(Miami) The World Baseball Classic will return for its sixth edition in March 2026, with organizers concluding that spring training camp remains a better time to hold it than after the World Series or mid-season.
Speaking ahead of Tuesday night’s final between the United States and Japan, Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said owners and general managers needed to be persuaded to make more pitchers available to national teams.
Since its launch in 2006, the World Baseball Classic has been held in March before the opening day of Major League seasons in North America, Japan and South Korea.
“We talked about the schedule until our heads hurt,” Manfred said.
“There is no perfect moment. You really can’t do that after the playoffs because so many players are inactive. We talked about something in the middle of the season. I think, all things considered, even if it’s not perfect, it’s probably a good time to do it. »
Many Major League Baseball teams kept pitchers out, wanting them to focus on preparing for the start of the season.
“From a competitive point of view, I think the most important thing is that we will have to continue to work, in particular with our clubs, on the pitchers issue,” admitted Manfred.
“Of course it’s great to have the players we’ve had, but I think I’d like to see teams of pitchers with the same quality as our positional players,” added Manfred, who believes that shooting in a high-profile situation like Tuesday’s final -fair, helps players to develop.
As part of the tournament, two star players suffered injuries. New York Mets goaltender Edwin Diaz suffered a knee injury during a post-game celebration with Puerto Rico last week. He had to undergo surgery which ended his season.
Additionally, Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve broke his right thumb when he was hit by a pitch. He will undergo an operation that will keep him out for a period yet to be announced.
“I think perhaps the best testament is how the players, after Díaz’s unfortunate injury, supported the tournament,” noted Manfred. “It is an indication that they are very, very interested in the event. »
Unlike the Soccer World Cup, Manfred has no plans to make the World Baseball Classic bigger than the playoffs and World Series. The purpose of the event, he said, is to develop baseball and internationalize it.