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WBSC Announces Baseball Champions League With Teams From Mexico, Colombia, Cuba, USA

 Matt Tallarini  |    Jul 10th, 2023 9:33pm EDT

The Baseball Champions League, an event pitting the champions of professional leagues in Mexico, Colombia, Cuba, and the United States, will debut this fall in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico.

This new competition for professional clubs was announced Monday, July 10 at a press conference in Mexico City, and is organized by the World Baseball Softball Confederation Americas sector alongside the WBSC headquarters in Switzerland. The inaugural event will be held from September 28 to October 1 in Merida at Parque Kukulcán Alamo in Merida.

The idea came from WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari, who oversees 210 countries baseball federations, and Liga Mexicana de Beisbol President Horacio de la Vega, to bring a champions league concept to the sport. 

The advisors from the World Baseball Softball Confederation and Liga Mexicana de Beisbol will invite the champions from the Liga Profesional de Béisbol Colombia, the Liga Mexicana de Beisbol, the American Association, and the Serie Nacional de Cuba.

For the 2023 Baseball Champions League, the four leagues will each be represented by their 2022 champion: from the Liga Profesional de Beisbol de Colombia, the Caimanes de Barranquilla; from the Liga Mexicana de Beisbol, the Leones de Yucatán; from the Serie Nacional de Cuba, Alazanes de Granma; and from the American Association, the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks. 

Eight games will take place in a round robin format from September 28-30. There will be a championship game and third place game on October 1, based upon the round robin records. If necessary, head-to-head win-loss records and total quality balance run differential criteria will determine the seeding. 

The Government of the State of Yucatan will also help with organizing the event from Liga Mexicana de Beisbol’s Leones de Yucatán franchise, who play at Parque Kukulcan Alamo. 

The Baseball Champions League mission is to expand to include 140 leagues worldwide in the Caribbean, Latin America, Europe, and Asia to build more international club competition events, which could lead to possibly having national teams compete against club teams as well. 

The other international events where club teams and national teams are still competing against each other are the World Port Tournament and Honkbal Haarlem Week Tournament which are both held in the Netherlands during overlapping years. 

The WBSC Europe sector has several similar events, such as the European Champions Cup, European Confederation Cup, the pool rounds of the Baseball Federation Cup Qualifier and Baseball Federation Cup for European club teams.  

The WBSC Asia sector held the Asia Series, featuring top club teams, from 2005-08 and 2011-13 with the champions from Nippon Professional Baseball in Japan, the Korea Baseball Organization, the Chinese Professional Baseball League in Taiwan, the Australian Baseball League, the winner of the European Champions Cup, and an All-Star team from the China Baseball League before it discontinued after the 2013 tournament. 

The Baseball Champions League event will provide a lot of scouting opportunities for the winter league seasons in Australia and the Caribbean, as well as the Pan-American Games in October, and the Baseball United Showcase league that will play in Dubai from November 9-12. 

The Baseball Champions League is part of the World Baseball Softball Confederation event portfolio which includes the Premier 12, World Baseball Classic, and age-group World Cups. 

According to the WBSC website, “ESPN or ESPN Mexico will broadcast the tournament in Mexico, which will feature seven games over four days with a round-robin format before the top two teams advance to the final.”