Pools, host sites for World Baseball Classic tournament unveiled

Mike Koozmin/The S.F. ExaminerInternational event: Giants CEO Larry Baer

Giants officials and players joined Mayor Ed Lee and several international baseball leaders on the shores of McCovey Cove on Tuesday to announcing the venues for the first round of the 2013 World Baseball Classic.

The first round, which consists of pool play involving four teams in each city, will take place in Fukuoka City, Japan; Taichung, Taiwan; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and Phoenix and Scottsdale, Ariz.

AT&T Park has already been announced as the location of the semifinals and final, with the second round set for Tokyo and Miami.

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Several qualifiers have already begun, with Spain and Canada advancing to the WBC. Two other qualifiers will be played in Panama and Taiwan, where one team will advance from each four-team field.

The teams already in pool play will be seeded based on their performance in the 2009 WBC. Each of the four pools has a No. 1 seed that played in the final four, with the other two seeds ranked based on their win total from 2009’s pool play.

The 2013 format will involve a combination of the formats used in the first two WBCs, which were held in 2006 and 2009. The top two teams in pool play will advance to the second round, where a double-elimination tournament will determine the final four teams that will come to San Francisco for two semifinal games and a final.

Lee and Giants president and CEO Larry Baer expressed confidence that AT&T Park would be sold out during the event.

Giants pitcher Ryan Vogelsong, who was playing in Japan during the previous WBC, was on hand Tuesday to offer his insight on what the tournament means to baseball.

“I got to see how another country cheered for their team and watched the tournament go on,” he said. “What an amazing tournament for people to be able to support their country like that with the kind of professional players that are going to be in the tournament, the best players in the world.”

Tickets for the tournament are scheduled to go on sale Dec. 3, which is the same day the 20-man rosters will be announced.

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