2013 World Baseball Classic: Let The Games Begin!

WBC1

Are you tired of watching meaningless spring training baseball games? Are you craving some competitive baseball? If that’s the case, you’re in luck starting tonight, and for the next couple of weeks.

The 2013 World Baseball Classic kicks off tonight in Taichung, Taiwan and Fukuoka, Japan. The 16-team tournament will take place for just the third time ever, with the previous two tournaments taking place in 2006 and 2009, where Japan was the last country standing in both.

This year’s tournament will once again feature some of the biggest MLB stars, Adrian Gonzalez (Mexico), Miguel Cabrera (Venezuela), Robinson Cano (Dominican Republic), Ryan Braun (United States), and the list goes on. However, team Japan doesn’t feature any MLB players on their roster this time around.

Star power doesn’t necessarily guarantee you success in this tournament, looking back at the 2009 Netherlands team. That team was the biggest underdog of them all, only to eliminate the star-studded Dominican Republic team in the first round. This tournament has also become a platform for international players to showcase their talents to the rest of the baseball world.

In 2009, team Japan’s ace pitcher was a tall lengthy right-hander that no one had heard about, but he was making MLB stars look like amateurs at the plate. That right-hander happened to be Yu Darvish, who is now pitching for the Texas Rangers. The 2009 World Baseball Classic also introduced Aroldis Chapman to the baseball world, who is now one of the most feared pitchers in the MLB, pitching for the Cincinnati Reds.

Now, it’s time to see what players will burst onto the scene this year.

This tournament is what the game of baseball is all about, 16 teams playing strictly for the name on the front of their jersey and not the back. The World Baseball Classic represents the passion, pride, and pure love for the game of baseball like you’ve never seen before. So you can forget all the talk about $100 million contracts for the next couple of weeks, sit back, and watch these countries play for keeps.

Complete coverage of the WBC will be on the MLB NETWORK. March 2-19

First Round (Round Robin)

Pool A: Fukuoka, Japan. March 2-6, 2013

Teams: Japan, China, Cuba, and Brazil (1st appearance.)

Pool B: Taichung, Taiwan. March 2-5, 2013

Teams: South Korea, Netherlands, Australia, and Chinese Taipei.

Pool C: San Juan, Puerto Rico. March 7-10, 2013

Teams: Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, and Spain (1st appearance.)

Pool D: Phoenix, Arizona. March 7-10, 2013

Teams: United States, Mexico, Italy, and Canada.

Follow Michael Stephenson on Twitter

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