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.