Time for countries from all around the world to play ball.
The World Baseball Classic is set to begin just before the start of the Major League Baseball season. It will be the fifth installment of the WBC, which was last won by the United States in 2017.
The next tournament was originally scheduled to be played in 2021 but was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Play will finally resume in March as MLB players participating in the event depart spring training to represent their countries.
Here is everything fans need to know about the 2023 World Baseball Classic:
When and where is the World Baseball Classic?
Pool play for the World Baseball Classic begins on March 8. Teams are divided into four pools, with games played at Chase Field in Arizona, loanDepot park in Miami, Intercontinental Baseball Stadium in Taiwan and the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo.
The semifinals and championship game will be played in Miami.
What is the World Baseball Classic bracket?
Five teams in each of the four pools at the World Baseball Classic compete in round-robin tournaments between March 8 and March 15. The top two teams from each pool then advance to the quarterfinals, which are single-elimination bracket-style games held between March 15 and March 18. The semifinals will then be held on March 19 and 20 in Miami, as will the championship game on March 21.
Who is playing in the 2023 World Baseball Classic?
The World Baseball Classic is expanding to 20 teams for the first time in 2023, up from 16 in the four previous iterations.
The 16 teams that participated in the 2017 WBC received an automatic bid, with the final four spots being claimed through qualifying tournaments by Panama, Czech Republic, Great Britain and Nicaragua.
Here are the pools for the 2023 World Baseball Classic:
Pool A: Chinese Taipei, Netherlands, Cuba, Italy, Panama
Pool B: Japan, Korea, Australia, China, Czech Republic
Pool C: United States, Mexico, Colombia, Canada, Great Britain
Pool D: Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Dominican Republic, Israel, Nicaragua
Which MLB players are in the 2023 World Baseball Classic?
There will be plenty of familiar names and faces playing in the 2023 World Baseball Classic. That includes two of baseball’s biggest stars, who are teammates in MLB but opponents in the WBC.
The Los Angeles Angels duo of Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani will participate. Ohtani, a two-way sensation on the mound and at the plate, will play for Japan in his WBC debut. Trout, a three-time MVP, will serve as captain of the United States.
Team USA, the defending WBC champs, have plenty of star power on the roster. That includes Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts, St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso and many more. Philadelphia Phillies star outfielder Bryce Harper had committed to play for the U.S. but will miss the tournament after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
Team USA will be managed by former major leaguer Mark DeRosa. Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr. will serve as hitting coach and five-time World Series winner Andy Pettitte as pitching coach.
The Dominican Republic has a star-studded team featuring Julio Rodriguez (Seattle Mariners), Jose Ramirez (Cleveland Guardians), Juan Soto (San Diego Padres), Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (Toronto Blue Jays), Sandy Alcantara (Miami Marlins), Manny Machado (San Diego Padres), Rafael Devers (Boston Red Sox) and others.
Puerto Rico features Carlos Correa (Minnesota Twins), Francisco Lindor (New York Mets), Edwin Diaz (New York Mets), Marcus Stroman (Chicago Cubs) and other MLB players.
Trey Mancini of the Chicago Cubs and Brandon Nimmo of the New York Mets will play for Italy, which is being managed by former MLB star Mike Piazza.
The Chicago White Sox duo of Luis Robert and Yoan Moncada will play for Cuba, St. Louis Cardinals second baseman Tommy Edman will take the field for Korea, San Francisco Giants outfielder Joc Pederson joins Israel and San Diego Padres pitcher Yu Darvish teams up with Ohtani for Japan.
How often is the World Baseball Classic?
The World Baseball Classic is scheduled to be played every four years.
There was a three-year gap between the first two tournaments, with Japan winning in both 2006 and 2009. The tournament then moved to a four-year basis, with the Dominican Republic winning in 2013 and the United States in 2017. The WBC scheduled for 2021 was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.