll have to depart for Taiwan, which is hosting pool play that includes those countries. Workouts begin March 4 and pool play begins March 8.
Canada, Colombia and the USA will train and have pool play in the Phoenix area, so the Cubs playing for those countries won’t have to leave camp. In fact, the Canadian team will work out at the Sloan Park complex in Mesa on March 7, so if you’re interested you could go and watch those workouts. Canada will then play the Cubs in an exhibition game March 8 at Sloan Park (I’ll be there!) before beginning pool play at Chase Field March 11. I’m planning on going to a Canada vs. USA game there Monday, March 13.
Lastly, Stroman and Matt Mervis will head to Miami for pool play as they represent Puerto Rico and Israel, respectively. Workouts in Miami begin March 7 and pool play starts March 11.
Here’s the complete WBC workout/exhibition schedule and here’s the tournament bracket:
Here are the schedules for pool play (note, for Pool A and Pool B these the dates are listed in European format, with the date first and month second):
Fox Sports is the exclusive broadcast home of the WBC and all 47 games will be broadcast on Fox-TV, FS1, FS2, Fox Deportes, Tubi and the Fox Sports app.
We will have complete WBC coverage here as the tournament progresses.