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Giants to host semis, final of World Baseball Classic

It is David Wright being tackled on the field by other giddy Major League Baseball players after his walk-off double for the United States. It is the passion and the pageantry of Puerto Rico vs. the Dominican Republic, maybe in the Latin gateway of Miami. It is 28 nations from around the globe testing their brand of baseball against the others, and wondering if Japan can somehow make it 3-for-3 with their own signature style.

The World Baseball Classic returns next spring for a third time with an expanded field playing at sites around the globe, and a major milestone was reached on Wednesday with the announcement of MLB's own host venues.

World Baseball Classic Inc. announced that the Giants will host the semifinals and final at AT&T Park in San Francisco. Second-round games will be hosted by the Marlins at Marlins Park. First-round competition will be hosted by the D-backs at both Chase Field and their Cactus League home of Salt River Fields at Talking Stick in Scottsdale, Ariz.

It is San Francisco's debut as a host city for the World Baseball Classic, succeeding San Diego's PETCO Park (2006) and Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles (2009) as host of the semifinals and final. What remains to be seen is whether Japan can celebrate yet another title on the Giants' field, having won both previous World Baseball Classic tournaments.

"The Giants are excited to have been selected by MLB to host the Championship Round of the World Baseball Classic," said Giants President and CEO Larry Baer. "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 international tournament. We look forward to bringing this international competition to one of the most international cities in the world!"

Miami will be a second-round host venue for a second time, having also done so in 2009 at Dolphin Stadium, and this time it will have a retractable roof. Arizona previously hosted first-round action at Scottsdale Stadium in 2006.

"We are very pleased to partner with three franchises that will prove to be outstanding hosts of the 2013 World Baseball Classic," said Paul Archey, MLB senior vice president of international business operations. "The Giants, the Marlins and the D-backs share our commitment to continuing the game's remarkable global growth, and their world-class cities and ballparks will welcome the unique brand of enthusiasm inspired by the World Baseball Classic."

"Miami, Phoenix and San Francisco are three culturally diverse, baseball-loving cities," said Timothy Slavin, director of business affairs for the MLB Players Association. "We're confident each of these communities and venues will provide an unforgettable experience for players and fans from around the world."

International venues that will host 2013 World Baseball Classic games, pool composition and game dates will be announced on the event's Web site in the weeks ahead along with information regarding ticket availability. Visitors to the site can see a video interview with 2013 U.S.A. manager Joe Torre; a multimedia look back at previous tournaments; news and an overview of the bracket. Fans also are encouraged to like the World Baseball Classic Facebook page for updates.

Venues hosting games during the World Baseball Classic Qualifiers were announced previously, and include Armin-Wolf-Baseball-Arena in Regensburg, Germany; Rod Carew Stadium in Panama City, Panama; XinZuang Stadium in Taipei, Taiwan; and Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Fla.