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World Baseball Classic 2023: Teams, rules, and everything else you need to know

World Baseball Classic 2023
Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

With the MLB in winter slumber, the World Baseball Classic 2023 will give fans a chance to partake in high-level baseball action before the start of the new season.

After being postponed for two years, this year’s edition of the WBC will be a highly anticipated event that will again showcase the diversity of the sport and be baseball’s answer to the World Cup.

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Here’s everything you need to know about the 2023 World Baseball Classic. We’ll provide updates throughout the spring with expanded coverage in February and March.

What is the World Baseball Classic?

The World Baseball Classic is aiming to be baseball’s version of what the World Cup is to soccer. A once every four years event that brings together teams from around the globe representing the best baseball-playing countries on the planet.

When and where is the next World Baseball Classic?

Baseball: World Baseball Classic-Final-USA at Puerto Rico
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The first round of the World Baseball Classic tournament begins on March 8, and then everything wraps up with the WBC Championship game on March 21 in Miami, Florida.

Here is the full WBC 2023 schedule, and round-by-round locations for the World Baseball Classic.

First Round – WBC Tournament schedule

PoolDateLocation
Pool AMarch 8-13Taichung, Taiwan
Pool BMarch 9-13Tokyo, Japan
Pool CMarch 11-15Phoenix, Arizona
Pool DMarch 11-15Miami, Florida

Second Round – 2023 World Baseball Classic schedule

PoolDateLocation
Pool A & B (Q1)March 15-16Tokyo, Japan
Pool C & D (Q2)March 17-18Miami, Florida

Semifinals – WBC 2023

MatchupDateLocation
Q1 Winner vs Q2 Runner UpMarch 19-20Miami, Florida
Q2 Winner vs Q1 Runner UpMarch 19-20Miami, Florida

WBC Championship Game

MatchupDateLocation
Semifinals 1 Winner vs Semifinals 2 WinnerMarch 21Miami, Florida

Who plays in the WBC?

MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Oakland Athletics
D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports

There are 20 teams from around the globe participating in the World Baseball Classic this year. The tournament is broken down into four five-team pools, with each of the three host countries in their own brackets. Here are the teams in the 2023 World Baseball Classic.

POOL A

  • Chinese Taipei
  • Netherlands
  • Cuba
  • Italy
  • Panama

POOL B

  • Japan
  • Korea
  • Australia
  • China
  • Czech Republic

POOL C

  • USA
  • Mexico
  • Colombia
  • Canada
  • Great Britain

POOL D

  • Puerto Rico
  • Venezuela
  • Dominican Rep.
  • Israel
  • Nicaragua

World Baseball Classic Tournament Rules and Regulations

world baseball classic
Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

The WBC has a unique rule set different than the MLB Playoffs. Firstly, like the World Cup, it begins with a round-robin format that teams must advance from, then faceoff in single elimination matchups.

There are special extra-innings rules to bring games to an end quicker, and pitch counts for participating pitchers. The goal is to protect many of the players that will go on to compete in the MLB regular season from incurring an injury.


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How often is the World Baseball Classic?

The World Baseball Classic typically happens every four years, but there was a two-year gap between the first World Baseball Classic (2006) and the second WBC in 2009. In addition, there was a six-year gap between the 2017 WBC and the 2023 World Baseball Classic, with the fifth postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

When was the last World Baseball Classic?

World Baseball Classic 2023
Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

The United States won the most recent WBC in 2017. Defeating Puerto Rico in the championship game dominantly by a score of 8-0. It was the first-ever World Baseball Classic championship for the US.

The WBC was expected to go down in 2021, however, with the COVID-19 pandemic still raging around the world, the event was postponed and will return in March of 2023.

All previous WBC champions

  • United States – 2017
  • Dominican Republic – 2013
  • Japan – 2009
  • Japan – 2006

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