Toronto May Host World Baseball Classic
Canada was among the final eight countries invited Tuesday to round out the 16-team field for the 2009 World Baseball Classic, with rumblings that opening round games may be played at the Rogers Centre.
Toronto remains a “very strong candidate” to host one of the four groups in first-round play, a source with knowledge of the event’s planning told The Canadian Press.
Canada is likely to be joined by the United States, a Latin American country (probably Mexico but I hope not!) and a non-traditional baseball country in the first round, with the games being held at the Rogers Centre, home of the Toronto Blue Jays.
Next year’s event will have the same 16-team field that competed in the initial tournament in 2006.
The tournament organization, which is controlled by Major League Baseball and the players’ association, invited the eight teams that failed to advance past the first round two years ago: Australia, Canada, China, Italy, Netherlands, Panama, South Africa and Taiwan.
Last April, organizers invited the eight teams that made it to the second round: Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Japan, Mexico, Puerto Rico, South Korea, the United States and Venezuela.
Organizers said they plan to establish qualifying rounds for the 2013 tournament. This would include
an expansion of the field to 24 countries and territories with qualifying rounds as a preface to reach the main competition.