The upcoming World Baseball Classic represents Major League Baseball's attempt to globalize America's pastime.
Commissioner Bud Selig is proud of the fact that MLB has broken attendance records four of the last five years and he wants the world to know about it.
"There was a lot of concern the last time and we had a spectacular World Baseball Classic," says Selig. "This is something we do with the players association. They are very aggressive, as we are. We really want to internationalize our sport. You can always find reasons why not to do something. I know there are some players, for whatever reasons, who don't want to play. But we tailored it this year toward the players' suggestions. The union is not only for it, but they are very strong. I have to give them great credit here, as well as all of the clubs and all of the owners.
"This is a way to internationalize our sport and we are doing it the only time of the year that we can."
Individual tickets for all games already have gone on sale for first-round games in Toronto and San Juan, Puerto Rico, second-round games in Miami and San Diego, and the semifinals and finals in Los Angeles..
The games in Toronto will be played March 7-11. The games in Mexico City are March 8-12. The games in San Juan are March 7-11, and the games in Tokyo are March 5-8.
The second round is March 14-19 at San Diego's PETCO Park and Dolphin Stadium in Miami. The semifinals and finals are March 21 and 23 at Dodger Stadium.
The 16-team field:
Pool A -- China, Chinese Taipei, Japan and Korea in Tokyo.
Pool B -- Australia, Cuba, Mexico and South Africa in Mexico City.
Pool C -- Canada, Italy, the U. S. and Venezuela in Toronto.
Pool D -- Dominican Republic, Netherlands, Panama and Puerto Rico in Puerto Rico.
The two winners from Pools A and B will go to San Diego and the pair of survivors from Pools C and D will go to Miami.