With a bigger field than ever, the 2023 World Baseball Classic promises to bring some of the most exciting baseball the international event has to offer.
For the first time, pool play is going to be four groups of five rather than four groups of four, raising the number of teams to 20 from 16. The three favorites: The United States, the Dominican Republic, and Japan, are all in different pools as well, meaning we could end up seeing an utterly stacked semifinal round.
However, to get there won’t be a cakewalk. They must first take one of the first two seed in pools and then win a quarterfinal round. With all of the talent playing in this year’s World Baseball Classic, there are numerous obstacles on the way to Miami.
Here’s how the World Baseball Classic will work in 2023, as it’s a bit different than previous years.
MORE: World Baseball Classic schedule 2023: Dates, times, channels for every game
World Baseball Classic 2023 format
16 teams automatically qualified for this year’s World Baseball Classic, and four got in through qualifiers. Those four are Nicaragua, Panama, Great Britain, and the Czech Republic.
Qualifiers took place in September 2022, and all 16 teams who participated in 2017 automatically qualified. Qualifiers were played in two pools: Pool A in Germany and Pool B in Panama. The top two teams from each pool got in after surviving double elimination.
Pools will begin March 8 in Chinese Taipei and conclude March 15, which will also mark the first day of quarterfinal play.
In pools, teams will each play four games round-robin style. The top two nations from each pool will go on to quarterfinals. Pools are being played in Chinese Taipei, Japan, and the United States.
Because each team plays each other once, ties in the standings will simply go to the winner of the head-to-head matchup. There will be no tiebreaker games or questions of runs per game. However, if three teams end up tied, the following criteria are followed:
- Lowest quotient of fewest runs allowed divided by the number of defensive outs recorded in games between the teams that are tied.
- Lowest quotient of fewest earned runs allowed divided by the number of defensive outs recorded in games between the teams that are tied.
- Highest batting average in games in that round between the teams tied.
This is where things are changing. Instead of pools resulting in Pools E & F being formed, the quarterfinals will kick off a tournament-style bracket.
In the quarterfinals, which will be played in Tokyo and Miami, the first seed from Pool A will play the second seed of Pool B, the first seed of Pool B will play the second seed of Pool A, the first seed of Pool C will play the second seed of Pool D, and the second seed of Pool C will play the first seed of Pool D (in variable terms: A1 vs. B2, B1 vs. A2, C1 vs. D2, and D1 vs. C2). Pools A & B will play in Tokyo, and Pools C & D will play in Miami.
From here, the tournament will move to Miami’s LoanDepot Park for good. In the semifinals, the winners of quarterfinal Game 1 and quarterfinal Game 3 will play, and the winners of quarterfinal Game 2 and quarterfinal Game 4 will play.
Game 1 is A1 vs. B2 and Game 3 is D1 vs. C3. That will be the first semifinal. Inversely, the second will be Game 2, or B1 vs. A2, vs. Game 4, or C1 vs. D2.
The finals, also played in Miami, will be the winners of the semifinals.
List of World Baseball Classic pools for 2023
The initial games of the World Baseball Classic are broken into four five-team pools. They’re as follows:
Pool A — Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium (Taichung, Chinese Taipei)
- Chinese Taipei
Pool B — Tokyo Dome (Tokyo, Japan)
- South Korea
- Czech Republic
Pool C — Chase Field (Phoenix, Arizona)
- Great Britain
Pool D — LoanDepot Park (Miami, Florida)
- Puerto Rico
- Dominican Republic
World Baseball Classic 2023 bracket
Here’s a look at the full bracket:
World Baseball Classic 2023 standings
This section will be updated once games begin.
World Baseball Classic 2023 schedule
Here’s the full list of WBC games in 2023.
Pool A (Chinese Taipei)
|March 7||11 p.m.||Cuba vs. Netherlands||FS1|
|March 8||6 a.m.||Panama vs. Chinese Taipei||FS2|
|March 8||11 p.m.||Panama vs. Netherlands||FS2|
|March 9||6 a.m.||Italy vs. Cuba||Tubi|
|March 9||11:30 p.m.||Cuba vs. Panama||FS1|
|March 10||6 a.m.||Italy vs. Chinese Taipei||Tubi|
|March 10||11 p.m.||Panama vs. Italy||FS1|
|March 11||6 a.m.||Netherlands vs. Chinese Taipei||FS2|
|March 11||11 p.m.||Chinese Taipei vs. Cuba||FS2|
|March 12||7 a.m.||Netherlands vs. Italy||FS2|
Pool B (Tokyo)
|March 8||10 p.m.||Australia vs. South Korea||FS1|
|March 9||5 a.m.||China vs. Japan||FS2|
|March 9||10 p.m.||Czech Republic vs. China||Tubi|
|March 10||5 a.m.||Korea vs. Japan||FS2|
|March 10||10 p.m.||China vs. Australia||FS2|
|March 11||5 a.m.||Czech Republic vs. Japan||FS1|
|March 11||10 p.m.||Czech Republic vs. Korea||FS1|
|March 12||6 a.m.||Japan vs. Australia||FS1|
|March 12||11 p.m.||Australia vs. Czech Republic||FS2|
|March 13||6 a.m.||Korea vs. China||FS2|
Pool C (Phoenix)
|March 11||2:30 p.m.||Colombia vs. Mexico||Fox|
|March 11||10 p.m.||Great Britain vs. USA||Fox|
|March 12||3 p.m.||Great Britain vs. Canada||FS1|
|March 12||10 p.m.||Mexico vs. USA||FS1|
|March 13||3 p.m.||Colombia vs. Great Britain||FS2|
|March 13||10 p.m.||Canada vs. USA||FS1|
|March 14||3 p.m.||Canada vs. Colombia||FS2|
|March 14||10 p.m.||Great Britain vs. Mexico||FS1|
|March 15||3 p.m.||Mexico vs. Canada||FS2|
|March 15||10 p.m.||USA vs. Colombia||FS1|
Pool D (Miami)
|March 11||12 p.m.||Nicaragua vs. Puerto Rico||FS2|
|March 11||7 p.m.||Dominican Republic vs. Venezuela||FS1|
|March 12||12 p.m.||Nicaragua vs. Israel||FS2|
|March 12||7 p.m.||Venezuela vs. Puerto Rico||FS1|
|March 13||12 p.m.||Dominican Republic vs. Nicaragua||FS2|
|March 13||7 p.m.||Israel vs. Puerto Rico||FS1|
|March 14||12 p.m.||Nicaragua vs. Venezuela||FS2|
|March 14||7 p.m.||Israel vs. Dominican Republic||FS2|
|March 15||12 p.m.||Venezuela vs. Israel||FS2|
|March 15||7 p.m.||Puerto Rico vs. Dominican Republic||FS2|
MORE: 2023 World Baseball Classic: 10 pitcher-hitter matchups we can’t wait to see
|March 15||6 a.m.||Tokyo||Pool B runner-up vs. Pool A winner||FS2|
|March 16||6 a.m.||Tokyo||Pool A runner-up vs. Pool B winner||FS2|
|March 17||7 p.m.||Miami||Pool C runner-up vs. Pool D winner||FS1|
|March 18||7 p.m.||Miami||Pool D runner-up vs. Pool C winner||Fox|
|March 19||7 p.m.||Miami||Quarterfinal 1 winner vs. Quarterfinal 3 winner||FS1|
|March 20||7 p.m.||Miami||Quarterfinal 2 winner vs. Quarterfinal 4 winner||FS1|
|March 21||7 p.m.||Miami||Semifinal 1 winner vs. Semifinal 2 winner||FS1|