The World Baseball Classic is returning next March, and the work has begun in lining up host facilities.
In recent news, two ballparks were confirmed as sites for the tournament’s first round. Japan’s Tokyo Dome will be the home ballpark for one group, while another will play at South Korea’s Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul.
The contrasts between the two facilities is striking. The Tokyo Dome is a well-known commodity, as it has been home to the Yomiuri Giants since 1988 and has also served as the site of several opening series in Major League Baseball. The Gocheok Sky Dome, however, just opened last fall. It will be in the spotlight as South Korea hosts its first WBC games. More from Yonhap News Agency:
“We are very delighted to host the WBC for the first time in South Korea,” said KBO Commissioner Koo Bon-neung. “We will try our best to make the event a baseball festival that everyone in the world can enjoy.”
The KBO said officials from the World Baseball Classic, Inc. (WBCI) will visit South Korea on Tuesday and inspect Gocheok Sky Dome. During their two-day visit, they will also meet with the KBO officials to discuss the operations of the tournament here. The WBCI, founded by Major League Baseball (MLB) and the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA), is the operator of the WBC.
“Alongside the KBO, we are likewise delighted to bring the World Baseball Classic to Seoul for the first time,” Chris Park, a Korean-American MLB executive overseeing the WBC, said in a release. “The Korean baseball community has never been stronger and next year’s showcase at the Gocheok Sky Dome serves and demonstrates the growth of our game throughout Asia.”
The field for the Tokyo Dome is completely in place, as Cuba, China, and Australia are joining Japan. In Seoul, South Korea will be included in a pool that features Chinese Taipei, the Netherlands, plus the winner of a upcoming qualifier in Brooklyn. More sites for first round action are expected to be announced at a later date.