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World Baseball Classic Expanding to 20 Teams

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U.S. pitcher Marcus Stroman holds up with his MVP trophy after the United States defeated Puerto Rico 8-0 in the final of the World Baseball Classic in Los Angeles, Wednesday, March 22, 2017. Photo: AP / Jae C. Hong

By Alex Bell |

The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) World Baseball Classic is set to expand from 16 to 20 national teams.

Qualifying events for the four additional spots will take place in March, it was announced today.

Two qualifiers, in a modified double-elimination format, will be staged at the Kino Sports Complex in Tucson, Arizona, from March 12 to 25.

Brazil, France, Germany, Nicaragua, Pakistan and South Africa make up Pool 1, from March 12-17.

Pool 2 consists of Czech Republic, Great Britain, New Zealand, Panama, Philippines and Spain (March 20 to 25).

The top two teams from each group advance to the next World Baseball Classic, scheduled for March 2021.

All 16 teams from the 2017 World Baseball Classic return for the 2021 edition, including Australia, Canada, China, Chinese Taipei, Colombia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Netherlands, Mexico, Puerto Rico, United States and Venezuela.

“WBSC is excited to further strengthen ties with Major League Baseball and the MLBPA (Major League Baseball Players Association) through the expansion of the World Baseball Classic, which will see an increase from 16 to 20 teams and include more of our National Federations,” WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari said.

“WBSC applauds MLB’s continued efforts and shared vision of globalising our great game.”

In total, 28 of WBSC’s National Baseball Federations will take part in the World Baseball Classic, either through the main event or its qualifiers.

The US are the current World Baseball Classic champions, having defeated Puerto Rico 8-0 in the 2017 final at Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles.

Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz.

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