WESTERN SYDNEY TO HOST 2016 WORLD BASEBALL CLASSIC QUALIFIER

Following the success of the 2014 Major League Baseball Opening Series at the SCG, Sydney will once again host a major international baseball event. Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events and Minister for Sport Stuart Ayres announced recently a 2016 World Baseball Classic Qualifier will be held in Western Sydney.
Developed and operated in partnership by Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association, and sanctioned by the World Baseball Softball Confederation as the sport’s official ‘World Championship’, the World Baseball Classic (WBC) is the world’s premier international baseball tournament featuring some of the best players on the planet representing their respective nations for the title of World Champion. Superstars such as Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and David Ortiz have competed in previous WBC events.
The national teams from Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines and South Africa will compete in the six-game, four-day Qualifier at Blacktown International Sportspark from 11-14 February 2016, with the winner qualifying for the 2017 World Baseball Classic to be held in March 2017.
The event will mark the first time a World Baseball Classic event has been held in Australia and only the second time Team Australia has played on home soil since defeating the Arizona Diamondbacks and losing a close game to the Los Angeles Dodgers in exhibition games at the 2014 Opening Series.
Team Australia is currently ranked 14 out of the 124 baseball playing nations recognised by the International Baseball Federation.
“Baseball Australia, in conjunction with our partners Baseball NSW and the Australian Baseball League are extremely honoured and excited to be staging this prestigious event,” said Baseball Australia CEO, Brett Pickett. “We are grateful to World Baseball Classic Inc. for providing us the opportunity and to Destinations NSW for their support, and we look forward to putting on a world class event for all participants and fans.”
Over three World Baseball Classic tournaments, 22 Team Australia representatives have played at the major league level in the US and 37 Australians are currently under contract with an MLB club. (Submitted by Marco Selorio)

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