World Baseball Classic sets International Venues

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As the Major League Baseball season starts to head toward the playoffs, another sort of baseball playoff schedule is starting to emerge as the World Baseball Classic has finished its first round of qualifiers and has set its international sites.

While little of the action will be this year, it is obvious that competitive baseball will be starting earlier than usual next season. That is not to discount the last two qualifiers still to be played this year to fill the last two spots open for teams.

Two World Baseball Classic teams advance
Canada and Spain advanced to the tournament with wins in their qualifier series last week, and did so in very different fashion. Canada crushed the home team Germans 11-1 in a laugher to advance to the WBC next year. Meanwhile down in Florida Spain edged out Israel 9-7 in a five hour marathon that saw the game winner scored in the 10th inning. Next round of qualifiers is next month.

The next two sets of qualifiers are slated for play in November. One will take place in Panama City, Panama and will feature Brazil, Columbia, Nicaragua and Panama while the other will take place in Taipei, Taiwan and will include Taipei, New Zealand, Philippines and Thailand.

First Round
(Pool Play)
Pool A (Fukuoka, Japan): Japan, China, Cuba, Qualifier Winner. March 2-6
Pool B (Taichung, Taiwan): Korea, Netherlands, Australia, Qualifier Winner March 2-6
Pool C (San Juan): Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Qualifier Winner. March 7-10
Pool D (Phoenix): USA, Mexico, Italy, Qualifier Winnerr. March 7-10.

Second Round (Modified Double Elimination):
Pool A (Tokyo): Guessing this will be the winners of Pool A and B, March 7-10
Pool B (Miami): Guessing this will be the winners of Pool C and D, March 12-16

Semi-Finals and Finals: AT&T Park, San Francisco, March 17-19

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