Today, the World Baseball and Softball Confederation (WBSC) presented the logo of the new “world championship tournament” called the Premier 12. This tournament will be played in Taiwan and Japan and the best twelve baseball countries of the world will participate.
The first round and the quarter-finals will be staged in Taiwan. The semi-finals and final will be played in the Tokyo Dome, home of the Yomiuri Giants of the NPB. Japan will open the tournament in the Tokyo Dome but it is not clear yet where the opening ceremony will be held. The WBSC has been talking about a “secret” location in Japan.
This tournament will be the official World Championship for “amateurs” just like the previous World Cup, of which the last edition was played in 2011 and which the Netherlands won.
First Japan decided to step back regarding the organization of the tournament, but now it is very likely that baseball and softball will return on the Olympic agenda, Japan decided to join Taiwan with the organisation of the tournament again.
So far it is not clear if the USA will participate. In February, the WBSC will start negotiations for a US delegation of players from the 40-man rosters of MLB clubs.
Japan will send the Japan Samurai, the team that took on the MLB All Stars in November 2014. This is a sign that Japan and the NPB will take this tournament very serious.
Other participanpants than Japan (and maybe the USA) will be: No. 3 Cuba, No. 4 Chinese Taipei, No. 5 Netherlands, No. 6 Dominican Republic, No. 7 Canada, No. 8 South Korea, No. 9 Puerto Rico, No. 10 Venezuela, No. 11 Italy and No. 12. Mexico.
If the USA decides not to participate, number thirteen (Panama) will probably be invited to participate.
If Japan will send it’s best players from the NPB, it will mean that Dutch players like Rick van den Hurk, Wladimir Balentien, Loek van Mil and maybe Andruw Jones (if not retired by then) will be eligible to participate for the Dutch national team.
The tournament will be played from November 8 through November 21, 2015