Marlins Park, home of Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise the Miami Marlins, will take centre stage as ballparks in the US, Japan and Taiwan have been announced as host venues for the 2021 World Baseball Classic (WBC).
The fifth edition of the national team tournament, which is organised by MLB and the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC), will be held from March 9-23 next year when it will expand to 20 teams for the first time.
Taichung and Taoyuan in Taiwan will host Pool A contests at the Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium and Taoyuan International Baseball Stadium from March 9-13. This marks the second time that Taiwan will host WBC contests, after the 2013 tournament.
The Tokyo Dome, which has hosted pools in each of the previous four World Baseball Classics, will again be home to first round (Pool B) and quarterfinal games in 2021. The quarterfinals on March 16-17 will feature the top two teams from Pool B along with the two teams advancing from Pool A in Taiwan.
Chase Field, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks in Phoenix, returns as a World Baseball Classic host in 2021 after serving as a first round venue in 2006 and 2013. The games for Pool C will be played from March 13-17.
However, Marlins Park, which has hosted games in each of the last two WBC tournaments, will become the first venue in event history to host games in all three rounds of a World Baseball Classic in the same year.
Pool D of the first round will run from March 14-18. The North American quarterfinals, including the teams advancing from Pool C and D, will take place on March 19-20, while the semi-finals and finals will be played from March 21-23.
“Being selected to host all three rounds, including the finals, reaffirms Miami’s place as a global destination for all the biggest events, and Marlins Park is the ideal world-class entertainment venue to play host,” said Marlins CEO Derek Jeter.
“The excitement and passion on display in Marlins Park during the last World Baseball Classic showed what we already knew to be true about this market – that South Florida has an undying love for their heritage and the game of baseball. We are proud to welcome fans from across the globe to Marlins Park for this event, and we are excited to show off all the new enhancements we have made to the ballpark since the tournament was last played here.”
The 2017 World Baseball Classic, which was won by the United States for the first time, was held in ballparks across the US, Japan, South Korea and Mexico. Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles served as the host for the tournament’s finale, with Petco Park in San Diego and Marlins Park also staging games. Along with the Tokyo Dome, 2017 WBC games were also played at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul and Estadio Charros de Jalisco in Zapopan.
The 16 teams that participated in the 2017 WBC – Australia, Canada, China, Chinese Taipei, Colombia, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Israel, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Korea, Mexico, Puerto Rico, United States, and Venezuela – will be invited to return for the 2021 iteration and will be joined by four teams advancing from the 2020 Qualifiers, which will be held this year in Tucson, Arizona from March 13-25.
Image: Marlins Park