World Baseball Classic

The World Baseball Classic (WBC) is an international baseball tournament sanctioned from 2006 to 2013 by the International Baseball Federation (IBAF) and after 2013 by the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC). It was proposed to the IBAF by Major League Baseball (MLB), the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA), and other professional baseball leagues and their players associations around the world. It is the main baseball tournament sanctioned by the WBSC, which grants to the winner the title of "World Champion".[1]

It previously coexisted with Olympic Baseball (until 2008) and the Baseball World Cup (until 2011) as IBAF-sanctioned tournaments,[2] but baseball has not been on the Olympic program since 2008, after it was voted out by the International Olympic Committee in 2005. The final men's Baseball World Cup was held in 2011, and was discontinued to streamline the international calendar.

The tournament is the first of its kind to have the national teams of IBAF's member federations feature professional players from the major leagues around the world, including Major League Baseball. In addition to providing a format for the best baseball players in the world to compete against one another while representing their home countries, the World Baseball Classic was created in order to further promote the game around the globe.

After a three-year gap between the first two installments of the tournament, plans were made for the World Baseball Classic to be repeated every four years following the 2009 event. The third installment of the Classic was held in 2013, and the fourth was held in 2017.

World Baseball Classic
Most recent season or competition:
2017 World Baseball Classic
World Baseball Classic logo
World Baseball Classic logo
SportBaseball
Founded2005
No. of teams16 (finals)
ContinentInternational
Most recent
champion(s)
 United States (1st title)
Most titles Japan (2 titles)

History

Japan wins inaugural World Baseball Classic
Japan winning the inaugural World Baseball Classic

Modeled after the FIFA World Cup and organized in large part as a response to the International Olympic Committee's decision to remove baseball as an Olympic sport in 2005, the WBC has grown into a major sporting event worldwide, though to a lesser extent in the United States. In fact, the final series in 2006 and 2009 rank among the highest-rated sporting events in Japanese television history.[3]

The 16-team field for the inaugural 2006 tournament was pre-selected, featuring the countries judged to be the "best baseball-playing nations" in the world; no qualifying competition was held.[4] The tournament format featured round-robin group play in the first and second rounds, followed by single-elimination semifinals and finals. The first game in WBC history saw South Korea defeat Chinese Taipei 2-0 before a crowd of 5,193 at the Tokyo Dome on March 3, 2006. South Korea went on to advance to the semifinals with a 6–0 record but lost to Japan (a team South Korea had beaten twice in the earlier rounds) for a berth in the final game. Meanwhile, Cuba defeated the Dominican Republic in the other semifinal. Japan then defeated Cuba 10–6 to be crowned the first champion of the World Baseball Classic.

The 2009 tournament featured the same 16 teams as 2006, but the controversial round-robin format from 2006 was replaced by a modified double-elimination format for the first two rounds (the semifinals and final game remained single-elimination). The eight teams advancing from the first round were the same as in 2006, except for a "Cinderella" performance by the Netherlands, which twice defeated the Dominican Republic to reach the second round. In the semifinals, South Korea defeated Venezuela while Japan defeated the United States. Japan then emerged victorious for the second straight Classic, winning the final game over South Korea 5–3 in 10 innings.

The buildup to the 2013 tournament included a qualifying round for the first time, with the four lowest finishers from 2009 having to re-qualify against 12 additional teams. This resulted in two new nations making their first appearances in the WBC, as Brazil and Spain respectively replaced Panama and South Africa. The round-robin format was revived for the tournament's first-round, while the second-round remained double-elimination. Italy was the biggest surprise in the early stages of the tournament, making it to the second round with wins over Canada and Mexico. The tournament ended in an all-Caribbean championship game, with the Dominican Republic defeating Puerto Rico, which had upset two-time champion Japan in the semifinals. The Dominican Republic also became the first (and to date, only) team to go undefeated (8-0) through the tournament.

The 2017 tournament returned to the format used in 2006, where both the first and second rounds were round-robin, though with the addition of tiebreaker games if needed. Colombia and Israel qualified for the first time, with Israel, using a roster mostly of Jewish American players, able to reach the second round in its WBC debut. Defending champion Dominican Republic extended its WBC winning streak to 11 games, dating to the 2013 tournament, before also being eliminated in the second round. The United States won its first WBC championship, defeating Japan and Puerto Rico in the semifinals and finals, respectively. Puerto Rico had been undefeated in the tournament before losing in the final, in game where its most important pitchers were not allowed to play due to WBC rules. In semifinals, Puerto Rico defeated Netherlands in a historic 4+ hour-game, while USA defeated Japan in an unusually short game.

Qualification

The first two iterations of the Classic featured the same 16 teams, chosen by invitation. A qualifying round was added leading into the 2013 tournament and takes place in the year before the WBC proper. The top 12 finishing teams from each WBC are automatically entered in the next edition, while the four lowest finishers (the teams that finish in last place in their first-round pools) are relegated to the qualifying round. Qualifying consists of four four-team modified double-elimination tournaments, with the winners earning the last four slots in the main tournament. The addition of qualifying has so far allowed four nations (Brazil, Colombia, Israel, and Spain) from outside the original 16 to compete in the WBC.

Results

Year Final Host Final Semifinalists Number of teams
Champions Score Runners-up 3rd place 4th place
2006
Details
United States
San Diego

Japan
10–6
Cuba

South Korea

Dominican Republic
16
2009
Details
United States
Los Angeles

Japan
5–3
(F/10)

South Korea

Venezuela

United States
16
2013
Details
United States
San Francisco

Dominican Republic
3−0
Puerto Rico

Japan

Netherlands
16
2017
Details
United States
Los Angeles

United States
8−0
Puerto Rico

Japan

Netherlands
16

Medal table

After the conclusion of each WBC championship game, players from the losing team receive silver medals, followed by the winners receiving gold medals. The third-place team receives bronze medals at a separate date. The WBC does not hold a third-place playoff, so the ranking of the third- and fourth-placed teams is determined by the WBSC.

Rank Country Gold Gold medal world centered-2.svg Silver Silver medal world centered-2.svg Bronze Bronze medal world centered-2.svg Total Medals world.svg
1  Japan 2 0 2 4
2  Dominican Republic 1 0 0 1
 United States 1 0 0 1
4  Puerto Rico 0 2 0 2
5  South Korea 0 1 1 2
6  Cuba 0 1 0 1
7  Venezuela 0 0 1 1

Performance of nations

World Baseball Classic map of nations
The countries which have participated in the WBC and their highest standing in the tournament.

A total of 20 nations have competed in the WBC proper, with 14 appearing in all four editions. Japan has been the most successful, as the only nation with multiple WBC titles (2006, 2009), the nation with the most wins in WBC play (23), and as the only nation to reach the championship round in all four WBCs. The Dominican Republic owns the best overall winning percentage in WBC games at .750 (18-6 record), bolstered by its 8-0 mark en route to the 2013 title. A surprising first-round elimination in 2009 stands out as the Dominican's only poor showing. If qualifying rounds are included, Israel also has a .750 winning percentage (9-3 record), with a 4-2 record in the WBC itself.

Along with Japan, three other nations have advanced to at least the second round in all four WBCs: Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the United States. Team USA posted an underwhelming 10-10 overall record through the first three WBCs, with only one appearance in the semifinals. The Americans broke through in 2017, going 6-2 on their way to their first WBC title. Cuba lived up to its history of strong international play by reaching the finals of the inaugural WBC in 2006 before losing to Japan. However, subsequent Cuban teams have failed to make a significant mark on the tournament, making three straight second-round exits and going just 2-7 in second-round games since 2009. Meanwhile, Caribbean rival Puerto Rico made consecutive appearances in the WBC finals in 2013 and 2017, albeit losing both, and stood second to Japan for the most all-time WBC wins (20) after the 2017 tournament.

The Netherlands, South Korea, and Venezuela have been other countries to reach the championship round. Other teams to have reached the second round at least once are Chinese Taipei, Israel, Italy, and Mexico. Conversely, of the 14 teams to appear in all four tournaments, three have never made the second round: Australia, Canada, and China.

Honors

Most Valuable Player

The most significant award for individual performance during the tournament is the Most Valuable Player Award. Whichever player wins it receives a trophy after the final. The inaugural winner of the award in 2006 was Japan's Daisuke Matsuzaka, who pitched 13 innings and finished with a 3–0 record. Soon after this performance, Matsuzaka received a multi–million dollar contract to join the Boston Red Sox of America's Major League Baseball.[5] Again in the 2009 World Baseball Classic, Matsuzaka received the world classic MVP, finishing with a record of 3–0 and an ERA of 2.54. In 2013, Robinson Canó won MVP after hitting .469 with two home runs and six RBI over the course of the tournament.[6] Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Marcus Stroman took home the award in 2017 for the United States. Stroman posted a 2.35 ERA over three starts and no-hit Puerto Rico through six innings in an 8-0 win in the Finals.[7]

Year Player Position Nationality
2006 Daisuke Matsuzaka Starting pitcher Japan Japan
2009 Daisuke Matsuzaka Starting pitcher Japan Japan
2013 Robinson Canó Second baseman Dominican Republic Dominican Republic
2017 Marcus Stroman Starting pitcher United States United States

All–WBC teams

At the end of each edition of the World Baseball Classic, an all-star team is selected based on their play in the tournament. Three pitchers, eight other position players (one each at each position, including three outfielders), and a designated hitter are named to the team. In the four editions of the Classic thus far, players representing 10 different countries have been named to an All-WBC team, with Japan and Puerto Rico leading the way with nine representatives each.

Statistical leaders

All-time WBC individual leaders in various statistical categories through the end of the 2017 tournament, excluding qualifier games.[8]

Batting

Statistic Player Total
Hits Cuba Frederich Cepeda 32
Home runs Cuba Alfredo Despaigne 7
Runs batted in Cuba Frederich Cepeda 23
Runs scored Cuba Frederich Cepeda 19
Doubles Cuba Frederich Cepeda
Canada Justin Morneau
8
Triples Cuba Yoenis Cespedes 3
Strikeouts Puerto Rico Carlos Beltrán 20
Stolen bases Japan Tsuyoshi Nishioka
United States Jimmy Rollins
Japan Ichiro Suzuki
5
Games played Puerto Rico Carlos Beltrán 28
At-bats Puerto Rico Carlos Beltrán 95

Pitching

Statistic Player Total
Wins Japan Daisuke Matsuzaka 6
Losses Chinese Taipei Hung-wen Chen 3
Games Dominican Republic Fernando Rodney 15
Starts Japan Daisuke Matsuzaka
Dominican Republic Edinson Volquez
6
Saves Dominican Republic Fernando Rodney 8
Innings pitched Netherlands Diegomar Markwell 28.0
Hits allowed Netherlands Diegomar Markwell 30
Runs allowed South Africa Barry Armitage 14
Earned runs allowed South Africa Barry Armitage
Netherlands David Bergman
12
Walks Dominican Republic Edinson Volquez 11
Strikeouts Japan Daisuke Matsuzaka 23

Trophy

The winning team of each World Baseball Classic is rewarded a large silver trophy as its primary recognition. The two trophies earned by Japan during the inaugural and second classics have been on display at the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame.

Rules of play

In addition to the standard rules of baseball, the World Baseball Classic employs the following additional rules:

Pitch counts

A pitcher cannot pitch more than:

  • 85 pitches per game in the Qualifying Round (all tournaments since 2013, when this round was introduced)
  • 65 pitches per game in the First Round (all tournaments except 2009, in which the limit was 70)
  • 80 pitches per game in the Second Round (all tournaments except 2009, in which the limit was 85)
  • 95 pitches per game in the Championship Round (all tournaments except 2009, in which the limit was 100)

A pitcher can still finish a batter's plate appearance even if the limit is reached, but must come out after completing the plate appearance.

A pitcher cannot pitch until:

  • a minimum of four days have passed since he last pitched, if he threw 50 or more pitches when he last pitched
  • a minimum of one day has passed since he last pitched, if he threw 30 or more pitches when he last pitched
  • a minimum of one day has passed since any second consecutive day on which the pitcher pitched

Mercy rules

Games are called if one team is ahead by:

  • 10 or more runs after any complete inning, beginning with the completion of the seventh inning, or;
  • 15 or more runs after any complete inning, beginning with the completion of the fifth inning[9]

Mercy rules do not apply during the championship round.

Designated hitter

The designated hitter rule applies for all games.[10]

Extra innings

Starting with the 11th inning, teams automatically start with runners on first and second base.[11] These are the players in the two batting order positions previous to the leadoff batter for the inning.

Video replay review

During the first and second rounds, video review is available only for "boundary" calls, such as determining whether a potential home run ball was fair or foul, did or did not clear the fence, or was interfered with by a fan. Such reviews can only be initiated by the umpires and cannot be requested by the teams. For the championship round, video review is available for all situations it would be during a Major League Baseball regular season game.

Run differential

Unlike regular season play, where the number of runs by which a team wins a game is not relevant, the number of runs by which a WBC team wins may be relevant if a tie later develops in the standings. This caused problems during the 2013 WBC, where one game spawned a bench-clearing brawl between the Canadian and Mexican teams (Canadian hitter Chris Robinson had bunted for a base hit after Canada had already taken a large lead, causing Mexican pitcher Arnold Leon to throw three consecutive pitches at the next hitter, Rene Tosoni).

Eligibility and participation

Eligibility

A player is eligible to participate on a World Baseball Classic team if any one of the following criteria is met:[12]

  • The player is a citizen of the nation the team represents.
  • The player is qualified for citizenship or to hold a passport under the laws of a nation represented by a team, but has not been granted citizenship or been issued a passport; in this case, the player may be made eligible by WBCI upon petition by the player or team.
  • The player is a permanent legal resident of the nation or territory the team represents.
  • The player was born in the nation or territory the team represents.
  • The player has one parent who is, or if deceased was, a citizen of the nation the team represents.
  • The player has one parent who was born in the nation or territory the team represents.[13]

Player participation

In 2006, many high caliber players from both Major League Baseball and in leagues around the world participated in the World Baseball Classic. Amongst the players that made the All–WBC team were Americans Derek Jeter and Ken Griffey Jr. From Japan, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Ichiro Suzuki and Tomoya Satozaki were on the team. Other internationals included players from Cuba—Yulieski Gurriel, Yoandy Garlobo and Yadel Martí; and from the Dominican Republic—Albert Pujols, Pedro Martínez and José Bautista. The 2009 Classic saw a similarly high-profile field, with a number of players such as Hall of Famers Pedro Martínez, Iván Rodríguez and Chipper Jones and the major international debuts of Cuba's Yoenis Céspedes and Aroldis Chapman.

For the 2013 tournament, many high-profile players decided not to participate, including key players from the 2009 Japanese team such as Yu Darvish, Ichiro, and Hisashi Iwakuma. However, other prominent players came, such as Miguel Cabrera, David Wright, R.A. Dickey, Joey Votto, Adrian Gonzalez, Robinson Canó, and José Reyes, among many others.

In 2017, former All-Stars such as Adam Jones, Chris Archer, Buster Posey, Paul Goldschmidt, Andrew McCutchen and others played for the United States. For the Dominican Republic, former All-Stars Adrián Beltré, Robinson Canó, Manny Machado, José Reyes, Edinson Vólquez, and more participated. Adrián González played once more for Mexico, and Yadier Molina and Carlos Beltrán represented Puerto Rico alongside up-and-coming stars such as Javier Báez, Carlos Correa, and Francisco Lindor. Venezuela's roster included José Altuve and Miguel Cabrera.

Involvement of professional leagues

The tournament was announced in May 2005 by Commissioner of Baseball Bud Selig.[14] Major League Baseball had been attempting to create such a tournament for at least two years; negotiations with the players' union (MLBPA) and with the team owners had held the plan back. Owners, notably New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, had been concerned about their star players being injured in international play before the beginning of spring training, and the professional season. This was a concern for the MLBPA as well, but their primary objection was with drug testing. MLB wanted the stricter Olympic standards in place for the tournament, while the union wanted current MLB standards in place. Eventually, a deal was reached on insurance for player contracts and a fairly tough drug testing standard. MLB teams would not be able to directly block their players from participating.

Similarly, Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) and its players' association had a disagreement over participation in the tournament. While the owners initially agreed to the invitation, the players' union was concerned about the time of year the tournament was scheduled to take place, as well as their right to be better represented for the 2009 tournament. On September 16, 2005, after four months of negotiations, NPB officially notified the IBAF and MLB they had accepted the invitation. In September 2012, after having threatened to boycott the event despite its domestic popularity,[15] Japanese players agreed to take part after reaching a compromise with tournament organizers on sharing sponsorship and licensing revenue.[16]

Coverage

Though the first two World Baseball Classic finals were shown on ESPN in the United States, the entire 2013 tournament was shown exclusively on MLB Network domestically.[17] MLB Network also had the television rights for the 2017 Classic. Also at the moment, ESPN Deportes provides Spanish-language coverage and ESPN Radio has audio rights for the Classic.[18] Sportsnet is the current broadcaster in Canada while ESPN America covers the tournament for the United Kingdom, Ireland and other parts of Europe.

The first qualifier round of the 2017 World Baseball Classic aired in the United States and Puerto Rico on the MLB Network; and in Australia, New Zealand, and selected surrounding islands on ESPN.[19]

Attendance

Excluding qualifier games.

Year Total Attendance # Games Avg Attendance
2006 737,112 39 18,900
2009 801,408 39 20,549
2013 781,438 39 20,037
2017 973,699 40 24,342

Venues

Unlike comparable tournaments the FIFA World Cup and FIBA Basketball World Cup where one country hosts the entire event, each WBC has used multiple hosts spread around different parts of the world. Thus far, seven different nations have hosted at least one WBC pool, with each edition of the tournament featuring games played in Asia, Latin America, and the United States. The championship round is traditionally held at Major League Baseball stadiums in the U.S.

Host cities are listed with the number of WBC rounds they have hosted in parentheses. Each year is then listed along with the round hosted: 1st, 2nd, or Championship.

See also

References

  1. ^ "IBAF introduces new Format of International Tournaments". IBAF.org. Retrieved 4 October 2014.
  2. ^ "IBAF World Ranking Notes" (PDF). International Baseball Federation. 13 January 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 June 2009. Retrieved 23 June 2009.
  3. ^ Attendance and Television Ratings Shine for '09 World Baseball Classic. Bizofbaseball.com (2009-03-15). Retrieved on 2013-07-23.
  4. ^ "World Baseball Classic:". Archived from the original on 2009-05-17. Retrieved 2009-03-13.
  5. ^ The first World Baseball Classic in history ESPN. Retrieved on 2010-02-19
  6. ^ Cano dominates center stage of WBC. chicagotribune.com (2013-03-20). Retrieved on 2013-07-23.
  7. ^ "Marcus Stroman's masterful outing gets U.S. over hump for first World Baseball Classic title". Sporting News.
  8. ^ https://www.worldbaseballclassic.com/stats/
  9. ^ https://www.worldbaseballclassic.com/info/rules
  10. ^ World Baseball Classic: About
  11. ^ "About World Baseball Classic". worldbaseballclassic.com. Retrieved 12 October 2013.
  12. ^ "World Baseball Classic Qualifier Rules and Regulations". Archived from the original on 2013-02-09. Retrieved 2013-01-09.
  13. ^ "Dan Serafini Wins One For Team Italy". Retrieved 2009-03-21.
  14. ^ Schwarz, A. "Baseball World Cup set for '06". retrieved from ESPN.com on February 24, 2007
  15. ^ Coskrey, Jason (July 21, 2012). "JPBPA unanimously votes to boycott WBC". The Japan Times. Retrieved August 13, 2012.
  16. ^ "Japan agrees to play in 2013 WBC". ESPN. Associated Press. September 4, 2012.
  17. ^ MLB Network carrying all 39 games of 2013 World Baseball Classic. Baseball Nation. Retrieved on 2013-07-23.
  18. ^ gabriela nunez on January 13, 2013 (January 13, 2013). "ESPN Selected to Present Spanish-Language Multimedia Coverage of 2013 and 2017 World Baseball Classic « ESPN MediaZone". Espnmediazone.com. Retrieved March 12, 2013.
  19. ^ "Broadcast details announced for WBCQ". theABL.com.au. 8 February 2016. Retrieved 12 March 2016.

External links

2006 World Baseball Classic

The 2006 World Baseball Classic was the inaugural tournament between national baseball teams that included players from Major League Baseball. It was held from March 3 to 20 in stadiums that are in and around Tokyo, Japan; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Lake Buena Vista, Florida; Phoenix, Arizona; Scottsdale, Arizona; Anaheim, California; and San Diego, California.

The first two rounds had a round-robin format, which led to two teams being eliminated on run difference tiebreakers: in the first round, Canada was eliminated despite its 2–1 record, due to a blowout loss to Mexico as well as failing to run up the score on South Africa; and in the second round, eventual champion Japan advanced despite its 1–2 record, due to a blowout win over Mexico and losing more narrowly to South Korea than did the United States. The higher-seeded teams generally advanced to the second round, including Puerto Rico and Venezuela, as well as the teams mentioned elsewhere in this summary.

Although South Korea defeated Japan twice in the earlier rounds, they were matched against each other again in the semifinals as the two teams emerging from the same second round pool, and Japan won that game to advance to the final against Cuba (which had defeated the Dominican Republic in the other semifinal). Japan defeated Cuba 10–6 to be crowned the first champion of the World Baseball Classic.

Daisuke Matsuzaka, a NPB veteran who was little-known outside Japan at the time, was crowned the Most Valuable Player of the tournament. The following year he made his debut with the Boston Red Sox.

2009 World Baseball Classic

The 2009 World Baseball Classic was an international baseball competition. It began on March 5 and finished March 23.

Unlike in 2006, when the round-robin format of the first two rounds led to some eliminations being decided by run-difference tiebreakers, the first two rounds of the 2009 edition were modified double-elimination format. The modification was that the final game of each bracket was winner-take-all, even if won by the team emerging from the loser's bracket, although that game only affected seeding, as two teams always advanced from each bracket.

The biggest surprise in the first round was the Netherlands, which twice defeated the Dominican Republic in Pool D to advance. The second round saw the two Pool A teams (South Korea and Japan) defeat the two Pool B teams (Cuba and Mexico) while the two Pool C teams (Venezuela and the United States) defeated the two Pool D teams (Puerto Rico and the Netherlands). South Korea and Japan then advanced to the final game, playing each other for the fifth time in the tournament (split 2–2 up to that time), and Japan emerged victorious for the second straight Classic, winning the final game 5–3 in 10 innings.

For the second straight Classic, Daisuke Matsuzaka was named the Most Valuable Player of the tournament.

2013 World Baseball Classic

The 2013 World Baseball Classic (WBC) was an international professional baseball competition, held from March 2 to March 19, 2013. This was the third iteration of the WBC, following the two previous tournaments, held in 2006 and 2009.

Unlike the two previous WBCs, which consisted of the same sixteen countries, only the twelve countries that won at least one game in the 2009 WBC were guaranteed a berth in the main tournament. The automatic qualifiers were Australia, China, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Puerto Rico, South Korea, the United States, and Venezuela. Four qualification brackets were held in late 2012 and respectively won by Canada, Taiwan, Spain, and Brazil, who joined the WBC as the final four teams (the latter two making their Classic debuts).

As in the 2006 tournament, the first round had a round-robin format, which led to South Korea being eliminated on a run difference tiebreaker. Venezuela also failed to advance out of a tough group. The fourth-place teams in each group – Brazil, Australia, Spain, and Mexico – will have to participate in the qualifying round in order to return for the 2017 tournament.

The second round was a modified double-elimination format, as in the 2009 tournament, where the modification was that the final game of each bracket was winner-take-all, even if won by the team emerging from the loser's bracket, although that game only affected seeding as two teams advanced from each bracket. The Netherlands improved on its surprising 2009 run by advancing to the semifinal game, as did two-time defending champion Japan. However, the two-time defending champions Japan were eliminated in the semi-finals game against stunning Puerto Rico. In the final game, the Dominican Republic defeated Puerto Rico to become the first WBC champion from the Western Hemisphere, as well as the first team to complete the WBC with an undefeated record. Robinson Canó was named the Most Valuable Player of the Classic.

2017 World Baseball Classic

The 2017 World Baseball Classic (WBC) was an international professional baseball competition, composed of 16 competing nations, held from March 6 to March 22, 2017. It was the fourth iteration of the World Baseball Classic. The first-round hosts were Seoul, Tokyo, Miami and Zapopan. The second-round hosts were Tokyo and San Diego, and the championship round was played in Los Angeles.Twelve of the sixteen competing nations qualified based on their performance during the first round of the 2013 tournament; the remaining four nations are the winners of four qualification tournaments that took place in February, March and September 2016. Two of the four qualifiers, Colombia and Israel, each made their first appearance in the WBC, and both have secured their positions for the 2021 World Baseball Classic.

The Netherlands, Japan, Puerto Rico, and the United States advanced to the championship round. Defending champion Dominican Republic was eliminated in the second round. The United States defeated Puerto Rico to win the championship game, 8–0. Marcus Stroman was named tournament MVP. He made three starts for the U.S. and posted a 2.35 ERA in 15​1⁄3 total innings, including six shutout innings in the championship game.

Adrián González

Adrián González Savín (born May 8, 1982), also known by his nicknames A-Gon and Titán, is a retired American-Mexican professional baseball first baseman. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Texas Rangers, San Diego Padres, Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers and the New York Mets.

González was born in the United States, but was raised in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico, until 1990, when he returned to the United States. He played for Mexico in the 2006, 2009, 2013, and the 2017 editions of the World Baseball Classic.

González was the first overall pick in the 2000 MLB draft by the Florida Marlins. He was traded to the Rangers, and made his MLB debut with them in 2004. He was traded to the Padres after the 2005 season, where he was an All-Star selection three times and a two-time Gold Glove Award winner. He was traded to the Red Sox after the 2010 season, and was traded to the Dodgers in August 2012. After playing for the Dodgers throughout the 2017 season, he was traded to the Atlanta Braves, but was released without playing for them. He then played for the Mets, who released him during the 2018 season.

Alex Ríos

Alexis Israel Ríos (born February 18, 1981) is an American former professional baseball right fielder. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Toronto Blue Jays, Chicago White Sox, Texas Rangers, and Kansas City Royals. A World Series champion with the Royals in 2015 over the New York Mets, Rios is also a two-time MLB All-Star selection. In 2013, he hit for the cycle and achieved six hits in one game. In 2007, he was a Fielding Bible Award winner for right fielders. He is a three-time World Baseball Classic participant with Puerto Rico.

Chinese Taipei national baseball team

The Chinese Taipei baseball team (Chinese: 中華臺北棒球代表隊; pinyin: Zhōnghuá Táiběi Bàngqiú Dàibiǎoduì) is the national team of Taiwan. It is governed by the Chinese Taipei Baseball Association. The team is ranked fourth in the world by the World Baseball Softball Confederation, behind the United States, Japan, and South Korea respectively. They have consistently maintained top positions in international baseball competitions. The team is usually made of professionals from Taiwan's Chinese Professional Baseball League, Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball, and Major League Baseball or Minor League Baseball from the United States.

Due to hostile political pressures from Mainland China on international sports organizations, the delegation had to reach a compromise name, changing it from the National Baseball Team of the Republic of China (Chinese: 中華民國棒球國家隊; pinyin: Zhōnghuá Mínguó Bàngqiú Guójiāduì) to the Chinese Taipei Baseball Team.The team won six titles in the Asian Baseball Championship, a bronze medal at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, and a silver medal at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona. It won the gold medal at the 2006 Asian Games in Doha in a sweeping victory by beating South Korea, Thailand, China, Philippines, and finally all-time rival Japan. They achieved 8th place in the 2013 World Baseball Classic.

Christian Yelich

Christian Stephen Yelich (born December 5, 1991) is an American professional baseball outfielder for the Milwaukee Brewers Major League Baseball (MLB). He previously played for the Miami Marlins. Yelich was drafted out of high school by the Marlins in the 1st round (23rd overall) of the 2010 Major League Baseball Draft. He bats left-handed and throws right-handed. He is one of four players in Brewers history to win the Major League Baseball Most Valuable Player Award.

Cuba national baseball team

The Cuba national baseball team is the national team of Cuba. The team is made up from the most professional players from the Cuban national baseball system. Cuba has been described as a baseball powerhouse and currently ranks 5th in WBSC's world rankings. It has medalled in all five Olympics in which baseball was played.Cuba played in the 2017 World Baseball Classic.

Daisuke Matsuzaka

Daisuke Matsuzaka (松坂 大輔, Matsuzaka Daisuke, [matsɯꜜzaka daisɯ̥ke]; born September 13, 1980) is a Japanese professional baseball pitcher for the Chunichi Dragons of Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB). He has played for the Boston Red Sox and New York Mets of Major League Baseball (MLB) and the Seibu Lions of Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB).

Matsuzaka was selected the MVP of the inaugural and the second World Baseball Classic, and is an Olympic bronze medalist.He is the first player to have won both a World Series and a World Baseball Classic.

Japan national baseball team

The Japan national baseball team (野球日本代表, Yakyū Nihon Daihyō) is the national team representing Japan in international baseball competitions. They have reached 2nd place in the Baseball World Cup in 1982, and have won the World Baseball Classic in 2006 and 2009. The team is currently ranked #1 in the world by the World Baseball Softball Confederation.The team participated in every Summer Olympic Games since the first demonstration tournament in 1984, through when it was discontinued following the 2008 Beijing Games. Until 2000, the team was made up exclusively of amateur players. Since the 2000 Summer Olympics, the team has been composed of players from Nippon Professional Baseball. The team that played in the 2006 World Baseball Classic included Japanese players from Major League Baseball as well.

In the 2006 Classic, the team played in Pool A and placed second, advancing to round two. They went on to win the 2006 Classic. They played at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, as they had qualified through the Asian Baseball Championship in 2007. Unlike the WBC roster, the Olympic team was exclusively formed by NPB players (but included one amateur player, who was drafted during the tournament's progress).

Most recently, Japan participated in the 2017 World Baseball Classic, finishing third.

José Berríos

José Orlando Berríos (born May 27, 1994) is a Puerto Rican professional baseball pitcher for the Minnesota Twins of Major League Baseball (MLB). He was drafted by the Twins in the first round of the 2012 Major League Baseball draft.

José Reyes (infielder)

José Bernabénis Reyes (born June 11, 1983) is a Dominican-American professional baseball infielder who is currently a free agent. He has played, most notably at shortstop, in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the New York Mets, Miami Marlins, Toronto Blue Jays, and Colorado Rockies.

Reyes is a four-time MLB All-Star. He led MLB in triples in 2005, 2006, 2008, and 2011. Reyes also led the National League (NL) in stolen bases in 2005, 2006, and 2007. He was the NL batting champion in 2011. He is also the New York Mets' all-time leader in triples and stolen bases, and has the most stolen bases among all active players.

Justin Morneau

Justin Ernest George Morneau (born May 15, 1981) is a Canadian former professional baseball first baseman. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Minnesota Twins, Pittsburgh Pirates, Colorado Rockies, and Chicago White Sox. At 6 feet 4 inches (1.93 m) and 220 pounds (100 kg), Morneau was drafted as a catcher by the Twins in 1999. He converted to first base in the minor leagues and made his MLB debut in 2003. Morneau held that position throughout his career and in 2007 became the first Twin since Gary Gaetti in 1987–1988 to hit 30 home runs in consecutive seasons. He is now a special assistant for the Minnesota Twins.

A four-time All-Star despite an injury-riddled career, Morneau was named the 2006 American League (AL) Most Valuable Player (MVP), finished runner-up for MVP in 2008, and won two Silver Slugger Awards. Additionally, Morneau won the 2008 Home Run Derby and the 2014 National League (NL) batting title. Internationally, Morneau represented Canada at the 2006, 2009, 2013, and 2017 World Baseball Classic.

Robinson Canó

Robinson José Canó Mercedes (Spanish pronunciation: [ka'no]; born October 22, 1982) is a Dominican-American professional baseball second baseman for the New York Mets of Major League Baseball (MLB). He made his MLB debut with the New York Yankees on May 3, 2005, played for them through the 2013 season, and was a member of their 2009 World Series winning team over the Philadelphia Phillies. He played for the Seattle Mariners from 2014 through 2018. He has represented the Dominican Republic in international play, including winning both the gold medal and Most Valuable Player Award (MVP) of the 2013 World Baseball Classic (WBC) tournament.

From San Pedro de Macorís, Dominican Republic, the Yankees signed Canó as an amateur free agent on January 5, 2001. He is an eight-time MLB All-Star, five-time Silver Slugger Award winner, and two-time Gold Glove Award winner. He was the 2017 All-Star Game MVP and the 2011 Home Run Derby winner. Along with WBC teammates Octavio Dotel and Santiago Casilla, Canó became one of the first four players to have won both a World Series and World Baseball Classic. On December 6, 2013, Canó signed a 10-year, $240 million USD deal with the Mariners.

In 2018, Canó was suspended 80 games for violating Major League Baseball’s joint drug agreement for his use of furosemide. After the 2018 season, he was traded to the Mets.

Scottsdale Stadium

Scottsdale Stadium is a baseball field located in Scottsdale, Arizona, United States. The new stadium was built in 1992 and holds 12,000 people. It has been the spring training home of the San Francisco Giants since 1984, when the capacity was just 4,721.

The stadium hosted three games of the 2006 World Baseball Classic.

Seiichi Uchikawa

Seiichi Uchikawa (内川 聖一, born August 4, 1982 in Ōita, Japan) is a Japanese professional baseball player for the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks in Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball. He rose to prominence in 2008 with a league-leading .378 batting average. He was a part of the Japanese baseball team during the 2009 World Baseball Classic, as well as the 2013 World Baseball Classic.

During the 2010 offseason, he exercised his free agent option and after weeks of negotiations between the Yokohama BayStars, Hiroshima Toyo Carp, and Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks, he decided to sign a four-year deal with SoftBank worth up to 1.36 billion yen.

South Korea national baseball team

The South Korean national baseball team (Korean: 대한민국 야구 국가대표팀, 大韓民國野球國家代表팀) is the national baseball team of South Korea. They won the Baseball World Cup in 1982, and participated in the Summer Olympic Games of 1984, 1988, 1996, and 2000. At the 2008 Summer Olympics, it won the gold medal in a final victory against Cuba. Currently, the South Korean men's baseball team is ranked 3rd in the WBSC World Rankings. They won the Olympics in 1984

Óliver Pérez

Óliver Pérez Martínez (born August 15, 1981) is a Mexican professional baseball pitcher for the Cleveland Indians of Major League Baseball (MLB). He previously played for the San Diego Padres, Pittsburgh Pirates, New York Mets, Seattle Mariners, Arizona Diamondbacks, Houston Astros, and Washington Nationals. He has also competed for the Mexican national baseball team in the 2006, 2009, and 2013 World Baseball Classics.

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