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2023 World Baseball Classic Preview

The common knock on baseball is that it always seems to lack some of the international flair of soccer’s world competitions or the knockout drama of a college basketball tournament. 

Well, if you’re one of the individuals who may give the sport of baseball a hard time about a lack of excitement, then you should definitely tune in to the 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC) that will run from March 7th through March 21st. 

You’ll be able to see power house teams like the United States, the Dominican Republic and Japan flash their baseball glove leather and rattle their wooden bats! But you’ll also get a shot to watch a few countries not known so much for their baseball, like Great Britain and the Czech Republic, who are trying to stage upsets against baseball’s international giants.


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How Does The World Baseball Classic Work?

Like soccer’s World Cup, the World Baseball Classic is going to feature group play to start it off on March 7th. This year the entire field of teams has grown from 16 to 20. Because of that, there will be four groups of five team’s each. All four groups will play their entire group stage in a specific city. Two of those locations will be  in the United States and the other two will be in Japan and Taiwan.

Within the group stage, each team will play the 4 other teams within their group. The two best teams will emerge from each group to take part in the quarterfinals. The quarterfinals are where the knockout aspect (similar to the NCAA basketball tournament) comes into play. Teams participating in this round will only get one 9 inning game to decide a winner (as opposed to the baseball postseason where a series of games are played). Next will comes the semifinals which will again be decided in just a single game. Lastly, the final game will be played in Miami Florida at the Miami Marlins home field, loanDept Park.



When And Where Is The World Baseball Classic Being Played?

The World Baseball Classic will be held from March 7th through March 21st. As well, it is being hosted in four cities throughout the world.

  • Phoenix, AZ
  • Miami, FL
  • Taichung, Taiwan
  • Tokyo, Japan

Group A from above will do their group play in Taichuing, Taiwan. Group B will play their group in Tokyo, Japan. Group C will battle it out in Phoenix, AZ and Group D will be in Miami, FL. 

Group A and Group B will play their quarterfinal in Japan while Group C and D will play in Miami. Finally, the semifinal games and championship will take place in Miami (as mentioned above).


A Brief History Of International Baseball

The phenomenon of international baseball started much further back than most would probably imagine. Baseball was invented during the mid 19th century in the United States and began to spread throughout the world. 

In the 1880s, Al Spalding led a worldwide baseball barnstorming tour that helped bring worldwide attention to the new American game. Spalding was a sporting goods tycoon and a former professional baseball star.

At the time of the trip, the game was still fairly new. Baseball gloves and softball gloves were only just being accepted as necessary piece of equipment to play the game.

Starting from Chicago, Spalding took two baseball teams west through the United States, across the ocean to Australia, up to the Middle East and Northern Africa and finally across Europe. The tour lasted a half year commencing in the fall of 1888 and ending in the spring of 1889.

[Al Spalding's World Tour At The Colosseum In Rome |
Courtesy: National Baseball Hall of Fame Website]

Almost 50 years later, another famous international baseball tour made its way from the shores of the United States. This tour took place in November and December of 1934 and it saw some of the most iconic American baseball stars head to Japan to play a series of 22 ball games. Baseball had already made its way to Japan by the 1930s and the game was extremely popular. However, the people of Japan eagerly awaited the arrival of American players knowing that none other than Babe Ruth was among its company. Babe Ruth was baseball. That not only rang true within America, but even beyond its borders.

At the time of this tour, the use of a baseball glove was fully accepted within the sport. However, the look of the glove was much different than the Wilson gloves and Mizuno gloves we know today. These gloves used in 1934 were more similar looking to some of the vintage gloves we carry on our site.

The tour had some aspirations to be one that promoted “good will” between Japan and the United States. However, within less than 10 years, the United States and Japan would become adversaries in the Second World War.

While tours took baseball east and west of the United States, it was the exchange of students that helped send baseball south into Latin America. In the 1860s, students from Cuba that were studying in Alabama, brought baseball back to Cuba when they returned home from studying. From there, the sport spread amongst the islands in the Caribbean all the way to Northern coast of South America. It especially took off in the Dominican Republic (DR) when the United States maintained a constant presence on the island in the 1910s and 1920s. Following a revolution within the DR that repulsed President Woodrow Wilson, a US delegate was sent to the country. Along with that, United States military members were close by and frequently came on the island to participate in games of baseball. By this time, baseball was gaining full momentum in Latin America.

Since the game started to spread beyond the shores of the United States, international competition has continued to occur, though not always consistently. Baseball has been a part of the Olympics on and off. Most recently, it was included in the 2020 Olympic games (played in 2021 due to COVID-19) where it was won by Japan. 

Even the World Baseball Classic has been played at some unique intervals, the first competition was played in 2006 and then again in 2009. Both of those Classics were won by Japan. They waited an extra year to play the next competition in 2013 to allow for a four year interval between WBC's. The title that year went to the DR. Four years later in 2017, the US got their time to shine as they took home the championship. This year's competition is being played six years after the US took home the title and we’ll have to see who will remain as the champs when the final game is played on March 21st.



Players To Watch In The 2023 World Baseball Classic

  • Harry Ford | Catcher | Great Britain

    With the United States and Great Britain set to duke it out in their opening game on March 11th, it’ll be interesting to see how Great Britain fares against a powerhouse squad from the US that’s filled with All Stars. One of their hopes to possibly pull off the unthinkable is Harry Ford. He was selected in the first round of the 2021 draft by the Seattle Mariners and has posted two impressive professional campaigns in 2021 and 2022 as he put up OPS’s of .982 and .863 respectively. Harry was born in the United States and played high school ball in the state of Georgia, but since both of his parents were born in Great Britain he is granted dual citizenship and can compete in the WBC for Great Britain.


  • Lee Jung-hoo | Outfielder | South Korea

    Just over 10 years ago, Bryce Harper (a Rawlings glove man) arrived on the professional baseball scene as a 19 year old rookie phenom. Well, get acquainted with Lee Jung-hoo, a phenom from South Korea who blew up the Korean baseball scene at 18 years old in 2017. 

    The parallels between Harper and Lee Jung-hoo are pretty neat. Harper came to professional baseball with lofty expectations set by a Sports Illustrated cover that highlighted him as a teenager. Lee Jung-hoo came into the Korean professional leagues with lofty expectations set by being the son of former Korean baseball star, Lee Jung-beom. Jung-beom was bestowed with the nickname “Son of the Wind” during his career due to his speed and we’re going to guess that some of that swiftness has been passed down to his son.

    The younger Lee plays a scintillating outfield and won the most recent Korean Baseball MVP award. Keep an eye on him when South Korea tussles with international baseball giant, Japan, on March 10th.



THE Underdog For The 2023 World Baseball Classic

  • Czech Republic

    You can’t root against this team. Nuff said. 

    Where some teams with less natural-born talent can earn a couple handfuls of American-born players due to dual citizenship, the Czech Republic does not have that advantage. But they have more than made-due with their tough bunch from a country that is not known as a baseball power. 

    The players competing for the Czech Republic will be guys that hold regular 9-5 jobs while playing baseball at the same time. These are the guys that are putting in long hours at the ballfield with training gloves to achieve the level of success that they've earned. By getting to play in this international competition, this crew will truly be living the dream. 

    They knocked off Spain to get to the World Baseball Classic and let's hope that they’ve still got a little magic left to advance to the WBC quarterfinal or maybe even beyond.


Hopefully you came here to learn a little bit more about the World Baseball Classic and will be leaving with more knowledge. This 2023 international competition is going to be fun regardless of who wins and we cannot wait for play to start on March 8th.

Although this article wasn’t directed to gloves, we are still the experts on baseball and softball gloves. Reach out to our team of helpful experts on phone at 866-321-4568, via email through or by live chatting right here.


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