Organizers of the World Baseball Classic gathered outside San Francisco’s AT&T Park this afternoon to provide key dates and locations of the tournament, which will culminate with the semifinals and final at the Giants’ home stadium in March next year.
The 28-team tournament’s first round, after a qualifying round shaves the participants to 16, will consist of four, four-team pools, playing in Fukuoka, Japan, Taichung, Taiwan, San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Phoenix.
Pool play in Japan is March 2 to 5; in Taiwan from March 2 to 6; and March 7 to 10 in both Phoenix and Puerto Rico.
The top two teams in each pool advance to the second round, a double-elimination bracket, with advancing teams in the Japan and Taiwan brackets playing in Tokyo and the top teams in the other groups battling it out in Miami.
Second round play in Tokyo is March 8 to 12 and March 12 to 16 in Miami.
The tournament concludes with the survivors from each second-round bracket traveling to San Francisco for the semifinals and final rounds from March 17 to 19.
San Francisco is the third California city to host the semis and final of the tournament–San Diego and Los Angeles were hosts in 2006 and 2009.
San Francisco Giants President and CEO, Larry Baer, said the World Baseball Classic is one of the “crown jewel events in all of international sports,” which is why they pushed so hard to host the final.
“We believe that AT&T Park will be the perfect venue to showcase the best baseball players in the world as they represent their countries and compete in this one-of-a-kind tournament,” Baer said in a statement.
Mayor Ed Lee sees hosting this international event as a way to boost the economy for what he calls a “world-class city.”
“To hold this event here is extremely exciting,” Lee said.
The four initial four-team pools were seeded according to the performances in the last World Baseball Classic in 2009, Paul Archey, president of World Baseball Classic Inc., said.
Japan, the winner of both previous tournaments, is the No. 1 seed in the Japan group; Korea is the top seed in the Taiwan group; Venezuela is the top club in the Puerto Rico pool; and the United States is the top country in Pool D, which includes Mexico, Italy and a country that advances from the qualifying round.
In 2013, the winner of the tournament will be considered, for the first time, as International Baseball Federation World Champion. The federation recently officially sanctioned the tournament with the winner being the official national team world champion.
Tickets for the tournament will go on sale Dec. 3, as will the release of the final rosters.
More information on the World Baseball Classic can be found at www.mlb.com/wbc/2013.