The 2013 World Baseball Classic gets underway this week in Jupiter, Fla., and Regensburg, Germany, with the playing of the first two of four qualifiers. France, Israel, South Africa and Spain will square off in Florida, and 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, World Baseball Classic Inc. 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.
MLB Network will air the final qualifier game of the Jupiter pool on tape delay at 8 p.m. ET this Sunday, Sept. 23, and the final game of the Regensburg qualifier pool live on Monday, Sept. 24 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.