02/19/2008 12:13 PM ET
World Baseball Classic, Inc. approves final eight invitations for March 2009 tournament
Number of tournament teams to expand through qualifying rounds in 2013
World Baseball Classic, Inc. (WBCI) today announced the final eight teams that will be invited to
participate in the 2009 World Baseball Classic next March, as endorsed by the tournament's Steering
These eight teams -- Australia, Canada, China, Chinese Taipei, Italy, Netherlands, Panama, and South
Africa -- round out the field of 16 invited to compete in the second tournament. In April of 2007, the teams
that advanced to the second round in the 2006 World Baseball Classic - Cuba, Dominican Republic, Japan,
Korea, Mexico, Puerto Rico, United States and Venezuela - received initial tournament invitations from
Similar to the 2006 selection process, the Steering Committee determined the 16 teams for the 2009
World Baseball Classic based on criteria established to create the most highly-competitive international
baseball event in the world. Some of the key factors involved in team evaluation and selection included:
strength of native player base, number of professional players, international rankings, viability of domestic
baseball programs, participant's impact on baseball development in country/territory and diverse global
"There has been significant improvement in the level of play internationally and indeed Major League
ranks include even more players from across the world," said Eugene Orza, Chief Operating Officer of the
Major League Baseball Players Association. "The 16 teams selected best represent the breadth of quality
play around the globe, which meets a key tournament objective, showing the world how far baseball has
come internationally. If you liked the tournament last time around, wait 'til you see her this time."
WBCI also announced its intention to expand the number of teams participating in the 2013 event
through a series of qualifying rounds. The format of World Baseball Classic qualifiers will be determined at
future Steering Committee meetings.
"As the level of baseball continues to rise worldwide, it is essential that the World Baseball Classic
expand its field to give the growing number of formidable teams the opportunity to participate," said Paul
Archey, Senior Vice President, International Business Operations, Major League Baseball. "In accordance
with the tournament's goal of growing and enhancing global interest in the game, the Steering Committee
has strongly endorsed the expansion of the competition for the 2013 event."
More details regarding the 2009 World Baseball Classic, including host venues, pools and scheduling, are
expected to be announced this coming spring.
About the World Baseball Classic Steering Committee
The World Baseball Classic Steering Committee consists of 12 members representing professional baseball leagues, Club owners, players, international baseball federations and other international organizations affiliated with the game of baseball (for a complete list of members, see below). The Steering Committee provides ongoing guidance regarding the development of the premier international baseball tournament, the World Baseball Classic. The focus of the committee is to ensure that the tournament continues to maximize its potential to develop the game of baseball worldwide.
Steering Committee Members
Major League Baseball (2)
Tim Brosnan, Executive Vice President, Business
Rob Manfred, Executive Vice President, Labor Relations
MLB Players Association (2)
Gene Orza, Chief Operating Officer
Michael Weiner, General Counsel
International BAseball Federation (2)
Harvey Schiller, President
Eduardo de Bello, Panama
Nippon Professional Baseball (1)
Kazuo Hasegawa, Executive Secretary
Japan Professional Baseball Players Association (1)
Toru Matsubara, Executive Director
Korean Baseball Organization (1)
Il-Sung Ha, Secretary General
Korean Professional Baseball Players Association (1)
Jin-kyun Na, Secretary General
Gyo Ishiguro, Chief Officer, Culture & Sports Projects,
Roland Betts, President & Founder, Chelsea Piers, L.P.
About World Baseball Classic, Inc.
World Baseball Classic, Inc. is a company created at the direction of Major League Baseball (MLB) and the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) to operate the World Baseball Classic tournament. The tournament, which is sanctioned by the International Baseball Federation (IBAF), is supported by MLB, the MLBPA, Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB), the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO), their respective players associations and other leagues and players from around the world.
About the World Baseball Classic
The World Baseball Classic is the premier international baseball tournament and features the best players in the world competing for their home countries and territories. In March 2006, 16 teams from across the globe competed in the inaugural event, which was sanctioned by the International Baseball Federation (IBAF). More than 740,000 fans from 48 states and 15 countries attended games and millions more watched on TV as Team Japan was crowned the first-ever World Baseball Classic Champion. The next tournament is scheduled for March 2009 and will be held every four years thereafter.