The 2017 World Baseball Classic schedule means baseball is closer than you think – Yahoo Sports

Baseball has only been gone for two weeks, but I know that you miss it. But more baseball is closer than you think! The tournament schedule has been released for the 2017 World Baseball Classic, which means that we get a three week jump on real live baseball.

The WBC features three rounds, and Round 1 begins with four pools: A, B, C and D. Each pool contains four teams and plays in a different location. The whole shebang kicks off with Pool A on March 6 in Seoul, South Korea at the Gocheok Sky Dome. Israel is appearing in the WBC main tournament for the first time ever, and they’ll take on host team Korea on March 6 at 7 p.m. local time (5 a.m. ET). On March 7 the other two teams in Pool A, Chinese Taipei and the Kingdom of the Netherlands, will play their first games.

Pool B will play their games in Tokyo, Japan, and they start with Cuba taking on the host team (and two-time champion) Japan on March 7 at 7 p.m. local time (5 a.m. ET) at the Tokyo Dome. March 8 features match-ups between the other two Pool B teams: China vs. Cuba at noon local time (10 p.m. ET on March 7) and Australia vs. Japan at 7 p.m. local time (5 a.m. ET).

If you’re looking for the United States, Pool C is where you’ll find them. In fact the U.S. is the host team, with all of Pool C’s games being played at Marlins Park in Miami, Florida. Pool C kicks off on March 9 with a 6 p.m. ET game between Canada and the Dominican Republic (who are the defending champions). March 10 is when the US enters the fray, facing Colombia at 6 p.m. ET.

Jalisco, Mexico is hosting Pool D, which begins on March 9 at 8 p.m. CT (9 p.m. ET) with a game between Italy and Mexico. Venezuela and Puerto Rico, the other teams in Pool D, play each other on March 10 at 8 p.m. CT (9 p.m. ET).

After all the games are played in each pool (you can find the full schedule here), including possible play-in games to determine the winners, we move on to Round 2. The winners from Round 1 will be grouped into Pool E (playing in Tokyo) and Pool F (playing at Petco Park in San Diego), and play their games between March 12 and March 19. The championship round, which is a three-game series, will be played March 20-22 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California.

This isn’t just a baseball battle between different countries. It will actually feature MLB players taking the field for their countries. Felix Hernandez will pitch for Venezuela, and Japanese phenom Shohei Otani (who isn’t an MLB player but might be in 2018) will pitch for Japan. The Baltimore Orioles are sending four players to the WBC on four different teams: Jonathan Schoop will play for the Netherlands, Manny Machado will play for the Dominican Republic, Hyun Soo Kim will play for South Korea and Adam Jones will play for the United States. The U.S. team is already full of stars, Jones included. Max Scherzer and Chris Archer have already committed to pitching for the Americans in the WBC, Jonathan Lucroy will catch and Nolan Arenado will presumably hit the crap out of a bunch of baseballs. And that’s just for starters. As teams finalize their rosters, more big names are likely to be announced.

It’s still four months away, but the WBC will give us a chance to see some of our favorite baseball players before the MLB season begins. And after a long offseason, getting baseball even one second early is a tremendous gift.

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Liz Roscher is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at lizroscher@yahoo.com or follow her on twitter! Follow @lizroscher

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