World Baseball Classic Inc., a partnership between Major League Baseball (MLB) and the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA), announced today that the San Diego Padres have been awarded the semi-final and final games of the inaugural World Baseball Classic. The Padres will host the three games at PETCO Park from March 18-20, 2006.The World Baseball Classic, a 16-team tournament sanctioned by the International Baseball Federation (IBAF), will feature many of the best players in the world competing for their home countries for the first time ever. The 16 teams invited to participate in the event have been divided into four pools of four teams for the first round of play. The four Round 1 pools are scheduled to be played at venues in Asia, Latin America and the United States. Round 2 will feature two pools of four teams each and is scheduled to be played at venues in Latin America and the United States. Specific venues for Rounds 1 and 2 will be announced shortly. I am thrilled that the semi-finals and final of this exciting new event will be held at such an outstanding location, said Major League Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig. San Diego is one of Americas most beautiful cities, and the Padres have one of baseballs finest facilities in PETCO Park. Baseball fans all over the world will be treated to an ideal environment for the culmination of the World Baseball Classic. "We are delighted the Padres have agreed to make PETCO Park available to host the semi-finals and final of the first World Baseball Classic," said MLBPA Executive Director, Donald M. Fehr. "The Club's interest in expanding the international reach of baseball has been a long-standing one, and its enthusiasm for the event will be a major factor in its success. And the Park itself will ensure a wonderful experience for everyone, players and fans alike." We are very excited about bringing the greatest players in the world to San Diego to compete for their national teams, said Sandy Alderson, Chief Executive Officer of the Padres. The city of San Diego has successfully hosted many world class sporting events. With the citys unique location so close to Mexico, and with an enthusiastic baseball fan base on both sides of the border, San Diego and PETCO Park are a perfect site for this event. The Padres have been at the forefront of Major League Baseballs international expansion. The Padres were the first team to host regular season games beyond the United States or Canada when it hosted La Primera Serie, a three-game series in Monterrey, Mexico, August 16-18, 1996. The Club also played the first regular season games ever in Hawaii in 1997. In 1999, the team hosted the season opener against the Colorado Rockies in Monterrey, Mexico. The Padres have also been a leader in reaching out to Hispanic audiences, including the publishing of baseballs first complete media guide in Spanish in 1998. PETCO Park, San Diegos first facility designed specifically for baseball, opened in 2004 and attracted a club-record total of 3,016,752 fans and nearly 6,000,000 over its first two seasons. The open-air ballpark located in the East Village of downtown San Diego has 42,500 fixed seats and standing room locations for approximately 1,500 spectators. PETCO Park also features the Park at the Park, a ticketed area on game days that serves as a special events venue and a neighborhood park when the Padres are not playing at home. The ballpark offers excellent sightlines to the field and spectacular views of the city, including San Diego Bay, the Coronado Bridge, the downtown skyline, Balboa Park, the Embarcadero, mesas and mountains to the east and the hills of Tijuana to the South. With a blend of modern amenities and a classic baseball feel, PETCO Parks contemporary design includes gardens both inside and outside the park and incorporates the historic Western Metal Supply Company Building into the left field corner.