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The World Baseball Classic gets bigger

Jun 1, 2011, 11:33 AM EDT


HBT is not exactly your go-to source for World Baseball Classic information.  I just did a search of the archives, and apart from random mentions of international players who may have once played in the WBC, the last two posts we had about the thing was (a) Joe Torre saying that managing in the WBC might be “interesting“; and (b) a story about how Geovany Soto tested positive for marijuana during the last WBC.

Maybe we’ll ramp up the coverage between now and the next round in 2013, but I can’t promise you anything. For now we’ll at least try, and pass along the news that the field for the 2013 WBC has been expanded from 16 to 28 countries via the addition of a new qualifying round in which 16 teams will be divided into four pools of four teams each, while 12 others get a bye.  The qualifying round will take place in the fall of 2012.  The participants in that round will be:

Chinese Taipei
Czech Republic
Great Britain
New Zealand
South Africa

Those who advance join the big boys of international baseball in March 2013.

Look, this isn’t going to jazz any of you who don’t care about the WBC and international baseball in general. And I’ll admit, I fall into that camp.  But, as ESPN’s Jorge Arangure pointed out on Twitter a few minutes ago, a lot of people outside of the major baseball capitals do care about this, and many of them have lobbied hard to make the field bigger.  This news is the product of that, and the qualifying round is designed to appeal to them, in places where the game still needs to be grown, not for folks in New York, Tokyo and San Pedro de Macoris.

  1. pmcenroe - Jun 1, 2011 at 11:44 AM

    woah how does Canada not get a bye and Italy, China, Netherlands and Australia do? There are tons of Canadian talent in the MLB and minor leagues. Italy was pretty bad last time (altough they did knockout Canada) and according to the baseball almanac China has had 1 MLBer ever and the dude was white and just happened to be born in China.

    • seanmk - Jun 1, 2011 at 12:11 PM

      canada 0-2 italy 1-2 and the team italy beat was canada

    • kopy - Jun 1, 2011 at 12:26 PM

      Canada, Taipei, Panama, and South Africa are the 4 teams that didn’t get a single win last time out, so they are in the 16 team round with the 12 new names.

      I’m not saying that’s the best way to do it, but this must be the decided system they used, at least for this time. Since the 2017 tournament will have the results of a 28 instead of 16 team classic, they’ll use a different, and probably better, method.

      • pmcenroe - Jun 1, 2011 at 1:10 PM

        Personally I like the WBC but think this the wrong way to go about it unless they are trying to phase out MLB players which is seems like this might be doing. Do they really expect Votto, Morneau etc. so show up for this fall qualifer?? The only reason why China would get a bye is b/c it is a huge untapped market. But giving the shaft to Canada who’s largest market HAS an MLB team is ridiculous. Going on past performances in the WBC is not the way to go since there has only been 2 of them. Especially considering Canada beat the US the first time and the Netherland beat the DR last time. If they want this to replace the Olympics I’m cool with that but without MLB players I think they are going to have a real hard time marketing nad selling advanced tickets.

  2. royhobbs39 - Jun 1, 2011 at 11:48 AM

    Spain? Baseball? Really?

    • cktai - Jun 2, 2011 at 4:02 AM

      Spain is arguably the third best team in Europe. In the last 14 editions of the European Championship, they have reached the semi finals 9 times, which is more two times more then the Czech Republic, Great Britain, Germany and France combined.

      Furthermore, Barcelona hosts the “Final Four” which is determines the European club champions since its inaugural edition in 2008. and Spain was one of the co-hosts of the Baseball World Championships in 2009.

      So yeah, Spain, Baseball, Really.

  3. Elwood Larf - Jun 1, 2011 at 12:15 PM

    I don’t know how you can be a baseball fan and not love the WBC. I think it’s a great idea and can’t wait for the next one, except for the fact that I’ll be three years older by then.

    • skerney - Jun 1, 2011 at 3:41 PM

      I went to the WBC at Petco Park both years it was there. The crowd was unbelievable! Puerto Rico fans were raucous with tamborines, Korea fans swarmed the place, Japanese fans went nuts for Dice-K. Plus I got to see Chapman before he defected, I didn’t know who he was, but it was great. I’ve been in some great crowds, playoff crowds, at Wrigley, The Oakland Colisseum, tons of others, but never was the energy so great than at the WBC.

  4. The Common Man/ - Jun 1, 2011 at 12:49 PM

    I have to cop to being, against my better judgment, a huge fan of the WBC.

    • Alex K - Jun 1, 2011 at 1:10 PM

      Me too. Not against better judgment, Just a huge fan.

  5. spudchukar - Jun 1, 2011 at 1:34 PM

    Let me be the first to offer my services to cover the progression of the new teams in the selected countries. Let’s see, itinerary: Barcelona, Dublin, Prague, Paris, Berlin and Amsterdam on the first leg. Then it’s off to Latin America, hit the Playas in Nicaragua, Panama, and Columbia. Once I grow weary of the babes, beaches and baseball, it is off to the Orient. First a quick stop in Israel to see my squeeze Bar, and then Cape Town for a get together with my bud Nelson, and then eastward to Thailand, Taipei, and the Phillipines. Once I get my fill of bail out swings, I finish the tour in New Zealand and Australia, where I reflect on the Maori/Aborigine influences on our national pasttime. On my return flight, I have a last ditch overnight in Victoria, at the Empress, see Canada’s finest, Mr. Walker, and then cruise back to Idaho, to pen my global escapades. Any takers?

  6. andrebeingandre16 - Jun 1, 2011 at 2:34 PM

    people who know im a huge baseball fan always ask whats the best game ive ever been to and i always say the 09 WBC finals between south korea and japan. ive heard dodger stadium louder at times (game 2 nlds when holiday dropped the ball or bobbleslam by manny) but ive never heard dodger stadium as loud for so long! it was an amazing game so i love the WBC

    • pmcenroe - Jun 1, 2011 at 2:45 PM

      just to add this is, the 2009 opening game between the US and Canada in Toronto was the best crowd I have ever been apart of in this city, just electric.

  7. sdelmonte - Jun 1, 2011 at 3:15 PM

    At last, an Israeli team! Time to round up today’s Jewish stars. Ike Davis, this is your chance (assuming you’ve healed by then)!

    Can’t say many in Israel will be that excited in the very unlikely event that the team advances, since it’s a soccer nation and then a basketball nation. But there are a good number of American expats who remain baseball fans.

  8. Detroit Michael - Jun 1, 2011 at 3:41 PM

    So does this mean that there is a bigger break from regular Spring Training 2013 while players play in the WBC instead of getting ready for the regular season? If so, that would be news.

  9. po8crg - Jun 2, 2011 at 6:53 PM

    Yay! GB will get to play in (the qualifiers for) the WBC. Probably in a pool with France, Germany and Spain, and probably get comprehensively thrashed, but it’ll be fun anyway.

    Special plea to Mr. Selig: best thing you could do for baseball in Europe: a 4 pm EST game every weekday. Just one game at a time that I can watch. Please? Take today – Pirates-Mets had finished when I got home from work, and Rangers-Indians started after midnight.

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