To learn about our efforts to improve the accessibility and usability of our website, please visit our Accessibility Information page. Skip to section navigation or Skip to main content
Below is an advertisement.

Official Info

Skip to main content
Below is an advertisement.

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
tickets for any Major League Baseball game
ADVERTISEMENT
print this pageprint this page    |    e-mail this pagee-mail this page
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 Committee.

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 WBCI.

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 representation.

"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

Members-at-large (2)
Gyo Ishiguro, Chief Officer, Culture & Sports Projects, Yomiuri Shimbun
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.

print this pageprint this page    |    e-mail this pagee-mail this page