2013 World Baseball Classic qualifiers begin this week

      The 2013 World Baseball Classic gets underway this week in Jupiter, Florida and Regensburg, Germany, with the playing of the first two of four Qualifiers. France, Israel, South Africa and Spain will square off in Florida while Canada, Czech Republic, Germany and Great Britain will do the same in Germany. The winners of each Qualifier will advance to compete in the 2013 World Baseball Classic tournament next March. The remaining two Qualifiers will take place in Panama City, Panama (Brazil, Colombia, Nicaragua and Panama) and Taipei, Taiwan (Chinese Taipei, New Zealand, Philippines and Thailand) in November.

In addition, WBCI today announced the United States and Puerto Rico broadcast schedule for the Jupiter and Regensburg Qualifiers. All games will be available live worldwide at no charge on WorldBaseballClassic.com. In addition, the final game of each pool will be aired in the United States and Puerto Rico on MLB Network. A complete schedule of the Qualifiers is included at the end of this release.

        MLB Network will air the final Qualifier game of the Jupiter, Florida pool on tape delay at 8 p.m. ET this Sunday, September 23rd and the final game of the Regensburg, Germany Qualifier pool live on Monday, September 24th at 1 p.m. ET. The Qualifiers will feature a six-game modified double-elimination format. The composition of the pools was determined after venues were selected, with consideration given to competitive balance, existing rivalries and each national team’s geographical location.

        The Qualifiers expand the competitive field from 16 to 28 countries. The teams invited to participate in the Qualifiers included the four World Baseball Classic teams from 2009 that did not win a game – Canada, Chinese Taipei, Panama and South Africa.

        The winners from each Qualifier will advance to the World Baseball Classic tournament, scheduled for March 2013. Those four teams will join the 12 countries – Australia, China, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Kingdom of the Netherlands, Puerto Rico, United States and Venezuela – that received automatic invitations based on their performance in the 2009 tournament.

        The 2013 World Baseball Classic will mark the third edition of the tournament. The inaugural event was held in 2006, and the second World Baseball Classic was held in 2009.
About World Baseball Classic, Inc.
World Baseball Classic, Inc. (WBCI) 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.  More than 1.5 million fans from all over the world have attended the tournament games, held in March 2006 and 2009.  Team Japan is the reigning World Baseball Classic Champion, taking home both the inaugural and 2009 titles.  The upcoming World Baseball Classic will be played in March 2013 and will again feature the greatest baseball-playing nations in the world.  The tournament will be held every four years thereafter.