The transition from excitement about the World Cup to the buzz surrounding the World Baseball Classic is about to begin.
We are now down to two teams in the 2022 FIFA World Cup: Argentina vs. France. Throughout one of the world’s best known tournaments, the world was able to watch 32 countries compete for the World Cup. The beauty of sports (and especially the Olympics, World Cup, and World Baseball Classic) is that we get to watch the best (and often most popular athletes) represent their countries.
The different cultures and fan bases attending these tournaments are so cool to be a part of, with their unique chants and instrument playing in the stands (like pounding a drum or blowing a vuvuzela, a popular stadium horn). It takes these athletes back to their old stomping grounds and helps them to feel like they are back home again.
With the World Baseball Classic back in 2022, these players are going to make this tournament play out like a postseason series, and eventually a World Series game.
The last game of the World Baseball Classic was held on March 22, 2017 when Team USA defeated Puerto Rico by an 8-0 score in the final game of the tournament. The WBC occurs every four years but, due to the ongoing pandemic of COVID-19, there was no event planned in the year of 2021, so that’s almost six years without the global baseball tournament. Now, starting on March 8, 2023, Team USA will look to defend its title, while 19 other nations look to add a piece of glory to their country.
With that in mind, let’s take a sneak peak on the countries that made the tournament, which pools they’ll compete in, and the location of each venue that will host.
Pool A : Chinese Taipei, Netherlands, Cuba, Italy, and Panama.
Pool B: Japan, Australia, China, South Korea, Czech Republic.
Pool C: United States, Columbia, Mexico, Great Britain, Canada.
Pool D: Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Israel.
There will be two international and two American stadiums hosting the World Baseball Classic. Pool A will be competing at Taichung Stadium located in Taichung, Taiwan. Pool B (and the host of the quarterfinals) will be competing at the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan. Pool C will be playing at Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona. Pool D will be competing at LoanDepot Park in Miami, Florida, which will also host the quarterfinals, semifinals, and championship game.
In the WBC, 16 teams usually participate in the tournament (all the teams that participated in the World Baseball Classic in 2017 are automatically in this year). However, there was an expansion to 20 total teams in this year’s WBC, adding four new teams: Great Britain (first appearance), Czech Republic (first appearance), Nicaragua (first appearance), and Panama (third appearance).
We can talk about which team has a great chance on winning the WBC, but we will discuss that another day. Maybe we will talk about the strengths and weaknesses of each team going into the tournament, but, as of the time of publication, teams are still constructing their rosters to prepare for 2023.
Some notable names that are participating in this year’s 2023 World Baseball Classic are Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani (who has been a strong recruiter for Team Japan), Jose Altuve, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Julio Urias, Francisco Lindor, Jazz Chisholm, and many more.
Buckle up because next year is coming and the month of March is going to be exciting for baseball fans all around the world.