Baseball comes early in 2013 thanks to WBC

The new tradition known as the World Baseball Classic returns next spring. As reported earlier in the summer, San Francisco was chosen as the site for the finals, to be held March 17-19. The schedule is out now, if you want to plan for the event.

  • Pool play: March 2-6 in Japan and Taiwan, March 7-10 in Puerto Rico and Phoenix, AZ.
  • Second round (Double elimination): Pool 1 (Japan) – March 8-12, Pool 2 (Miami, FL) – March 12-16
  • Semifinals: March 17-18
  • Finals: Tuesday, March 19

Tickets are not yet for sale for the championship rounds. I’ll post anew when tickets are made available. All games will be broadcast on MLB Network. Some qualifying pool games have already been played, with two additional pools to commence mid-November.

Rod Carew Stadium in Panama City, Panama will host Qualifying Pool 3 starting on November 15. Image: Wikimedia Commons

During the last two WBCs, much attention was paid to ensuring that pitchers don’t get overworked, since spring training is meant to ramp their workload gradually. There are even rules to give pitchers an appropriate amount of rest between appearances. Rosters for the major contending teams aren’t expected to be set until winter. While the Giants appear to have numerous players who could appear on numerous rosters, it’s unclear what A’s might play in the WBC due to their relative lower profile. Yoenis Cespedes, who played in 2006 and 2009, can no longer play for Cuba due to his defector status.

Pitching concerns aside, the great thing about the World Baseball Classic is that it forces spring training to start a week earlier than usual. 2012′s spring training schedule started on March 3. In 2013 gameplay should start on February 23, with pitchers and catchers likely to report around Valentine’s Day as they did in 2009. The A’s first game is on 2/23 against the Brewers, only 117 days away from today’s date.

The inclusion of WBC games into spring training allows for a greater variety and schedule of games to watch in March, whether you’re in Arizona or Florida. Chase Field will hold First Round pool play March 7-10, while Marlins Park will stage Second Round games March 12-16. 2009′s semifinals games brought in 43,000 fans each while the final had over 54,000 announced attendance. The final rounds at AT&T Park should sell out as teams emerge from the elimination round. If 2009 is any indicator prices may be steep. Fans back then were encouraged to buy strips, just as they would for postseason games. That and the uncertainty regarding which teams would play slowed sales a bit, as pool play in Miami and San Diego last year frequently attracted fewer than 20,000 fans per game. Tickets for the 2013 WBC are expected to go on sale on December 3.

7 thoughts on “Baseball comes early in 2013 thanks to WBC

  1. I’m guessing Blackley and Balfour will play for Australia. Can’t think of anyone else, unless one of them has some grandparents from abroad or something.

  2. Blackley has played for previous Australia teams. Curiously, Balfour has not. We’ll see how that goes.

  3. @Ken, it’s really a crapshoot. Brad Ziegler played for the US in 2009 after just one year in the big leagues. I can see a young reliever like Doolittle or Cook playing in the WBC along with the aussies. I would say Reddick, but there are just so many veteran outfielders who have staked their claim already. At least it seemed like that’s how it worked given the formation of the 09 team (lots of young relievers but almost exclusively All-Stars for the position players).

  4. Given Balfour’s workload this past season, I hope he’s actually in Australia during the WBC. I think that Spring Training is too long even without the WBC.

  5. What are our guesses for surprise heritage this time around on the A’s?

  6. I strongly recommend that you go. I went in SD the first year and had a great time.

  7. @Lone Stranger: I hope that Derek Norris represents the Klingon Empire. Death to the opposition!

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