Mexican, Colombian national teams advance to World Baseball Classic

Sixty-five Major League Baseball (MLB) players have now returned to spring training after representing their native countries in the World Baseball Classic Qualifiers — the preliminary rounds of what is considered the Olympics of professional baseball.

Composed of athletes and coaches from all over the world, these national teams are divided into four qualifier series based on geographic location. Each qualifier is arranged in a six-game, double-elimination format that grants the winning team advancement to the World Baseball Classic, scheduled for March 2017.

Held March 17-20, the second qualifier installment featured national teams from the Czech Republic, Germany, Nicaragua and Mexico playing in Mexicali, Mexico. The coinciding third Qualifier showcased Colombia, France, Spain and Panama in Panama City, Panama.


In the Mexicali qualifier final, Mexico dominated over Nicaragua. Reaching 11 runs in five innings, Mexico won 12-1 in the seventh inning by the mercy rule.

Predicted to do better than some of the countries with automatic Classic bids, Mexico has officially earned the second qualifier bid to the 2017 World Baseball Classic.

One of the biggest MLB names to play in the second qualifier was first baseman Adrián González of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Representing Mexico in his fourth consecutive WBC, González said on Twitter that he was very proud to wear a jersey for Mexico again.


Tied 1-1, the final game of the Panama qualifier between Panama and Colombia was an intense pitcher’s duel, until New York Mets’ second baseman Dilson Herrera hit a solo homerun in the bottom of the eighth for Colombia.

The score would remain 2-1, as Colombia won, and earned the country’s first-ever bid to the 2017 World Baseball Classic.

“Now I can tell the entire world that I am living the best experience of my life,” Herrera said to Las Mayores after Colombia’s historic win.


The first qualifier series took place in Sydney, Australia on Feb. 14. In front of the home crowd, Australia clinched their spot in the World Baseball Classic after defeating South Africa 12-5 in the Sydney Final championship game. New Zealand and the Philippines were also eliminated.


Brazil, Great Britain, Israel and Pakistan will battle for the final World Baseball Classic bid in the fourth Qualifier on Sept. 22-25 in Brooklyn, New York.

The other 12 countries already set to compete in the World Baseball Classic based on their performances in the 2013 tournament are: Canada, China, Chinese Taipei, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Italy, Japan, Korea, Kingdom of the Netherlands, Puerto Rico, United States and Venezuela, per an MLB press release.

Modeled after the FIFA World Cup, the World Baseball Classic was organized in response to the International Olympic Committee’s decision to remove baseball as an Olympic sport in 2005.

Japan won the first two Classics in 2006 and 2009. The Dominican Republic won in 2013, and are hoping to defend their title in 2017.

MLB players from the 2013 tournament likely to return for the 2017 WBC are: second baseman Robinson Canó and outfielder Nelson Cruz for the Dominican Republic, first baseman Joey Votto for Canada, catcher Yadier Molina for Puerto Rico, left-handed pitcher Oliver Pérez for Mexico, as well as first baseman Eric Hosmer, and outfielders Giancarlo Stanton and Adam Jones for the United States.