When will the next World Baseball Classic be held? What do we know so far?
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred revealed some details of the next World Baseball Classic - the sixth edition of the tournament.
Japan were crowned World Baseball Classic champions for the third time on Tuesday, beating Team USA 2-3 in Miami, now preparations are underway for the sixth edition of the event.
Speaking ahead of last night’s final, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred confirmed that the tournament will return in March 2026. Since the inaugural edition in 2006, the WBC has traditionally been played in March - ahead of opening day of the season in MLB, NPB (Japan) and KBO (South Korea). The Spring Training slot in March is the ideal time for the WBC as it is long enough after the MLB World Series or the Premier12 (held in November) which means top-level players from all nations are available for both events.
With March 2026 pencilled in for the next WBC, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic are possible host nations for the next tournament, alongside Japan.
Early March the best time for the WBC
Nevertheless, Manfred explained that scheduling is still a problem. “We have talked about timing until your head hurts. There’s just no perfect time,” he said. “You can’t really do it after the playoffs because so many players have been down. We have talked about something in the middle of the season. I think on balance, although it’s not perfect, this is probably the right place for it.”
Some MLB teams stopped their pitchers from taking part in this year’s WBC as it would interfere with their preparations for the start of the new season on 30 March. The Dominican Republic were the most affected with 18 out of the 50 preregistered players being denied to play by their respective MLB teams.
Manfred argued that the WBC actually helps to keep pitchers in shape going into the new campaign but admitted that there needs to be give and take on both sides. “From a competitive perspective, I think the most important thing is we’re going to need to continue to work, particularly with our clubs, about pitching. Obviously, it’s great the guys we’ve had, but I think that I’d like to see pitching staffs that are of the same quality as our position players,” he said.
“Pitching in a high-leverage situation like this actually helps players develop,” he added. “We need to staff the teams in a way that pitchers are used appropriately and communicate with the clubs about what’s going on with the individual players and make good judgments.”
World Baseball Classic host countries and champions
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