Historic Dodger Stadium to serve as home for 2009 World Baseball Classic championship
PETCO Park and Dolphin Stadium will host Round Two
"It is fitting that Dodger Stadium, the site of many celebrated events, has been selected to host the Semi-Finals and Final of the 2009 World Baseball Classic," said Bob DuPuy, President and COO, Major League Baseball. "Los Angeles is one of the most international cities in the world and the Dodgers have always been on the forefront of baseball's development as a global game. In addition, PETCO Park and Dolphin Stadium will provide strong international venues for Round Two of the tournament. Baseball fans across the globe will have the exciting opportunity to experience these three exceptional settings during the world's premier international baseball tournament."
The tournament, which will open in Tokyo, Japan on March 5 and conclude at Dodger Stadium on March 23, will span five countries, include 16 participating National Teams and feature 480 of the world's best baseball players.
"Just think about the potential match-ups, both in San Diego and Miami, and then in Los Angeles, and you'll get some sense of just how excited about the 2009 Classic all of us who are involved in it are right now," said Gene Orza, Chief Operating Officer, Major League Baseball Players Association. "Fans should be too. With an even broader array of great players competing, a level of intensity that memory of the inaugural World Baseball Classic is bound to heighten, and now the announcement of the final venues, the upcoming 2009 Classic promises to give them the baseball thrill of a lifetime."
San Diego's PETCO Park, the site of the 2006 World Baseball Classic Finals Weekend, will feature the four advancing teams from Pools A and B from March 15 - 19. Dolphin Stadium, home of the Florida Marlins, will host the four advancing teams from Pools C and D from March 14 - 18.
The entire opening round of the 2009 tournament will be hosted outside of the 50 United States, with Pool A (China, Chinese Taipei, Japan and Korea) competing at the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo; Pool B (Australia, Cuba, Mexico and South Africa) at Foro Sol Stadium in Mexico City, Mexico; Pool C (Canada, Italy, United States and Venezuela) in the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Canada; and Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico home to Pool D (Dominican Republic, Netherlands, Panama and Puerto Rico).
Dodger Owner Frank McCourt said: "We are humbled and honored to be hosting the Championships of the 2009 World Baseball Classic. The Dodger organization has a long and storied history of spreading the game of baseball internationally and it's only fitting that we open the gates of Dodger Stadium to fans from around the world and welcome them to the City of Los Angeles with open arms."
Sandy Alderson, Chief Executive Officer of the San Diego Padres, added: "We are thrilled that the World Baseball Classic is returning to San Diego. The Padres and the city will host what we're sure will be another successful international event. We look forward to next March, when PETCO Park will again be filled with enthusiastic baseball fans from the United States, Mexico and other countries."
Claude Delorme, Sr. Vice President of Stadium Development for the Florida Marlins, said: "The Marlins are extremely proud to host this world-class event and we look forward to becoming a regular World Baseball Classic destination once we move into our new ballpark in Miami. We are known as the Gateway to the Americas and we appreciate the opportunity to welcome baseball fans from throughout the region and around the world."
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, sanctioned by the International Baseball Federation, and features the best players in the world competing for their home countries and territories. In March 2006, 486 players - 235 of them from MLB organizations - representing 16 teams from across the globe competed in the inaugural event. More than 740,000 fans from 48 states and 15 countries attended games - 16 of which sold out - and millions more watched on TV as Team Japan was crowned the first-ever World Baseball Classic Champion. Broadcast by 48 media outlets in 10 languages to 205 countries and territories around the world, the inaugural tournament had 50 official sponsors and 21 official licensees. Media members representing 25 different nations attended the 39 games in seven host venues across three countries/territories. The next tournament will be held in March 2009 and will again feature 16 of the greatest baseball-playing nations in the world. The tournament will be held every four years thereafter, with plans in place to expand the participant field beginning in 2013.