New WBC rules

I had either forgotten about the expanded field in the upcoming WBC or I don't recall reading about it. Patriot has a rundown of some of the rule changes in this article about lots of different things.

For the first time, four spots in the sixteen team field will be up for grabs. The twelve countries that won games in the 2009 WBC are automatic qualifiers (Japan, Korea, China, United States, Mexico, Italy, Netherlands, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Cuba, Australia, and Puerto Rico). The first two qualifiers open up next week.

The qualifiers are four-team double elimination tournaments, the format of which will be familiar to those who watched the 2009 WBC or follow the NCAA Tournament. In Jupiter, FL, South Africa will play Israel and Spain will play France. In Regensburg, Germany, Canada will play Great Britain and Germany will play the Czech Republic. In November, the other two spots will be decided. In Panama City, Panama will play Brazil and Colombia will play Nicaragua. In Taipei City, the Philippines will play Thailand and Taiwan will play New Zealand.

Baseball America wrote about these changes last summer.