The 16 participating teams gathered prior to the Winter Meetings in Nashville, Tennessee on Saturday to discuss further details of the 2013 World Baseball Classic. Additionally the four groups of the first round were completed with the winners of the four WBC Qualifiers in September and November.
Spain, which prevailed in Jupiter, Florida over Israel, France and South Africa, has to go to San Juan, Puerto Rico, facing a near-impossible task to stun Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Venezuela. IBAF Baseball World Cup winner the Netherlands will face Chinese Taipei (winner of the WBC Qualifier in Taipei City), Korea and Australia in Taichung, Taiwan. Brazil (winner of the WBC Qualifier in Panama City), thanks to its Japanese influence, was slotted into Group A in Fukuoka, Japan with Cuba, Japan and China. Regensburg winner Canada is going to play in Phoenix, Arizona against Italy, Team USA and Mexico.
- Group A (Fukuoka): Cuba, Japan, China, Brazil (March 2-6)
- Group B (Taichung): Netherlands, Korea, Australia, Chinese Taipei (March 2-5)
- Group C (San Juan): Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Spain (March 7-10)
- Group D (Phoenix): USA, Mexico, Italy, Canada (March 7-10)
The first round will be played in a round-robin format, giving all participating teams at least three games at the international level. The top two teams from each pool will qualify for the second round. The advancing teams from Group A and B will be playing at the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan from March 8 to 12. The advancing teams from Group C and D will meet at the new Marlins Park in Miami, Florida from March 12 to 16. This round is going to be played in a modified double-elimination format. Again, two teams from each site will move up to the next round. The championship round with the four remaining teams will be played in a single-elimination format at AT&T Park in San Francisco, California from March 17 to 19.
The winner will be awarded the Baseball World Championship title for the first time. Japan has won the first two editions of the World Baseball Classic in 2006 and 2009. The Netherlands are the reigning Baseball World Champions, having won the IBAF Baseball World Cup in Panama in 2011 against record world title holder Cuba.
A detailed first-round schedule and ticket information are expected to be announced at the beginning of the week. Preliminary rosters are due by January 16, 2013. However a couple of countries probably will release these rosters prior to this date. Japan for example is expected to announce a first roster in a couple of days.