Sixteen teams from four different continents will vie to be called the “Best in the World” when the 2013 World Baseball Classic gets underway Saturday, March 2nd. The international baseball tournament is being held for the first time since 2009. Japan defeated South Korea in 10 innings, 5-3, in the championship game that year. Japan also won the inaugural WBC in 2006. Pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka was named the Most Valuable Player in both tournaments.
2013 World Baseball Classic Schedule
The host sites for the opening round of the World Baseball Classic 2013 will be Japan, Taiwan, Puerto Rico and the United States. The 16 teams are broken down into four pools that will compete in round robin play in round one. The teams, their respective pools and where the opening round games will be played are as follows:
- Pool A (Japan) – Japan, China, Cuba, Brazil
- Pool B (Taiwan) – Korea, Netherlands, Australia, Chinese Taipei
- Pool C (Puerto Rico) – Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Spain
- Pool D (United States) – Mexico, Italy, Canada, Team USA
The second round uses a modified double-elimination format and games will be held in Japan and the U.S. March 8th-16th. The WBC 2013 championship round will take place March 17th-19th in San Francisco, California.
WBC 2013 Favorites
The odds-on favorite to win the 2013 WBC is the Dominican Republic. The Dominican squad is led by Major League stars Adrian Beltre, Jose Reyes, Hanley Ramirez, Nelson Cruz and Robinson Cano. The club, which is managed Tony Pena, will face Venezuela in its first WBC 2013 game on March 7th.
The United States is just behind the Dominican Republic in the eyes of the oddsmakers. Team USA has been nothing short of average in its two previous appearances in the WBC, posting a 7-and-7 record and never finishing better than fourth. The World Baseball Classic 2013 club will be managed by Joe Torre, who collected four World Series titles while skipper of the New York Yankees.
The USA pitching staff is headlined by reigning National League Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey, who was traded by the New York Mets to the Toronto Blue Jays during the offseason. Others on the American staff include starters Kris Medlen and Ryan Vogelsong, and relievers Craig Kimbrel and Heath Bell.
The American outfield consists of young stars Adam Jones, Giancarlo Stanton and Ryan Braun. Mark Teixeira, Brandon Phillips, Jimmy Rollins and David Wright will be in the American infield, while Joe Mauer will be behind the plate. Team USA will open up the 2013 World Baseball Classic against Mexico on March 8th.
Download: 2013 World Baseball Classic Bracket