Several officials from Major League Baseball met at AT&T Park in San Francisco Tuesday afternoon to announce the venues and format for the 2013 World Baseball Classic, which begins on March 2. Now in its third iteration, the four-round international tournament will be played by 16 teams in seven cities around the world.
The first round, which consists of four pools of four teams playing in a round-robin format, will be played in Phoenix, Arizona; Fukuoka, Japan; Taichung, Taiwan; and San Juan, Puerto Rico. For the second round teams will fly to either Miami or Tokyo to take part in a simple double-elimination format, while the semi-finals and finals will take place in San Francisco.
A major-league venue will play host to games in each round: Chase Field for the first round and Marlins Park for the second. AT&T Park will play host to the semi-finals and finals.
The top 12 teams from the 2009 WBC automatically qualified for the tournament, with another 16 competing for four spots in qualifying rounds that began last week. Spain and Canada have already taken two of the four available spots, while the final two will be determined in November. The 28-man rosters for each squad must be finalized by December to give players ample time to prepare for the tournament.
Here are the first-round pools as they stand now:
- Pool A (Fukuoka, Japan): Japan, Cuba, China, [Qualifier]
- Pool B (Taichung, Taiwan): Korea, Australia, Netherlands, [Qualifier]
- Pool C (San Juan, Puerto Rico): Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, [Qualifier]
- Pool D (Phoenix, Arizona): United States, Mexico, Italy, [Qualifier]