We’ll be seeing an expanded 2023 World Baseball Classic, as the number of teams is increased to 20 and U.S. games played in Phoenix’s Chase Field and Miami’s loanDepot park, which will host matches in all three rounds.
The fifth installment of the WBC, set for March 8-2, will take place at Intercontinental Stadium in Taichung, Taiwan; the Tokyo Dome in Japan; Chase Field, the home of the Arizona Diamondbacks, in Phoenix; and loanDepot park, the home of the Miami Marlins, in Florida. The scheduling will completely overlap Spring Training 2023 for U.S. sports fans.
The schedule represents another shift in ballpark logistics for the tourney. In 2017, the last time the WBC was played (the 2021 event was postponed due to COVID-19), six ballparks across the world hosted games, including loanDepot park, San Diego’s Petco Park and Los Angeles’s Dodger Stadium, providing a Southern California tinge to the tourney. By shifting games to Miami and adding Chase Field to the mix, the tourney returns to a stronger connection with MLB Spring Training–presumably to cut down on travel for players, among other reasons.
As noted, the field is expanding to 20 teams. The 16 teams that participated in the 2017 Classic are invited to play in 2023 and will be joined by four teams that will have advanced from the 2022 Qualifiers, which will be held at Armin-Wolf-Arena in Regensburg, Germany from September 16-21 and at Rod Carew National Stadium in Panama City, Panama from September 30-October 5. The 2023 WBC will feature five-team pools in the first round for round-robin play. The top two teams in each of the four first round pools will advance to the quarterfinals, while the top two teams from each quarterfinal pool will advance to the Championship Round.
Taichung will host Pool A contests from March 8-13 between teams from Chinese Taipei, Cuba, Italy, The Kingdom of the Netherlands and a winner from the 2022 World Baseball Classic Qualifier. It marks the second time that Taiwan will host WBC contests (Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium also hosted in 2013).
The Tokyo Dome, which has hosted pools in each of the previous four World Baseball Classics (2006, 2009, 2013 and 2017), will again be home to first round games (Pool B) and quarterfinal games in 2023. Pool B will be played from March 9-13, featuring Japan, Korea, China, Australia and a winner from the 2022 Qualifier. The quarterfinals on March 15-16 will feature the top two teams from Pool B along with the two teams advancing from Pool A in Taiwan.
Chase Field returns as a World Baseball Classic host in 2023 after serving as a first-round venue in 2006 and 2013. The games for Pool C, which will be played from March 11-15, will include the defending World Baseball Classic Champion United States, Canada, Mexico, Colombia and a winner from the Qualifier.
“We are honored and excited to welcome fans to Chase Field for the 2023 World Baseball Classic,” said D-backs President & CEO Derrick Hall via press statement. “This event is another example of Arizona’s strong reputation as an international destination for major sporting events. I am proud that the D-backs will host fans from United States, Mexico, Canada, Colombia and one additional team to cheer for the most talented players in the world. Our fans created an electric and memorable atmosphere for the 2013 WBC, and I am confident their pride and passion will be on display for the world to see once again.”
loanDepot park in Miami will become the first venue in tournament history to host games in all three rounds of a World Baseball Classic in the same year. Pool D of the first round, which features 2017 Finalist Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Israel, the Dominican Republic and a winner from the 2022 Qualifier, will run from March 11-15. The North American quarterfinals, including the teams advancing from Pool C and D, will take place on March 17-18, while the Semi-Finals and Finals will be played from March 19-21.
“Along with our fans, partners and the entire South Florida community, we are honored Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association have selected loanDepot park to host all three rounds of the 2023 World Baseball Classic,” said Marlins Chairman and Principal Owner Bruce Sherman via press statement. “We look forward to welcoming fans from across the globe to loanDepot park to cheer on many of the top players in the game taking part in this prestigious event.”
Graphic courtesy World Baseball Classic.