On March 12, 2020, Major League Baseball announced the postponement of two qualifying tournaments due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Africa/Europe qualifiers will take place from September 16-21, 2022; while Americas/Asia/Oceania qualifiers will take place between September 30-October 5, 2022.
The 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC), an international professional baseball tournament, is the fifth edition of this renowned event and began on March 8th. The United States is the defending champion.
It was originally scheduled to take place in 2021, four years after the previous edition, but was cancelled in May 2020 due to COVID-19 pandemic. As agreed upon by Major League Baseball (MLB) and Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA), qualifications for the Classic would begin September 2022. The tournament has been expanded from 16 to 20 national teams with all teams that participated in 2017 qualifying automatically plus four additional spots.
On January 2020, the WBC declared that 16 national teams who took part in the 2017 World Baseball Classic would automatically qualify for the 2023 tournament.
On March 12th, 2020 Major League Baseball announced that the qualifying tournaments in Tucson, Arizona would be postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As such, both Africa/Europe qualifiers and Americas/Asia/Oceania qualifiers were postponed until September 16-21, 2022 (Africa/Europe qualifiers) and September 30-October 5th 2022 (Americas/Asia/Oceania qualifiers). On this same date in 2022 (Americas/Asia/Oceania qualifiers), respectively).
The Czech Republic, Great Britain, Nicaragua will make their inaugural World Baseball Classic appearances while Panama returned after missing two previous appearances. This marks the third consecutive year South Africa – the only African team not qualifying – did not make it and both Brazil and Spain also failed to qualify. With Panama qualifying for the first time since 2009, South Africa now has the longest active World Baseball Classic appearance drought at 14 years having not qualified since 2009.