Baseball season comes early this year with the 2017 World Baseball Classic. Now in its fourth edition, the tournament pits nations against each other in an international competition for America’s pastime.
Featuring 16 teams from five continents, it begins March 6 with Israel vs. Korea at the Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul. The game starts at 6:30 p.m. KST (4:30 a.m. EST). The entire series will be broadcast on MLB Network and ESPN Deportes; check websites for full schedules.
The teams are divided into four round robin pools with games taking place from March 6-13 in Seoul, South Korea; Tokyo, Japan; Miami, Florida; and Jalisco, Mexico. Second-round games are from March 12-19 in Tokyo and San Diego, California. The final championship round will be played in three games in Los Angeles, California from March 20-22.
Teams for Israel and Colombia will be making their debuts at the 2017 World Baseball Classic after winning qualifying rounds last year.
A player is eligible for a country’s team if they or their parent were born in or qualify for citizenship in that country. As a result of these relatively loose rules, major and minor leaguers from American baseball teams play for nations across the globe.
Yankees players participating include pitchers Dellin Betances, Tommy Layne and Tyler Clippard, who are playing for the Dominican Republic, Italy and the United States, respectively. Shortstop Didi Gregorius is on Team Netherlands.
For the Red Sox, shortstop Xander Bogaerts is playing for the Netherlands, and first baseman Hanley Ramirez and pitcher Fernando Abad are playing for the Dominican Republic. Pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez is on Team Venezuela.
Meanwhile, the Mets are sending a pretty large contingent, including pitcher Jeurys Familia (Dominican Republic), infielder Ty Kelly (Israel), pitcher Seth Lugo (Puerto Rico), outfielder Brandon Nimmo (Italy), third baseman Jose Reyes (Dominican Republic), infielder T.J. Rivera (Puerto Rico) and catcher Rene Rivera (Puerto Rico).
The bracket is as follows:
A more detailed schedule is here. Special ticket packages are available.
Special 2017 World Baseball Classic stadium deals
In Miami, Marlins Park is offering new three-game country packages for Pool C, which includes Team USA.
At Pool F in San Diego’s Petco Park, games on March 16-18 have pre-game drink specials and live music. This includes a KidsFest and Laser Show before the doubleheader on March 18.
For the championship round, Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles offers a special deal for Dodgers Season Ticket Holders.
Will you be watching the World Baseball Classic? What country are you rooting for? Let us know in the comments.
For great travel deals to all kinds of baseball games across the country and beyond, visit AAA.com/Travel.