The World Baseball Classic is coming back next year, but not to Southern California.
In its first four editions, the championship game of baseball’s answer to the World Cup has been staged in California. For the 2021 tournament, the championship game has been awarded to Miami.
In fact, Miami has been given games in all three rounds next year. California got zero.
In 2006, in the first WBC championship, Japan beat Cuba at Petco Park in San Diego. In 2013, the Dominican Republic beat Puerto Rico at Oracle Park in San Francisco.
That last game took place amid cold and rain, and WBC organizers emphasized domed stadiums amid a two-week, three-round time frame that includes games in Japan, Taiwan, Arizona and Florida. The WBC — run by Major League Baseball — awarded games in all three rounds to Marlins Park, where the home team did not even draw 1 million fans last season.
If two of the teams that played in the last two finals advance to this year’s final — the U.S., the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico — the Miami site will be rocking. If Japan and South Korea reprise their 2009 matchup, the WBC organizers could be California dreaming.