World Baseball Classic, Inc. (WBCI) today announced that Kino Sports Complex in Tucson, Arizona will host both pools for the Qualifying Round of the 2021 World Baseball Classic, the fifth installment of the baseball tournament featuring many of the world’s greatest players. Each pool will feature six teams with the top two finishers in each pool advancing to compete in the 2021 World Baseball Classic.
The World Baseball Classic is sanctioned by the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) as the sport’s official National Team World Championship.
Pools and teams invited to participate in the Qualifier are:
Republic of South Africa
“We are excited to bring the World Baseball Classic Qualifying Round to Tucson, Arizona,” said Jim Small, Senior Vice President, International. “We would like to thank our host, the Kino Sports Complex, the city of Tucson and the WBSC for their support of our efforts to grow the game around the world.”
“We are looking forward to seeing great players from around the world come together to play the game we all love,” said Leonor Colon, Senior Director of International and Domestic Player Operations for the Major League Baseball Players Association. “Our hope is that many of these players will be inspired by the experience and will go on to represent their countries at the Major League level one day soon.”
“WBSC is excited to further strengthen ties with Major League Baseball and the MLBPA through the expansion of the World Baseball Classic, which will see an increase from 16 to 20 teams and include more of our National Federations,” said WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari. “WBSC applauds MLB and its players’ continued efforts and shared vision of globalizing our great game.”
Each qualifying pool will feature a nine-game double elimination round with the top two teams from each pool advancing to the World Baseball Classic, scheduled for 2021. The four advancing teams will join the 16 countries – Australia, Canada, China, Chinese Taipei, Colombia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Kingdom of the Netherlands, Mexico, Puerto Rico, United States and Venezuela – that received automatic invitations based on their performance in the 2017 tournament.
The Qualifiers were originally introduced prior to the 2013 World Baseball Classic and were held in Germany, Panama, Taiwan and the United States (Jupiter, Florida) during the fall of 2012. Qualifiers in Australia, Mexico, Panama and the U.S. (Brooklyn, N.Y.) were played again prior to the 2017 WBC. The inaugural World Baseball Classic was held in 2006 prior to ensuing editions in 2009, 2013 and 2017.