The premier event in international baseball is coming to Los Angeles next year. Dodger Stadium will host the championship round of the 2017 World Baseball Classic, Major League Baseball announced Thursday.
Japan and South Korea competed in the 2009 WBC championship game at Dodger Stadium, one of the most joyful events held there.
Japan won the first two editions of the WBC, and the Dominican Republic won the third. The United States team, rebuffed by many of the best American players, has reached the final four just once in the three tournaments and never has appeared in the championship game.
MLB officials are expected to announce a rule change that would enable top pitchers to commit to one game in the WBC, rather than to the entire three-week tournament. The Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw was noncommittal, even with the change — and that was before his back injury — as was the Angels’ Mike Trout.
The 16-team tournament opens March 7 with first-round games in Miami, Tokyo, Seoul and Guadalajara, Mexico. The second-round games are scheduled for Tokyo and San Diego.
The Petco Park games, from March 14 through 18, will include the four teams that qualify from this eight-team bracket: the United States, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Canada, Colombia and Italy.
The semifinal games are set for March 20 at Dodger Stadium. The championship game is scheduled there for March 22.