The pools and first round sites for the 2009 World Baseball Classic have been announced. The same 16 teams will play, but three of the pools have been rearranged, and two new stadiums will see first round games. There has also been a rule change, as pool play has been changed from round robin to a double elimination bracket. This will let the results be decided on the field, instead of through too many crazy tiebreakers.
Pool A remains the same, with China, Chinese Taipei, Japan, and Korea once again playing in the Tokyo Dome.
Pool B now consists of Australia, Cuba, Mexico, and South Africa. Mexico City's Foro Sol Stadium will host these games.
Canada, Italy, and Venezuela join the US in Pool C. In 2006, the US played Canada, Mexico, and South Africa in pool play. Arguably, the road for the Americans will be just as tough in 2009. The Rogers Centre in Toronto will host these games.
Pool D now consists of Dominican Republic, the Netherlands, Panama, and Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico's Hiram Bithorn Stadium will once again host these games.
For more on the Beisbol Clasic del Mundo, check out my coverage of the inaugural tournament: