The fifth installment of the WBC, which will be played from March 9-23, 2021, will take place at the Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium in Taichung, Taiwan and the Taoyuan International Baseball Stadium in Taoyuan, Taiwan; the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan; Chase Field, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks, in Phoenix, Arizona; and Marlins Park, home of the Miami Marlins, in Miami, Florida. It’s the Arizona and Florida games we’re most concerned with, as they’ll overlap with spring training in both the Cactus League and the Grapefruit League.
It’s interesting to see how the WBC has evolved over the years. It was first envisioned as an adjunct to spring training, with foreign squads training at MLB camps and playing games at spring venues. Now, it’s evolved into the baseball showcase MLB anticipated–but it’s almost totally separate from spring training, even though in the past spring-training fans have included WBC games on their itineraries when convenient.
In 2021, the field of teams will expand to 20 for the first time in WBC history. The 16 teams that participated in the 2017 WBC – Australia, Canada, China, Chinese Taipei, Colombia, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Israel, Italy, Japan, The Kingdom of the Netherlands, Korea, Mexico, Puerto Rico, United States, and Venezuela – will be invited to return for the 2021 iteration and will be joined by four teams advancing from the 2020 Qualifiers, which will be held in Tucson, Arizona from March 13-25, 2020.
Chase Field, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks, returns as a World Baseball Classic host in 2021 after serving as a first round venue in 2006 and 2013. The games for Pool C will be played from March 13-17.
“We are thrilled to once again host World Baseball Classic games at Chase Field,” said D-backs President & CEO Derrick Hall. “Arizona continues to shine on an international stage and we look forward to providing the best experience, not only to local baseball fans, but also those from across the country and around the globe as they cheer on the most talented players in the world.”
Marlins Park, which has hosted games in each of the last two WBC tournaments, will become the first venue in event history to host games in all three rounds of a World Baseball Classic in the same year. Pool D of the first round will run from March 14-18. The North American quarterfinals, including the teams advancing from Pool C and D, will take place on March 19-March 20, while the semi-finals and finals will be played from March 21-23.