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2021 World Baseball Classic dates, venues announced

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Major League Baseball just announced the dates and venues for the 2021 World Baseball Classic

The fifth installment of the WBC, which will be played from March 9-23, 2021, will take place at the Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium in Taichung, Taiwan, Taoyuan International Baseball Stadium in Taoyuan, Taiwan, the Tokyo Dome, Chase Field in Phoenix, and Marlins Park in Miami.

In 2021 the field of teams will expand to 20 over the 16-team field which has been the case in the first four WBCs. The 16 teams that participated in the 2017 WBC – Australia, Canada, China, Chinese Taipei, Colombia, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Israel, Italy, Japan, The Kingdom of the Netherlands, Korea, Mexico, Puerto Rico, United States, and Venezuela – will be invited to return for 2021 and will be joined by four teams advancing from the 2020 Qualifiers, which will be held in Tucson, Arizona from March 13-25.

The 2021 WBC will feature pools of five teams in the first round for round-robin play. The top two teams in each of the four first round pools will advance to the quarterfinals, while the top two teams from each quarterfinal pool will advance to the Championship Round.

Taichung and Taoyuan will host Pool A contests at the Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium and Taoyuan International Baseball Stadium from March 9-13. This marks the second time that Taiwan will host WBC contests after doing so in 2013.

The Tokyo Dome, which has hosted pools in each of the previous four World Baseball Classics will again be home to first round (Pool B) and quarterfinal games in 2021. The quarterfinals on March 16-17 will feature the top two teams from Pool B along with the two teams advancing from Pool A in Taiwan.

Chase Field returns as a World Baseball Classic host in 2021 after serving as a first round venue in 2006 and 2013. The games for Pool C will be played from March 13-17.

Marlins Park, which has hosted games in each of the last two WBC tournaments, will become the first venue in event history to host games in all three rounds of a World Baseball Classic in the same year. Pool D of the first round will run from March 14-18. The North American quarterfinals, including the teams advancing from Pool C and D, will take place on March 19-March 20, while the semi-finals and finals will be played from March 21st-23rd.

Fans allowed at NLCS, World Series in Texas

Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports
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NEW YORK — Fans can take themselves out to the ball game for the first time this season during the NL Championship Series and World Series at new Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas.

Major League Baseball said Wednesday that about 11,500 tickets will be available for each game. That is about 28% of the 40,518-capacity, retractable-roof stadium of the Texas Rangers, which opened this year adjacent to old Globe Life Park, the team’s open-air home from 1994 through 2019.

The World Series is being played at a neutral site for the first time in response to the coronavirus pandemic. It will be played at one stadium for the first time since the St. Louis Cardinals defeated the Browns at Sportsman’s Park in 1944.

Some of the seats will be included in presales for Texas Rangers season ticket holders on Friday and subscribers on Monday, and others are set aside for MLB and players.

Tickets are priced at $40-250 for the NLCS and $75-450 for the World Series, and 10,550 seats in the regular sections of the ballpark and 950 in suites will be sold in “pods” of four contiguous seats.

Each pod will be distanced by at least 6 feet and a checkerboard pattern will be used, with alternating rows of seats in the middle or rows and at the ends. Unsold seats will be tied back.

No seats will be sold in the first six rows within 20 feet of the field, dugouts or bullpen. Fans will not be allowed to the lowest level, which is reserved for MLB’s tier one personnel, such as players and managers.

Masks are mandatory for fans except while they are eating or drinking at their ticketed seats. Concessions and parking will be cashless, and the team’s concessionaire, Delaware North, is planning wrapped items.

The NLCS is scheduled on seven straight days from Oct. 12-18 and the World Series from Oct. 20-28, with traditional off days between Games 2 and 3 and Games 5 and 6, if the Series goes that far. The Division Series, League Championship Series and World Series all will be being played at neutral sites because of the coronavirus .pandemic.

MLB played the entire regular season without fans and also the first round of the playoffs with no fans. For the first time since spring training was interrupted on March 12, club employees and player families were allowed to attend games this week.

While Texas is allowing up to 50% capacity at venues, MLB did not anticipate having government permission for fans to attend postseason games at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles or Petco Park in San Diego, where AL playoff games are scheduled.

Globe Life Field has been the site of more than 50 graduations, but the Rangers played their home games in an empty ballpark.

The Rangers will recommend to MLB that the roof be kept open when possible, executive vice president of business operations Rob Matwick said, but the team understands it will be closed in the event of rain. Matwick said MLB made the decision not to sell seats for the Division Series.

Other than 1944, the only times the World Series was held at one site came in 1921 and 1922, when the New York Giants and Yankees both played home games at the Polo Grounds. Yankee Stadium opened in 1923.