Baseball Puts The World Into Classic

March 23, 2009: The World Baseball Classic continues to be a bigger stage for international teams than for the country that created the game, which is why more nations are expected to participate in the next event, scheduled for 2013. The number of teams is expected to go from 16 to 24 and other enhancements are being considered, but what won't change is the timing of the event, which again will come during MLB's spring training period. “Anything new continues to need to be adjusted,” MLB commissioner Bud Selig said in Los Angeles over the weekend, where the semi-final and finals are being held. “I’ve read all the plusses and minuses, but this is doing exactly what we set out to do. This is the right thing to do. For years we had been accused about being slow in our international development. We needed to find resourceful ways to do this. But after a great deal of thought, this is what we came up with." The WBC, which concludes tonight (March 23) with Japan vs. Korea for the 2009 title, is the start of a watershed year for baseball, which in October will come up for consideration by the International Olympic Committee for reinstatement in the Summer Games. “I just went out and sat in the crowd for a couple of innings, and the excitement was incredible. It was marvelous," said Selig. “I’m very happy about where we are. I think this is tremendous. Long after I’m gone, this is going to get bigger and bigger and bigger, and you can count on that.”

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