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The eyes of the baseball world are on Miami as the top talent in the sport takes part in the final games of the World Baseball Classic – all leading up to Tuesday’s title game inside loanDepot park.
From several teams who have hoisted the trophy before as champions of the tournament to others that are still looking to do so for the first time, the field is stacked with talent all looking to show off their talents on the international stage.
With just a few games left in the tournament, here’s what you need to know ahead of the semifinal round of the World Baseball Classic.
How Players Pick Which Country to Play For
One look at the rosters for the WBC might have some people wondering how they are formed – in particular, how does a player like Miami born and raised Manny Machado play for Team Dominican Republic instead of the United States.
In addition to playing for the country you were born in, there are other ways a player can be eligible for a specific country:
- Hold citizenship or have a permanent residence in the country.
- Have documentation showing you would be eligible for citizenship if you applied.
- Have at least one parent who was born in the country or holds citizenship.
- Previously represented the country in the WBC.
Cuba Uses MLB Talent, Makes Miami Debut in World Baseball Classic
It comes with plenty of controversy off the field, but the national team representing Cuba will be in South Florida for the first time in the five WBC editions. Cuba played in Japan during the first four editions and was in Taiwan to start this year’s tournament while also playing in San Diego during the 2006 and 2009 tournaments.
This year is also the first time Cuba will have Major League Baseball players on their roster – including such names as Luis Robert and Yoan Moncada from the Chicago White Sox, Andy Ibanez from the Detroit Tigers along with three pitchers on MLB rosters.
And Then There Were (Almost) Four
What started as field of 20 teams – expanded from 16 teams in the first four World Baseball Classics – is now down to just five teams left playing for a chance to be the champs.
Three of the spots in the semifinal round have already been clinched. Japan, which won the first two WBC tournaments, is in and will take on Mexico after their win over Puerto Rico on Friday. Cuba, which was the runner-up in the 2006 tournament, will take on the winner of Saturday’s quarterfinal between the Untied States – the 2017 winner – and Venezuela.
Miami in the Spotlight
There have been times before when a venue has hosted more than one round of games in the World Baseball Classic, but not like what we’ve seen at loanDepot park this year.
The home of the Miami Marlins has been the site of play in Pool D of the first round, half of the quarterfinal games and will host both semifinal games and the title game on Tuesday. It’s the fourth time Miami has hosted games in the WBC.
What to Know – NBC 6 South Florida
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