Everything you need to know

Updated: January 16, 2006, 9:21 PM ET
ESPN.com

Overview

Q: What is the World Baseball Classic?
A: The World Baseball Classic is an unprecedented baseball event that will feature many of the best players in the world competing for their home countries and territories for the first time ever. This tournament will give fans around the world a chance to see baseball in an exciting and compelling new format.

Q: Why conduct the World Baseball Classic?
A: The World Baseball Classic was created to provide a platform that will increase worldwide exposure of the game of baseball and further promote grassroots development in traditional and non-traditional baseball nations. The tournament's primary objectives are to increase global interest and introduce new fans and players to the game. The World Baseball Classic acknowledges and pays tribute to the tremendous growth and internationalization of the game.

Q: Which leagues and/or organizations have been involved with establishing the World Baseball Classic?
A: Major League Baseball (MLB) and the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) have joined together to establish the World Baseball Classic. The tournament, sanctioned by the International BAseball Federation (IBAF), will be conducted jointly by MLB and the MLBPA in cooperation with Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB), the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO), their respective players associations and other professional leagues from around the world.

Q: Where will the World Baseball Classic games be played?
A: Round 1, featuring four pools of four teams, will take place at five different sites: (1) Tokyo Dome, Tokyo, Japan; (2) Hiram Bithorn Stadium, San Juan, Puerto Rico; (3) Cracker Jack Stadium, Orlando, FL; (4) Chase Field, Phoenix, AZ and Scottsdale Stadium, Scottsdale, AZ. Round 2, featuring two pools of four teams, will take place at two sites: (1) Hiram Bithorn Stadium and (2) Angel Stadium, Anaheim, California. The Semi-Finals and Final game will take place at PETCO Park in San Diego, California.

Q: Which countries and/or territories will participate in the World Baseball Classic?
A: The following National Baseball Federations are scheduled to participate in the World Baseball Classic: Australia, Canada, China, Chinese Taipei, Cuba*, Dominican Republic, Italy, Netherlands, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Panama, Puerto Rico, South Africa, United States, and Venezuela.

*Participation pending

Q: What is the format of the World Baseball Classic?
A: The World Baseball Classic will feature 16 teams in a four-round tournament. The 16 teams will be divided into four pools of four teams for Round 1. Round 1 pool play will be held in a round-robin format as all teams within each pool will match up one time (total of six games per pool). The top two teams by record* from each of the four Round 1 pools will advance to Round 2. These eight qualifying teams will be split into two pools for Round 2 and will again play one another in a round-robin format of games (total of six games per pool). The top two teams in each pool by record* will then advance to the two single-elimination Semi-Final games. The winners of the Semi-Final games will advance to the tournament's single-elimination Final. In total, 39 games will be played.

*Tiebreaking methods for Rounds 1 and 2 will be announced prior to the start of the tournament.

Q: Will there be one champion named or a medal format?
A: There will be one champion. The winner of the World Baseball Classic Final will receive a championship trophy.

Q: How will the Teams be divided in the Round 1 pools?
A: Pool A: China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan
Pool B: Canada, Mexico, South Africa, United States
Pool C: Cuba, Netherlands, Panama, Puerto Rico
Pool D: Australia, Italy, Dominican Republic, Venezuela

Q: How were the pools determined?
A: Teams were divided into their respective pools based on geography and competitive balance.

Q: When will World Baseball Classic games take place?
A: The World Baseball Classic will take place over a 13-day period (18 days for teams in the Asia pool). To allow time for travel, the Round 1 Asia pool will begin on Friday, March 3 with the remaining three Round 1 pools beginning play on Tuesday, March 7. Both Round 2 pools will begin play on Monday, March 13. Both Semi-Final games will be played on Saturday, March 18 and the Final will be held on Monday, March 20.

Q: How many games will each team play?
A: Teams eliminated in Round 1 will have played: 3 games
Teams eliminated in Round 2 will have played: 6 games
Teams eliminated in the Semi-Finals will have played: 7 games
Teams in the Final will have played: 8 games

Players -- Eligibility/Selection/Rosters

Q: Who is eligible to play in the World Baseball Classic?
A: The following criteria will govern player eligibility in the World Baseball Classic:

• The player is a citizen of the nation the team represents, as evidenced by a valid passport the player holds as of January 15, 2006; or
• The player is a permanent legal resident of the nation or territory the team represents, as evidenced by documentation satisfactory to World Baseball Classic Inc. and the IBAF; or
• The player was born in the nation or territory the team represents, as evidenced by a birth certificate or its equivalent; or
• The player has one parent who is, or if deceased was, a citizen of the nation the team represents, as evidenced by a passport or other documentation satisfactory to World Baseball Classic Inc. and the IBAF; or
• The player has one parent who was born in the nation or territory the team represents, as evidenced by a birth certificate or its equivalent.

Q: How are players be selected for the World Baseball Classic?
A: Each National Federation, in cooperation with the professional leagues in each country/territory (to the extent that such an organization exists), selects the players that will represent their team. The selection of all players under contract with MLB Clubs must be approved by World Baseball Classic, Inc., the tournament entity jointly governed by MLB and the MLBPA.

Q: What is the roster size for each team and when will rosters be set?
A: Each team may comprise a roster of up to 30 players (with a minimum of 13 pitchers and three catchers). Federations will be required to submit provisional rosters of up to 60 players by January 17 and final rosters must be submitted 24 hours before the tournament begins.

Q: How many players will come from Major League Baseball?
A: It is estimated that more than 60% of the players participating in the tournament (approximately 270) will be under contract with Major League Baseball organizations (major league and minor league contracts). The remaining players will be selected from various professional and amateur baseball leagues throughout the world.

Q: Will there be substitutes for injured players?
A: Rules will allow for substitute players in the event of injury, bereavement or other special circumstances.

Managers and Coaches

Q: How are managers and coaches selected for the World Baseball Classic?
A: Each National Federation, in cooperation with the professional leagues in each country/territory (to the extent that such an organization exists), selects the manager and coaches that will represent their team.

Q: Are MLB managers able to participate in the World Baseball Classic?
A: A manager contracted to a major league club is not available for a national team position, unless he is authorized to do so by his club.

Umpires

Q: Who will select the umpires for the World Baseball Classic? A: Umpires will be chosen by World Baseball Classic, Inc. The majority of the umpires selected for the tournament will be professional umpires familiar with Major League Baseball's Official Baseball Rules.

Regulations

Q: What are the playing rules for the World Baseball Classic?
A: The tournament will be played under the official rules of Major League Baseball with modifications to accommodate the format of the tournament (e.g. pitch count limitations, mercy rule). The designated hitter will be used in tournament play.

Q: Is there an anti-doping policy for the World Baseball Classic?
A: All players on provisional and final rosters will be subject to Olympic-style drug testing in accordance with an anti-doping agreement signed by MLB, the MLBPA and the IBAF.

Training Camp

Q: Will there be training camps for the teams?
A: Prior to the commencement of the tournament, each team will hold a training camp so that all players can prepare for competition.

Q: When will MLB players report to their team training camps?
A: Players under contract with Major League Baseball organizations selected to represent Japan, China, Taiwan or South Korea will be required to report to training camps on Sunday, February 26, 2006. MLB contracted players representing any of the other 12 participating countries/territories will be required to report to team training camps on Friday, March 3, 2006.

Q: Will players report to their MLB club spring training camps before the World Baseball Classic?
A: MLB players will be required to report to their club spring training camps on their normal reporting date. Training facilities will be made available at major league spring training sites for players that wish to report early in order to ready themselves for competition. Players under major league and minor league contracts will rejoin their respective club's regular spring training as their teams are eliminated from the tournament.

Q: Where will team training camps take place?
A: Participating Asian countries will host their training camps in either their home countries/territories or in Japan. All other participating teams (with the possible exception of Cuba) will be hosted at training camps in Arizona or Florida.

Q: Will teams play exhibition games?
A: Teams participating in the Round 1 pool in Asia will play exhibition games in the days leading up to the tournament. Similarly, teams participating in the other Round 1 pools (located in the U.S. and Puerto Rico) will play exhibition games against MLB teams at spring training venues in the U.S. in the days leading up to the tournament. The two qualifying teams from the Round 1 pool in Asia also will play exhibition games against MLB teams at spring training venues in the days leading up to the second round of games.

Tournament Organization

Q: What is World Baseball Classic, Inc.?
A: World Baseball Classic, Inc., is the organizing entity of the tournament, which is jointly governed by MLB and the MLBPA. The entity was established to oversee and administer all transactions and operations involving the tournament.

Q: What is the role of the Steering Committee?
A: The Steering Committee advises World Baseball Classic Inc., regarding the general operational issues of the tournament. It is composed of 13 representatives from various tournament entities, including Japanese and Korean baseball and the IBAF.

Q: What is the role of the Technical Committee?
A: There are two arms of the Technical Committee. The first is composed of seven members, including WBCI's Japan and Puerto Rico sponsors; it advises and reports to WBCI on overall tournament policy as it relates to the actual play of games. The second is responsible for on-site management of game day matters, such as monitoring conformity to playing rules, disciplinary issues, protests, delays, etc. Each country has a representative on this committee and each game will be monitored by three members of this committee.

Miscellaneous

Q: How many countries have National Baseball Federations?
A: There are currently 122 National Baseball Federations around the world. This number represents an increase of more than 100% from 1990 when only 60 federations existed.

Q: Are there plans to play the World Baseball Classic on a regular basis?
A: After the 2006 tournament, the plan is for the next World Baseball Classic to be played in 2009, with subsequent tournaments taking place once every four years thereafter. As the tournament matures, the objective will be to include an increasing number of National Baseball Federations.

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