After a two-year delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Baseball Classic is back! Twenty national teams from around the world, featuring countless MLB stars, will compete over two weeks to become the undisputed world champions of baseball.
Here’s everything you need to know about the return of the World Baseball Classic after six years.
What is the World Baseball Classic?
The World Baseball Classic (WBC) is essentially the world cup of baseball. It was created in 2006 after the International Olympic Committee removed baseball as an Olympic sport in 2005.
Pool play in the WBC is competed in round-robin double-elimination style. The top two teams from each of four pools advance and play in what MLB.com calls “essentially an eight-team, single-elimination bracket.”
When does it start?
The WBC officially begins Wednesday, but the first game is at 11 pm ET Tuesday, when Cuba faces off with the Netherlands.
Which countries are competing?
There are four pools of five teams that will play each other in four different locations around the world.
Pool A – Taichung, Taiwan
• Chinese Taipei
Pool B – Tokyo, Japan
• Czech Republic
Pool C – Phoenix, USA
• Great Britain
Pool D – Miami, USA
• Puerto Rico
• Dominican Republic
Who won last time?
Team USA won the most recent WBC in 2017, defeating Puerto Rico 8-0 in the final to take home its first WBC trophy. It was just the second time Team USA had placed in the top four.
The Dominican Republic won the 2013 WBC, also defeating Puerto Rico. Japan won the first two WBC tournaments in 2006 and 2009.
Who is on the Team USA roster?
• JT Realmuto, Philadelphia Phillies
• Will Smith, Los Angeles Dodgers
• Kyle Higashioka, New York Yankees
• 1B Pete Alonso, New York Mets
• 1B Paul Goldschmidt, St. Louis Cardinals
• 2B Jeff McNeil, New York Mets
• 3B Nolan Arenado, St. Louis Cardinals
• SS Tim Anderson, Chicago White Sox
• SS Trea Turner, Philadelphia Phillies
• SS Bobby Witt Jr., Kansas City Royals
• Mookie Betts, Los Angeles Dodgers
• Cedric Mullins, Baltimore Orioles
• Kyle Schwarber, Philadelphia Phillies
• Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels
• Kyle Tucker, Houston Astros
• Kyle Freeland, Colorado Rockies
• Merrill Kelly, Arizona Diamondbacks
• Lance Lynn, Chicago White Sox
• Nick Martinez, San Diego Padres
• Miles Mikolas, St. Louis Cardinals
• Brady Singer, Kansas City Royals
• Adam Wainwright, St. Louis Cardinals
• Jason Adam, Tampa Bay Rays
• Daniel Bard, Colorado Rockies
• David Bednar, Pittsburgh Pirates
• Kendall Graveman, Chicago White Sox
• Adam Ottavino, New York Mets
• Ryan Pressly, Houston Astros
• Brooks Raley, New York Mets
• Devin Williams, Milwaukee Brewers
Team USA is managed by 15-year MLB veteran Mark DeRosa, who played for the US in the 2009 WBC. He brought in Ken Griffey Jr. as hitting coach and Andy Pettitte as pitching coach.
Which MLB stars are playing?
Even though spring training is in full swing, you can find MLB stars of today and yesterday (and maybe tomorrow) on nearly every team in the WBC. Here are some of the highlights.
Australia: LHP Will Sherriff (Diamondbacks)
Canada: 1B Freddie Freeman (Dodgers), RHP John Axford (retired), OF Denzel Clarke (Oakland Athletics)
Colombia: C Jorge Alfaro (Boston Red Sox), LHP Fernando Abad (Rockies), INF Gio Urshela (Angels)
Cuba: INF Yoan Moncada (White Sox), OF Luis Robert (White Sox)
Dominican Republic: INF Rafael Devers (Red Sox), OF Eloy Jimenez (White Sox), RHP Cristian Javier (Astros), RHP Sandy Alcantara (Miami Marlins), INF Julio Rodriguez (Seattle Mariners)
Great Britain: RHP Ryan Long (Orioles), OF Trayce Thompson (Dodgers), C Harry Ford (Mariners)
Israel: C Garrett Stubbs (Phillies), OF Joc Pederson (San Francisco Giants), RHP Jacob Steinmetz (Diamondbacks)
Italy: RHP Michael Nittoli (Chicago Cubs), INF Vinnie Pasquantino (Royals), C Vito Friscia (Phillies)
Japan: RHP/OF Shohei Ohtani (Angels), RHP Yu Darvish (Padres), OF Masataka Yoshida (Red Sox), OF Lars Nootbaar (Cardinals)
Mexico: OF Alex Verdugo (Red Sox), RHP Luis Cessa (Reds), RHP Jose Urquidy (Astros), LHP Julio Urias (Dodgers), INF Rowdy Tellez (Brewers), RHP Taijuan Walker (Phillies)
Netherlands: RHP Kenley Jansen (Red Sox), INF Jonathan Schoop (Detroit Tigers), INF Xander Bogaerts (Padres)
Nicaragua: INF Brandon Leyton (Reds), RHP Jonathan Loaisiga (Yankees), RHP Erasmo Ramirez (Washington Nationals)
Panama: RHP Javy Guerra (Brewers), INF Jonathan Arauz (Mets), INF Christian Bethancourt (Rays)
Puerto Rico: RHP Yacksel Rios (Brewers), INF/OF Enrique Hernandez (Red Sox), RHP Marcus Stroman (White Sox), C Martin Maldonado (Astros), RHP Edwin Diaz (Mets)
Venezuela: OF Ronald Acuña Jr. (Braves), OF Anthony Santander (Orioles), INF Miguel Cabrera (Tigers), INF Jose Altuve (Astros), C Salvador Perez (Royals), INF Luis Arraez (Marlins), INF Gleyber Torres (Yankees)
What’s the schedule?
Here’s the schedule for pool play:
• Pool A: March 8-12
• Pool B: March 9-13
• Pool C: March 11-15
• Pool D: March 11-15
And here’s the info on the final rounds:
• Quarterfinals No. 1: March 15-16 in Tokyo (winners and runners-up from Pools A and B)
• Quarterfinals No. 2: March 17-18 in Miami (winners and runners-up from Pools C and D)
• Semifinals: March 19-20 in Miami
• Championship: March 21 in Miami
The day-by-day schedule for pool play can be found here.
When does Team USA play? Here’s the schedule through March 15:
• March 11, 10 pm ET: Great Britain vs. USA
• March 12, 10 pm ET: Mexico vs. USA
• March 13, 10 pm ET: Canada vs. USA
• March 15, 10 pm ET: USA vs. Colombia
How do I watch the World Baseball Classic?
You can watch the World Baseball Classic on FOX, FS1, FS2, Tubi and FOX Deportes. If you live outside the United States, you can find information on international broadcasts here.