|Date||R||Home vs Away||-|
|03/21 23:00||1|| USA vs Japan ||2-3|
|03/20 23:00||2|| USA vs Japan ||5-6|
|03/19 23:00||2|| Cuba vs USA ||2-14|
|03/18 23:00||3|| USA vs Venezuela ||9-7|
|03/17 23:00||3|| Puerto Rico vs Mexico ||4-5|
|03/16 10:00||3|| Italy vs Japan ||3-9|
|03/16 02:00||5|| USA vs Colombia ||3-2|
|03/15 23:00||5|| Puerto Rico vs Dominican Republic ||5-2|
|03/15 19:00||5|| Mexico vs Canada ||10-3|
|03/15 16:00||5|| Venezuela vs Israel ||5-1|
|03/15 10:00||3|| Australia vs Cuba ||3-4|
|03/15 02:00||4|| Puerto Rico vs Mexico ||1-2|
The World Baseball Classic (WBC) is an international baseball tournament sanctioned from 2006 to 2013 by the International Baseball Federation (IBAF) and after 2013 by World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) in partnership with Major League Baseball (MLB). It was proposed to the IBAF by Major League Baseball (MLB), the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA), and other professional baseball leagues and their players associations around the world. It is one of the two main senior baseball tournaments sanctioned by the WBSC, but the only one which grants to the winner the title of "World Champion".
It previously coexisted with Olympic baseball (until 2008) and the Baseball World Cup (until 2011) as IBAF-sanctioned tournaments. The final men's Baseball World Cup was held in 2011, and was discontinued in 2013, after an MLB suggestion to reorganize the international baseball calendar, WBSC accepted the suggestion after an executive meeting, giving the "World Champion" title for the WBC winner, on the condition that the Classic should have direct qualifications and follow international anti-doping rules.
The tournament is the first of its kind to have the national teams of IBAF's member federations feature professional players from the major leagues around the world, including Major League Baseball. In addition to providing a format for the best baseball players in the world to compete against one another while representing their home countries, the World Baseball Classic was created in order to further promote the game around the globe.
After a three-year gap between the first two installments of the tournament, plans were made for the World Baseball Classic to be repeated every four years following the 2009 event. The third installment of the Classic was held in 2013, and the fourth was held in 2017. The fifth was scheduled for 2021, but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The CBA from the 2021–22 Major League Baseball lockout indicated that the WBC will return in 2023, with qualifiers beginning in September 2022.
Modeled after the FIFA World Cup and organized in large part as a response to the International Olympic Committee's decision to remove baseball as an Olympic sport in 2005, the WBC has grown into a major sporting event worldwide. In fact, the final series in 2006 and 2009 rank among the highest-rated sporting events in Japanese television history.
The 16-team field for the inaugural 2006 tournament was pre-selected, featuring the countries judged to be the "best baseball-playing nations" in the world; no qualifying competition was held. The tournament format featured round-robin group play in the first and second rounds, followed by single-elimination semifinals and finals. The first game in WBC history saw South Korea defeat Chinese Taipei 2-0 before a crowd of 5,193 at the Tokyo Dome on March 3, 2006. South Korea went on to advance to the semifinals with a 6–0 record but lost to Japan (a team South Korea had beaten twice in the earlier rounds) for a berth in the final game. Meanwhile, Cuba defeated the Dominican Republic in the other semifinal. Japan then defeated Cuba 10–6 to be crowned the first champion of the World Baseball Classic.
The 2009 tournament featured the same 16 teams as 2006, but the controversial round-robin format from 2006 was replaced by a modified double-elimination format for the first two rounds (the semifinals and final game remained single-elimination). The eight teams advancing from the first round were the same as in 2006, except for a "Cinderella" performance by the Netherlands, which twice defeated the Dominican Republic to reach the second round. In the semifinals, South Korea defeated Venezuela while Japan defeated the United States. Japan then emerged victorious for the second straight Classic, winning the final game over South Korea 5–3 in 10 innings.
The buildup to the 2013 tournament included a qualifying round for the first time, with the four lowest finishers from 2009 having to re-qualify against 12 additional teams. This resulted in two new nations making their first appearances in the WBC, as Brazil and Spain respectively replaced Panama and South Africa. The round-robin format was revived for the tournament's first-round, while the second-round remained double-elimination. Italy was the biggest surprise in the early stages of the tournament, making it to the second round with wins over Canada and Mexico. The tournament ended in an all-Caribbean championship game, with the Dominican Republic defeating Puerto Rico, which had upset two-time champion Japan in the semifinals. The Dominican Republic also became the first (and to date, only) team to go undefeated (8–0) through the tournament.
The 2017 tournament returned to the format used in 2006, where both the first and second rounds were round-robin, though with the addition of tiebreaker games if needed. Colombia and Israel qualified for the first time, with Israel, using a roster mostly of Jewish American players, able to reach the second round in its WBC debut. Defending champion Dominican Republic extended its WBC winning streak to 11 games, dating to the 2013 tournament, before also being eliminated in the second round. The United States won its first WBC championship, defeating Japan and Puerto Rico in the semifinals and finals, respectively. Puerto Rico had been undefeated in the tournament before losing in the final.
In January 2020, MLB announced the 2021 WBC would expand the field to 20 teams. The additional four participants will be determined through qualifying tournaments, which were originally planned to take place in March 2020. However, on March 12, 2020, Major League Baseball announced that the 2021 edition would be postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The CBA from the 2021–22 Major League Baseball lockout indicated that the WBC will return in 2023. Qualification for the tournament concluded on October 5, 2022, with Nicaragua claiming the final place in a victory against Brazil. The competition is set to run from March 8-21, 2023, with Cuba facing off against the Netherlands in the opener in Taiwan.