SAN FRANCISCO -- Phoenix will host the United States national team in the 2013 World Baseball Classic's opening round, as well as Italy, Mexico and a qualifier to be determined in November. The names of the teams were announced at a news conference Tuesday at AT&T Park.
Phoenix had previously been announced as a first-round venue, and games will be held at Chase Field and Salt River Fields at Talking Stick in Arizona. The first-round games in Phoenix will take place from March 7-10, with the United States holding the top seed. The top two teams from the round-robin games will advance to the second round, which is double elimination.
MLB Senior Vice President of International Business Operations Paul Archey on Tuesday outlined the benefits Phoenix provides for the opening rounds, including proximity to Spring Training sites for MLB players and the ability to use both 14-year-old Chase Field and the new venues at Talking Stick.
"There was heavy competition from Major League Baseball teams to host the World Baseball Classic, so we are thrilled to have been selected," D-backs president and CEO Derrick Hall said. "The popularity of this crown jewel event is growing steadily, and it will be an honor to once again roll out the red carpet for first-time visitors from other cities, states and countries. Just as the All-Star Game was able to provide last year, this will again bring a strong economic impact to our region, while showcasing one of baseball's finest ballparks and fan experiences to a world-wide audience."
The United States, which reached the semifinals in the '09 Classic, was awarded the No. 1 seed in Pool D. Next year's tournament will be expanded to 28 teams, with qualifying action currently taking place.
Miami and Tokyo will host second-round action, while the semifinals and finals will be played at AT&T Park in San Francisco.
Jay Lee is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.