Team Australia: Nic Connell (@NicConnell1), 42, lives in Glenwood, Australia and is a devoted fan of the Australian Baseball League's Sydney Blue Sox. He began playing baseball at 14 and had the honor of representing New South Wales in the Under 18 Championships. The game runs in the family with his daughter playing on a local Under 14 team that he coaches. As a production manager for Seven Network, he has worked on many sporting events and was in the stands during the 2004 Olympics when Team Australia took the silver medal in baseball.
Team Brazil: Pedro Carvalho (@pedrogiants), 22, is from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil has played baseball for 10 years with the Cariocas Baseball & Softball Club whose field overlooks Rodrigo de Freitas Lake. He was thrilled when Yan Gomes became the first Brazilian born player in Major League history and considers it a dream for Team Brazil to participate in the World Baseball Classic. In addition to cheering on Team Brazil, he is a passionate San Francisco Giants fan.
Team Canada: Daryl Andrews(@DarylmAndrews), 30, is a native of Kitchener, Canada and has been a loyal Toronto Blue Jays fan since childhood. The only thing the youth correctional facility relief worker is more loyal to than the Jays is his nation - Canada. He has visited more than 15 Major League ballparks and attended more than 100 games, including the 2009 World Baseball Classic games at the Rogers Centre in Toronto to cheer on Team Canada.
Team China: Yuning (Vivian) Wang (@homerunvv), 29, is originally from Beijing where she was introduced to baseball by playing on her college's baseball and softball club. She is a fan of her hometown team, the Beijing Tigers and admires Ichiro for his talent and work ethic. Wang is currently earning a MBA and studying sport management at the University of Delaware in hopes of one day working in baseball.
Team Chinese Taipei: Chi-En (Adam) Wang (@adamp3), 26, is a senior front-end engineer working in Trend Micro, currently living in Taipei. Wang was an intern for ESPN in his final year in college, and later made it to the final 25 in an anchor contest conducted by the network. He grew up learning English in Taiwan, but continues to practice through baseball commentary. Wang served as an interpreter for the Los Angeles Dodgers when they visited Taiwan in 2010 with current Team USA Manager Joe Torre. Wang often interacts with other baseball fans through PTT, the biggest local online community in Taiwan.
Team Cuba: Damaso Rosales (@RosalesDamaso), 32, was born in La Habana, Cuba and has been a baseball fan since he was six years old. A passionate baseball fan, he knows a lot about Cuban baseball history and its players, both at the Major League and Minor League levels. Although he currently resides in Miami, Florida where he is a biologist, he continues to follow the Cuban National Team.
Team Dominican Republic: Juan Sarmiento (@juansarmiento), 29, is a civil engineer and has been a life-long fan of Las Estrellas Orientales in the Dominican Republic as well as both the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox. After watching from the stands as Team DR was upset twice in the 2009 World Baseball Classic by the Netherlands, Sarmiento is looking forward to the 2013 tournament. He cherishes the positive impact baseball has on people in his country and is proud to have been selected to represent the Dominican Republic in the MLB Fan Cave: World Baseball Classic Edition.
Team Italy: Pierluigi Mandoi (@Pi_Mandoi), 22, from Lecce, Italy saw Aaron Boone hit a walk-off home run during the first baseball game he ever watched on TV ten years ago. A fervent New York Yankees fan, he has visited New York every year since 2006 to watch his team play at Yankee Stadium, including Game Six of the 2009 World Series to watch the team clinch their 27th Championship. Mandoi, a law school student, plays amateur baseball where he is first baseman and hosts a weekly radio show about American sports.
Team Japan: Kozo (Toshi) Sasa (@toshi_sasa), 32, lives in Osaka, Japan and attended Lewis Clark State College in Idaho where he played for the school's baseball team. After graduating, he turned down offers to play professionally in Japan, wanting to fulfill his dream of playing baseball in the United States. He went on to play for the Fullerton Flyers in the Golden Baseball League, as well as the Gary South Shore Rail Cats and London Majors. As a child, Sasa traveled to the United States with his family where they attended a Chicago White Sox game.
Team Korea: Soo Yeon Seo (@_doublesy), 25, lives in Inchon, South Korea and comes from a family with a rich baseball history. Her father was a baseball player and her uncle was a manager for Dongsan High School and Dongguk University. She attended Dong-ah Institute of Media and Arts, majoring in Broadcasting and Entertainment before starting her own blog. While she follows her local team, SK Wyverns of the Korea Baseball Organization, she is also a fan of the Los Angeles Dodgers thanks to the many Koreans who have been part of the organization including Chan Ho Park and Hyun Jin Ryu.
Team Mexico: Mariana Patraca Dibildox (@mapadix), 28, is from Mexico City, Mexico and has been a pitcher for the Mexican National Softball Team for the past 12 years. After watching the 1995 World Series, she became an avid fan of the Cleveland Indians and started attending Mexico Summer League games to cheer on her favorite home team, the Tigres Capitalinos. After wishing for her 15th birthday to go to a MLB game, she attended her first game at Coors Field. Currently, Dibildox is pursuing her Master's Degree in Sport Management and coaching softball at the University of California - Long Beach.
Team Netherlands: Julia Bol (@JulesUnlimited), 30, is from Utrecht, the Netherlands and has played softball since she was 14 years old. As a passionate baseball fan, she was excited when the Dutch National Team won the Baseball World Cup in 2011. She has also traveled to the United States where she watched a San Francisco Giants game at AT&T Park. After starting her career in broadcasting, she is currently a marketing manager for a construction company.
Team Puerto Rico: Raul Rivera, 28, is a Navy veteran and police officer born and raised in Puerto Rico. Rivera has been involved in all aspects of baseball from representing Puerto Rico as a teenager to managing an adult team and serving as a high school umpire. A long-time fan of the Chicago Cubs, he has also adopted the Miami Marlins as his team. An avid MLB Network viewer, Rivera is looking forward to the World Baseball Classic to determine who has global bragging rights.
Team Spain: Josep Juaneda Josa (@Pepao10), 24, is from Barcelona, Spain and has 13 years of experience playing baseball for FC Barcelona and CBBarcelona. He has coached at all levels from youth teams to an assistant for Catalonia's National Team. Josep, whose favorite MLB team is the San Francisco Giants, currently works in the tourism industry.
Team USA: Kelsey Shea (@Kelseyshea11), 24, is a die-hard St. Louis Cardinals fan originally from Wildwood, Missouri. She is excited to represent Team USA and is looking forward to meeting people from around the world who share her passion for the game. Kelsey Shea is currently a blog manager for a startup company in San Francisco.
Team Venezuela: Tibaldo Hernandez (@tibaldoh), 30, from Maracay, Venezuela has been involved in every aspect of the sport for more than 20 years including as a player, coach, manager, umpire, score keeper, blogger and video editor. He has represented his amateur team, Los Potros, as well as his league (Liga INCE), state (Aragua) and country in multiple Baseball Championships. In 2009, Hernández traveled to the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Canada to watch Team Venezuela play in the World Baseball Classic. A diehard baseball fan, Hernandez has been a fan of the Atlanta Braves since the early 1990s.
The MLB Fan Cave is a unique event space mixing baseball with music, popular culture, media, technology and art. The MLB Fan Cave is supported by MLB Advanced Media, providing baseball fans with a constant flow of online video and conversation via social media. With more than 1.2 million combined followers from 129 countries and territories on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, the MLB Fan Cave has built a large community of baseball fans from around the world. The team representatives will have a chance to interact with these worldwide baseball fans during the 2013 World Baseball Classic. The official World Baseball Classic social media channels on Facebook and Twitter, which have seen tremendous growth since the Qualifying Round, will provide additional outlets for the team representatives to connect with fans around the globe.
More than 400 celebrity visitors, including nearly 200 current Major Leaguers as well as musicians, actors, former players and others, have visited the MLB Fan Cave since its launch in 2011. They have participated in more than 500 online videos for fans to share via social media. Some of the biggest stars in baseball have visited the MLB Fan Cave, including 2009 World Baseball Classic participants Miguel Cabrera (Team Venezuela), Robinson Cano (Team Dominican Republic), Aroldis Chapman (Team Cuba), Adrian Gonzalez (Team Mexico), Derek Jeter (Team USA) and Rich Thompson (Team Australia).
The 2013 World Baseball Classic, which is the third edition of the tournament, will feature the world's best players representing their countries and territories. Thirty-nine games will be played in seven venues in four nations and territories from March 2 through March 19, 2013. Team Japan is the two-time defending champion of the World Baseball Classic, having won in 2006 and 2009. The World Baseball Classic, which is officially sanctioned by the International Baseball Federation (IBAF), will for the first time in 2013 be recognized as the official national team World Championship, with the winner being crowned the 2013 World Baseball Classic Champion and the IBAF World Champion.
For the first time, four Qualifiers were held for the 2013 World Baseball Classic, which expanded the competitive field from 16 to 28 countries. Brazil, Canada, Chinese Taipei and Spain emerged from the Qualifiers to earn spots in the March 2013 event. Those four Qualifier teams will join the teams of the 12 countries/terrirories - 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 performances in the 2009 tournament.
MLB Network and ESPN Deportes will be the exclusive English and Spanish-language broadcasts in the United States and 33 international broadcasters will televise games in 12 languages in more than 200 countries and territories. The Semi-Final and Final games will take place March 17th-19th at San Francisco's AT&T Park, hosted by the San Francisco Giants. Second round games will be held in the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan from March 8th-12th and at Marlins Park in Miami, Florida from March 12th-16th. First round games will be held at the Fukuoka Yahoo! Japan Dome in Fukuoka, Japan from March 2nd-6th; at Intercontinental Stadium from March 2nd-5th in Taichung, Taiwan; at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico from March 7th-10th; and at Chase Field and Salt River Fields at Talking Stick in Phoenix, Arizona from March 7th-10th.