There’s some other World Baseball Classic news I forgot to get to yesterday:
First off, way back in April, Russell Martin said he’s totally up for another go-around for Canada in 2017. He infamously missed the 2013 Classic because he wanted to play middle-infield.
In March, Jon Morosi- the biggest WBC booster amongst mainstream MLB writers- talked a bit about it. The 12 teams that didn’t finish last in their groups (Canada, China, Chinese Taipei, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Puerto Rico, South Korea, United States and Venezuela) will automatically get a bid. No major changes are expected in the actual WBC itself, although the teams that finished last in their groups (Mexico, Australia, Brazil and Spain) will have to go through qualifiers to qualify again. He indicated that Mexico, Germany, Australia and Panama were the likely places to hold qualifiers, due to facilities and likelihood to participate. He estimated that most qualifiers would occur in September and/or November of 2016, although he says that Australia may host in February of 2016 after the end of their league’s season but before Spring Training.
Speaking of which, the New Zealand baseball federation’s twitter feed implied that, indeed, there will be an Australian-based qualifier in February next year. However, I personally e-mailed Australia’s baseball federation asking about where they stand as far as the WBC, and they said that they have yet to hear from WBC Inc. (the company formed by Major League Baseball, the MLBPA, the IBAF and other professional leagues to manage the tournament), although they do know they will, as expected, have to go through qualifiers. It’s possible, perhaps even likely, that there will be a qualifying round in Australia in February 2016, but it’s definitely not official yet.
Finally, there was some talk that the Mexican portion of the qualifiers would be held in Mexicali, Hermosillo, or Monterrey.
Remember to follow the Baseball Continuum for more WBC news as it comes out in the coming weeks, months and years.