The World Baseball Classic, a 16-team tournament sanctioned by the International Baseball Federation (IBAF), will feature many of the best players in the world competing for their home countries and territories for the first time. The 16 teams invited to participate in the event have been divided into four pools of four teams for the first round of play. Round 2 will feature the top two teams from each of the four Round 1 pools divided into two pools of four teams. PETCO Park, home of the San Diego Padres, will serve as the host venue for the semi-finals and final game of the tournament.
"Angels' fans are some of the most enthusiastic in all of baseball and have set franchise attendance records for three consecutive years," Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig said. "I am delighted that we have secured another outstanding venue for the World Baseball Classic."
"This is a perfect location for what figures to be an exciting quarterfinal bracket, and we're delighted the Angels organization, an enthusiastic supporter of the Classic, was so aggressive in pursuing these games," said MLBPA Executive Director, Donald M. Fehr. "Anything, of course, can happen in baseball, but if form holds, the Anaheim bracket promises to provide can't miss baseball."
Originally known as Anaheim Stadium upon being built for the 1966 season, the ballpark was renamed Angel Stadium of Anaheim prior to the 2004 campaign. In 1979-80, the stadium, nicknamed "The Big A," was reconfigured for additional seating when it served as a dual facility for both professional baseball and football. The capacity of the stadium increased from 43,250 to approximately 65,000. After the 1996 season, the facility was restored to a baseball-only design. Extensive renovations, completed by the start of the 1998 season, resulted in a seating capacity of 45,050 and such unique features as terraced bullpens in the outfield, widened concourses, a spacious and modernized press box and broadcast booths, family-oriented seating sections and landscaped courtyards. The Angels, who have been postseason participants in three of the last four seasons, hosted four games of the 2002 World Series and have since set club attendance marks for three straight years, eclipsing three million tickets sold for the first times in franchise history.
"Our organization is pleased to be part of this inaugural tournament," said Angels' President Dennis Kuhl. "Angel Stadium of Anaheim will provide an exciting environment for competition that will include some of the finest baseball talent in the world. The Angels and the City of Anaheim look forward to supporting what promises to be five days of exciting and memorable baseball."