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MLB.com

Press Release

05/11/2005 7:01 PM ET
Inaugural World Baseball Classic to be played in March 2006
Worldwide tournament to feature teams from 16 countries

Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association jointly announced today that the "World Baseball Classic," a 16-nation tournament featuring the world's best players competing for their home countries, will be played in March 2006.

The World Baseball Classic is the result of a coordinated effort among Major League Baseball, the Major League Baseball Players Association, Nippon Professional Baseball, the Korea Baseball Organization and the International Baseball Federation.

"This gathering of baseball's brightest stars will be an outstanding platform to grow the game internationally," said Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig. "As baseball continues to grow globally, more and more fans around the world have the opportunity to appreciate the grace and excitement of our great game. The first World Baseball Classic will bring a unique blend of enthusiasm to old and new fans alike."

"The World Baseball Classic reflects and will demonstrate the continued growth of baseball's appeal worldwide," said MLBPA Executive Director Donald M. Fehr. "We thank the participating leagues, players associations and federations for agreeing to be a part of this event. Major Leaguers look forward to the World Baseball Classic with great anticipation."

Sixteen national teams from North America, South America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia will compete in the four-round tournament to be held at various sites in the United States, Asia and Latin America. More detailed information regarding the World Baseball Classic will be announced in July.