2013 World Baseball Classic expands to 28 nations

The World Baseball Classic is expanding by 12 countries, with
Israel, Thailand and France among the newcomers set to take part in
2013.

There will be 28 teams in the next competition that features
major league players. Japan won the first two WBC events in 2006
and 2009.

The new nations will play in a 16-team qualifying round. The
other first-time participants are: Brazil, Colombia, the Czech
Republic, Germany, Great Britain, New Zealand, Nicaragua, the
Philippines and Spain.

Winners from the qualifying round in the fall of 2012 advance to
the WBC tournament in March 2013.

Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig says the expanded
field helps grow the sport globally. The 12 new teams were picked
based on several factors, including the future of each country’s
baseball program.