World Baseball Classic expands to 28 teams
World Baseball Classic expands to 28 teams | MLB.com: News
The field for the world's largest international baseball tournament is getting even bigger.
World Baseball Classic Inc. announced Wednesday the introduction of a play-in round to the 2013 installation of the World Baseball Classic that will allow 12 new countries to compete for the first time. The new round will bring in 16 teams divided into four pools, and the winner of each pool will advance to play in the World Baseball Classic.
Four teams -- Canada, Chinese Taipei, Panama and South Africa -- will compete in the play-in round after not winning a game in the 2009 World Baseball Classic. New participants will include France, Spain, Great Britain, Germany, and New Zealand in addition to participants from the Americas: Colombia, Nicaragua and Brazil.
Israel, which had a nascent professional baseball league that folded, will also be among the first-time participants, as will Thailand, the Czech Republic and the Philippines.
It's all part of the natural growth and development of the World Baseball Classic -- increasing the international flavor and intrigue of a rapidly evolving event.