World Baseball Classic Preview

The World Baseball Classic returns

Jonathan Sakaguchi, Sports Editor

Every few years athletes get to represent their home country on an international display. I am not talking about the Olympics. I am talking about the return of the World Baseball Classic (WBC). The WBC is played every six years, and allows players to represent their country in a tournament, when they do not usually get to play in the Summer Olympics. The WBC is made up of four pools, with teams playing in different countries around the world. The championship this year is being played on March 21 at LoanDepot Park, the home of the Miami Marlins.


This year’s tournament will showcase current MLB stars and players from MiBL including Shohei Ohtani, Mike Trout, David Bednar, Clayton, Kershaw, and many other superstars from the league.


Players from MLB and MiLB will play for different countries AS LONG as they have the family heritage to prove it, such as one parent being born in that country, proof of citizenship and has residency in that country, or played for that country before in the WBC. For example, Jason Grilli (Former Pittsburgh Pirate) played for team Italy, even though he was born in the United States.


The Pool Host cities include: Tokyo, Japan; Taichung, Taiwan; Miami, Florida; and Phoenix, Arizona.


The pools are set here the breakdown

  1. Pool A in Taichung, Taiwan
  2. Chinese Taipei
  3. Netherlands
  4. Panama
  5. Cuba
  6. Italy
  7. Pool B. In Tokyo, Japan
  8. Japan
  9. China
  10. Korea
  11. Australia
  12. Czech Republic
  13. Pool C in Phoenix, Arizona
  14. USA
  15. Canada
  16. Great Britain
  17. Mexico
  18. Columbia
  19. Pool D in Miami, Florida
  20. Dominican Republic
  21. Puerto Rico
  22. Israel
  23. Nicaragua
  24. Venezuela


Pool play will begin on March 8th, with games in Pool A and B to start, and will end on March 15th with games between Pool C and D.


The top two teams will move on to the quarterfinals with the best record; however, there will be a tie-breaker if there is a third team with the same record. The Pool winner will play the runner-up of another such as Pool A Winner will play Pool B Runner-up and Vise-versa. After the Quarterfinals are completed, the final four become the last two and head to Miami for the championship game.


Rules for the WBC are pretty much the same as in major-league baseball. They are going to universal DH, and add the pitch clock this year with the ban on the infield shift. There is one challenge through quarterfinals in pool play. So, if a team so chooses to challenge a call, they will get two in the semi finals in the championship matchup. There are also pitching limits in pool play as pitchers in  the quarterfinals  are only allowed 65 pitches, with 80 in the semifinal, and 95 in the championship game.In pool play in the quarterfinals, there is a mercy rule, but it will not be enforced during the semi finals with the championship game. In addition, any substitution to pitchers must face a minimum of three batters.


There are teams that you should be on the watch for to win the pool and there are sleeper teams who may get in to the quarterfinals. Teams that I predict will win the pool team: USA, Japan, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic.

Teams to watch out for as sleepers: Venezuela, Chinese Taipei, Korea, and Columbia.


I predict the Championship game Match up, USA vs Japan, similar to a rematch of 2017 with Team USA taking the gold medal 8-6 Final.


Fox Sports will have the games aired here in the states, check your local listings for matchups on TV.