The World Baseball Classic Returns Before the 2023 Season

It’s like the World Cup; but instead of soccer, it’s baseball. Every four years, 20 different countries are represented in the 3-week long event and compete to become the World Baseball Classic Champions. 

This is the first WBC to be held since 2017. In March of 2020, it was announced that the 2021 WBC was to be postponed due to Covd-19, and so it was set to return in spring of 2023 as a result of the new CBA from the 2021-2022 lockout. This WBC is also the first tournament to feature 20 different countries, with the WBC previously only hosting 16 teams. 

The 16 teams who previously played in the 2017 WBC were automatically invited to participate in this year’s WBC. With the expansion to 20 teams this year, however, a qualifying round was played in fall of 2022 consisting of two tournaments to be participated in by six teams each. The final four spots for the 2023 WBC were to be given to the winners and runner-ups from each tournament. 

Qualifier team #1’s winner was Great Britain, with the Czech Republic earning the runner-up spot. Qualifier team #2’s winner was Panama, with Nicaragua earning the runner-up spot. 

This year’s host countries for play include Japan, Taiwan and the United States. Both Japan and the United States have hosted the WBC since it began back in 2006, and this is the second time that Taiwan will be hosting the event since 2013. With the championship game being played in the United States, this year’s venue is LoanDepot Park in Miami, Florida. 

Of course, one of the best aspects of the WBC is seeing your favorite players representing their countries, and this year’s rosters do not disappoint. 

Some notable players representing Team USA include: Mike Trout, Mookie Betts, Nolan Arenado, Trea Turner, Paul Goldschmidt, JT Realmuto, and Adam Wainwright. Team USA even has a notable coaching staff, with Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr. as hitting coach and World Series champion Andy Pettite as pitching coach. 

Perhaps one of the most talked about rosters for this year’s WBC is the Dominican Republic, which includes: Sandy Alcantara, Rafael Devers, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Manny Machado, Juan Soto and Julio Rodriguez. Team Japan has also stacked up a nice roster, featuring star two-way player, Shohei Ohtani, and also features Seiya Suzuki, Lars Nootbaar, Yu Darvish and rookie Masataka Yoshida. Team Venezuela’s roster also features other notable players including: Pablo Lopez, Jose Altuve, Gleyber Torres, Luis Arraez, Ronald Acuña Jr., and veteran DH, Miguel Cabrera. 

If you’re an avid baseball fan, be sure to check out the World Baseball Classic which is set to begin on Tuesday, March 7 and will run through March 21.

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