World Baseball Classic
The World Baseball Classic (WBC) is an international baseball tournament sanctioned from 2006 to 2013 by the International Baseball Federation (IBAF) and after 2013 by World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) in partnership with Major League Baseball (MLB). It was proposed to the IBAF by Major League Baseball (MLB), the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA), and other professional baseball leagues and their players associations around the world. It is one of the two main senior baseball tournaments sanctioned by the WBSC, but the only one which grants to the winner the title of "World Champion".
|Upcoming season or competition:|
|No. of teams||20 (finals)|
|United States (1st title)|
|Most titles||Japan (2 titles)|
It previously coexisted with Olympic baseball (until 2008) and the Baseball World Cup (until 2011) as IBAF-sanctioned tournaments. The final men's Baseball World Cup was held in 2011, and was discontinued in 2013, after an MLB suggestion to reorganize the international baseball calendar, WBSC accepted the suggestion after an executive meeting, giving the "World Champion" title for the WBC winner, on the condition that the Classic should have direct qualifications and follow international anti-doping rules.
The tournament is the first of its kind to have the national teams of IBAF's member federations feature professional players from the major leagues around the world, including Major League Baseball. In addition to providing a format for the best baseball players in the world to compete against one another while representing their home countries, the World Baseball Classic was created in order to further promote the game around the globe.
After a three-year gap between the first two installments of the tournament, plans were made for the World Baseball Classic to be repeated every four years following the 2009 event. The third installment of the Classic was held in 2013, and the fourth was held in 2017. The fifth was scheduled for 2021, but postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.