The World Baseball Classic is an international baseball tournament sanctioned by the International Baseball Federation (IBAF) and created by Major League Baseball (MLB), the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA), and other professional baseball leagues and their players associations around the world. Along with the Baseball World Cup, it is one of two active tournaments considered by the IBAF to be a major world championship. The 2009 Classic, the second edition of the event, was won by Japan for the second tournament in a row.
The tournament is the first of its kind to have national baseball teams feature professional players from the major leagues around the world including Major League Baseball; the Summer Olympics have regularly featured college and minor-league players because the Games conflict with the major league seasons in both North America and Asia, and the Baseball World Cup historically has not had major leaguers participate. In addition to providing a format for the best baseball players in the world to compete against one another while representing their home countries, the World Baseball Classic was created in order to further promote the game around the globe.
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Players in WBC editionsEdit
In 2006, many high caliber players participated in the World Baseball Classic. Amongst the players that made the All-WBC team were Americans Derek Jeter and Ken Griffey Jr. From Japan, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Ichiro Suzuki and Tomoya Satozaki were on the team. Other internationals included players from Cuba—Yulieski Gourriel, Yoandy Garlobo and Yadel Martí; and from Dominican Republic—Albert Pujols, Pedro Martinez and Jose Bautista. However, it was Matsuzaka who was crowned the MVP of the first ever world baseball classic after Japan defeated Cuba 10–6. Matsuzaka pitched 13 innings and finished with a 3–0 record. Soon after this performance, Matsuzaka received a multi-million dollar contract to join the Boston Red Sox of America's Major League Baseball.
Again in the 2009 World Baseball Classic, Matsuzaka was a member of the Japanese team which successfully defended their title. Matsuzaka again received the world classic MVP, finishing with a record of 3–0 and an ERA of 2.54.
Most Valuable Player awardsEdit
In 2009, the all-star World Baseball Classic team included only one player from the USA. The rest of the all star team was made up of three Cubans, three Japanese, four South Koreans and one player from Venezuela, José López.
A player is eligible to participate on a World Baseball Classic team if:
- The player is a citizen of the nation the team represents.
- The player is qualified for citizenship or to hold a passport under the laws of a nation represented by a team, but has not been granted citizenship or been issued a passport, then the player may be made eligible by WBCI upon petition by the player or team.
- The player is a permanent legal resident of the nation or territory the team represents.
- The player was born in the nation or territory the team represents.
- The player has one parent who is, or if deceased was, a citizen of the nation the team represents. (This is how Alex Rodriguez played for the Dominican Republic, even though he was born in the United States.)
- The player has one parent who was born in the nation or territory the team represents.
Rules of playEdit
A pitcher cannot pitch until:
- a minimum of three days have passed since he last pitched, if he threw 50 or more pitches when he last pitched
- a minimum of one day has passed since he last pitched, if he threw 30 or more pitches when he last pitched
- a minimum of one day has passed since any second consecutive day on which the pitcher pitched
A pitcher cannot pitch more than
- 70 pitches per game in Round One of the tournament
- 85 pitches per game in Round Two of the tournament
- 100 pitches per game in the Semifinals and Final of the tournament
A pitcher can still finish a batter's plate appearance even if the limit is reached, but must come out after completing the plate appearance
A game will be a called game if the leading team is ahead by
- 10 or more runs when the opposing team has batted in at least seven innings
- 15 or more runs when the opposing team has batted in at least five innings
Mercy rules do not apply during the semi-finals and finals.
The tournament was announced in May Template:By. Major League Baseball had been attempting to create such a tournament for at least two years; negotiations with the players' union (MLBPA) and with the team owners had held the plan back. Owners, notably New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, had been concerned about their star players being injured in international play before the beginning of spring training, and the professional season. This was a concern for the MLBPA as well, but their primary objection was with drug testing. MLB wanted the stricter Olympic standards in place for the tournament, while the union wanted current MLB standards in place. Eventually, a deal was reached on insurance for player contracts and a fairly tough drug testing standard. MLB teams would not be able to directly block their players from participating.
Similarly, Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) and its players' association had a disagreement over participation in the tournament. While the owners initially agreed to the invitation, the players' union was concerned about the time of year the tournament was scheduled to take place, as well as their right to be better represented for the Template:By tournament. On September 16, 2005, after four months of negotiations, NPB officially notified the IBAF and MLB they had accepted the invitation.
As of August Template:By, plans call for the World Baseball Classic to be repeated every four years following the 2009 event, with the third installment of the Classic to occur in 2013. Other plans for the 2013 World Baseball Classic include possibly the "expansion of the field to 24... with qualifying rounds as a preface to reach the main competition" (Barry M. Bloom, MLB.com).
If this expansion was adopted, the IBAF World Rankings indicate that the new teams that would now qualify would be Nicaragua, Spain, Thailand, the Philippines, Germany, Great Britain, the Czech Republic and the Netherlands Antilles.
The most recent plans call for a qualifying tournament in November 2012 to be held in Taiwan. Twelve teams would receive a bye and automatically qualify for the main tournament: Japan, South Korea, China, Cuba, Australia, Venezuela, Mexico, the United States, Italy and Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic and the Netherlands. The additional four teams would be determined through the 2012 qualifier.
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