With the final rosters set for the 16 participating countries in the 2017 World Baseball Classic, MLB Network Presents will look back at the inaugural tournament in The 2006 World Baseball Classic, A Classic Beginning, on Tuesday, February 14 at 9:00 p.m. ET. Hosted by Bob Costas and including commentary by MLB stars and 2017 World Baseball Classic participants Jose Altuve, Chris Archer and Francisco Lindor, the program chronicles how the World Baseball Classic became an international phenomenon featuring many of the world's best players representing their countries in thrilling games and electric atmospheres.
After baseball was dropped from the Olympic Games in 2005, the birth of this unprecedented international tournament in 2006 is documented in interviews with journalists who covered it, including Anthony McCarron, Jon Morosi, Ken Rosenthal and Tom Verducci. The show documents the challenges of organizing an international competition among 16 countries, and 2006 Team USA manager Buck Martinez and pitcher Al Leiter discuss fielding a star-powered USA roster led by Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr. and 14-time All-Star Derek Jeter.
The program explains how the WBC has given fans an opportunity to watch star players on the international stage before they play in the Major Leagues, including Aroldis Chapman and Yulieski Gurriel of Cuba and 2006 tournament MVP Daisuke Matsuzaka and Yu Darvish of Japan. Los Angeles Dodgers All-Star closer Kenley Jansen describes the emergence of the Netherlands on the world baseball stage in the 2009 tournament, and six-time MLB All-Star and former Dominican Republic general manager Moises Alou comments on his team's perfect 8-0 record in the 2013 tournament, the first team ever to go undefeated. Former Team USA managers Davey Johnson (2009) and Hall of Famer Joe Torre (2013) reminisce about the highs and lows of Team USA in the first three WBC tournaments, including David Wright earning the nickname "Captain America" in 2013, and Team USA failing to make it to at least one championship game.
With the 2017 World Baseball Classic beginning in less than four weeks, Altuve, Archer and Lindor express their excitement at playing alongside their countrymen and how the World Baseball Classic continues to help baseball's goal of further internationalizing the sport. Behind-the scenes footage of the 2006 WBC is featured, and former MLB Senior Vice President of International Operations Paul Archey describes how the event's success paved the way for future installments of this preeminent international baseball tournament.
Launched in January 2015, MLB Network Presents has produced programs covering many subjects across baseball, including the Emmy-nominated The Story of Billy Bean as well as Holy Cow! The Story of Harry Caray, .406, 56: The Streak, The Bird, The Colorful Montreal Expos and The Nasty Boys: The 1990 Cincinnati Reds.