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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.

Joey Gallo turns his apartment into a batting cage

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While everything going on these days — the illnesses, the stress on the medical system, the stay-at-home-orders, the loss of mobility and the loss of work — hits poor and working people harder than it does well-paid professional athletes, the jocks have their own set of challenges too.

For example, Dallas, like almost everyplace else, is under stay-at-home order in response to the pandemic. That means that Texas Rangers slugger Joey Gallo can’t go to Globe Life Field and take his hacks in the batting cage as usual. So what’s a guy in his position to do?

Why, set up a cage in his de-luxe apartment in the sky:

Given how hard Gallo hits the ball, I’m sort of freaking out watching this, worrying that one bad bit of partial contact is going to shatter his windows. But I guess that’s a Joey Gallo problem.