Here’s what we know so far about the ’17 World Baseball Classic
Labor peace permitting, we’re halfway between the 2013 and 2017 World Baseball Classics.
Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association are in ongoing discussions about plans for the next WBC, which is slated for March 2017 as long as a new collective bargaining agreement is implemented seamlessly after the 2016 season.
While many of the particulars haven’t been determined, here’s what I’ve been able to ascertain from sources:
– The tournament is expected to include 16 teams, as was the case in 2013.
– Twelve teams have earned bids based on their performance in the ’13 WBC: Canada, China, Chinese Taipei, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Puerto Rico, South Korea, United States and Venezuela.
– The four teams that finished last in their respective pools at the ’13 WBC — Australia, Brazil, Mexico and Spain — must attempt to re-qualify through tournaments in 2016.
– Qualifying rounds for the ’13 WBC occurred between September and November of the prior year. Generally, the same schedule is expected for the next tournament, although it’s conceivable Australia could host a qualifier in February 2016; that would be immediately after the country’s domestic season and before affiliated players report for spring training in the U.S.
– Australia, Germany, Mexico and Panama are among the strongest candidates to host qualifiers in 2016, because they (a) are likely to participate and (b) have sufficient facilities to host tournaments of this scope.