The fourth World Baseball Classic, an event that provides fans the opportunity to watch international baseball and pray that their favorite players stay healthy for the regular season, begins on March 6.
While it might pale in comparison to other international tournaments like the World Cup and lazily named Basketball World Cup, the WBC will showcase some exciting match-ups in a unique format.
Here’s a breakdown of everything you’ll need to know about the WBC before games start on Monday.
What’s different about WBC
The World Baseball Classic has your standard baseball rule book but with a few wrinkles, some that are usually found in little league games.
For example, there is strict pitch count for each round. A pitcher cannot throw more than 65 pitches in the first round, 80 pitches in the second round and 95 pitches in the championship round. If a pitcher reaches the pitch limit in the middle of an at-bat, he can continue but must be removed after completing the appearance.
Regarding extra innings, starting in the 11th frame teams will automatically start with runners on first and second base. If this sounds familiar, it’s probably because the rule is basically the same thing that MLB will be testing in rookie leagues this summer.
Games in the WBC will also employ a mercy rule, with games being called if a team is ahead by more than 10 run after the 7th or 15 runs after the 8th.
Representing the Rockies
This year there will be three Rockies playing in the World Baseball Classic: Nolan Arenado and Jake McGee will play for Team USA, and Carlos González will suit up for Venezuela. This will be the second Classic for Gonzáles who hit .273/.385/.273 in three games for Venezuela in 2013. This will be the first appearance for Arenado and McGee.
There will also be quite a few members of the Rockies farm system taking part in the tournament. In addition to Hartford Yard Goats manager Jerry Weinstein, who will be managing Israel, the following players will be participating:
- Rayan Gonzalez // RHP // Puerto Rico
- Scotty Burcham // Shortstop // Israel
- Troy Neiman // RHP // Israel
- Daniel Castro // Infielder // Mexico
- Robert Perkins // Catcher // Australia
First round venues are in Seoul (South Korea), Tokyo (Japan), Miami (USA) and Jalisco (Mexico). The second round will see games in Tokyo and San Diego. The championship round will be played at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.
The first round of games (pool play) will kick off on Monday, March 6th, with a match-up between Israel and South Korea. This round will continue until the 13th, where the top two teams from each pool will move onto the next round. The second round games will be played between the 11th and 16th and the 14th and 19th (pools A and B will start the second round while pools C and D wrap up their first). The semifinal games in Los Angles are scheduled for March 20-21, with the championship game March 22.
The full schedule can be found here but for those wanting to follow a little more closely, here is a full list in the games that Rockies players will be participating.
USA (Arenado / McGee)
- USA vs Colombia // Fri, Mar. 10, 6:00 PM EST
- USA vs Dominican Republic // Sat, Mar. 11, 6:30 PM EST
- USA vs Canada / / Sun, Mar. 12, 7:00 PM EDT
- Venezuela vs Puerto Rico // Fri, Mar. 10, 9:00 PM EST
- Venezuela vs Italy // Sat, Mar. 11, 3:00 PM EST
- Venezuela vs Mexico // Sun, Mar. 12, 10:00 PM EDT