Report: 2021 World Baseball Classic canceled, may not return until 2023

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The 2021 World Baseball Classic will have difficulty rescheduling. (Getty)
The 2021 World Baseball Classic will have difficulty rescheduling. (Getty)
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The World Baseball Classic will not be be played next year due to the COVID-19 crisis and resulting play stoppages in both the United States and Japan, per a report by ESPN Digital’s Enrique Rojas.

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The WBC was scheduled for March 9-23, 2021, in the United States, Japan and Taiwan. It is the fifth edition of the international tournament, which was previously held in 2006, 2009, 2013 and 2017.

Via ESPN Digital:

"The tournament was canceled. It is not the priority right now," said a source. "Basically the only thing missing is an official announcement," said the other.

The World Classic is organized by an entity that includes MLB, so it is a part of the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) with players. That expires in December 2021. The tournament is scheduled around major sporting events, which makes it more complicated to reschedule especially given the hosts. The 2020 Tokyo Olympics, set to begin in July, have been pushed back to the summer of 2021.

Organizers do not believe the the tournament can be played until 2023, per ESPN Digital.

The 16 countries that participated in 2017 were automatic guests for the 2021 tournament and four others would come from qualifying tournaments that were postponed indefinitely in mid-March. They were scheduled to be played in Tucson, Arizona.

The Arizona Diamondbacks’ Chase Field and Miami’s Marlins Park were chosen to host games for the 2021 World Baseball Classic. Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium in Taichung, Taiwan, and the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan, were also to host games.

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