World Baseball Classic canceled for 2021 because of coronavirus pandemic



The World Baseball Classic will be postponed from 2021 to 2023 because of the new coronavirus, a person familiar with the planning tells The Associated Press.

The WBC was scheduled for March 9-23, 2021, in the United States, Japan and Taiwan. Sadly, that no longer seems to be realistic, and WBC fans will have an indefinite wait for the next event as the organizing committee charts out a new course. The 2020 Tokyo Olympics, set to begin in July, have been pushed back to the summer of 2021. "Basically the only thing missing is an official announcement", said the other. The decision, first reported by ESPN Deportes, must be approved by the WBC board of directors, which is expected.

"The WBSC-sanctioned World Classic is jointly organized by MLB and the MLB Players Association, with whom we are in constant contact", the WBSC said. Japan won the first two WBC tournaments, with the Dominican Republic taking the crown in 2013 and the United States capturing the first-place trophy in 2017.

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The quadrennial event likely won't be played before 2023, Rojas said, explaining that the WBC is part of the Major League Baseball collective-bargaining agreement that is due to expire in December 2021.

The event had been scheduled to have groups of five teams: the 16 participants in the 2017 tournament plus four qualifiers to be determined during a 12-nation tournament this March 13-25 in Tucson, Arizona.

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