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Updated: November 26, 2014
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Compiled and Copyright © 1997-2014 by Marco Stoovelaar

(Story & Photo by Marco Stoovelaar)

Netherlands to participate in inaugural Premier 12; WBSC unveils 12 teams
LAUSANNE (Switzerland) - The Netherlands Baseball Team will be one of the participating teams in the new Premier 12, which will be held for the first time in 2015. The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) today (November 26) announced the twelve countries who will participate in the inaugural edition of the new global event, which will be the new Baseball World Championship and new pro baseball flagship of the WBSC.

...WBSC-President Riccardo Fraccari...
(© Photo: Marco Stoovelaar)
The Premier 12 will feature the world's best-ranked nations and will become's baseball's highest-ranked international competition, awarding multi-millions of US Dollars in prize money.

The Top-12 nations that have secured a place in first edition of the Premier 12 in 2015 are Japan, USA, Cuba, Chinese Taipei, Netherlands, Dominican Republic, Canada, South Korea, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Italy and Mexico, who in this order form the current top-12 on the world ranking list.

WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari states: ,,WBSC congratulates the 2015 Class of Premier 12 nations. These nations represent baseball's best that will unite and deliver an exciting and unmatched competitive parity at the inaugural Premier 12. Any one of these elite nations can come out victorious in 2015 and leave the Premier 12 as the reigning World Champions.''

The unveiling of the twelve participating nations follows the end-of-the-year calculation of the Official 2014 WBSC World Baseball Rankings. The final standings of the rankings in the year preceeding the Premier 12 serve as the exclusive qualifying method into the international baseball showcase. For the first time in history, Japan has moved into first place on the rankings, surpassing the USA, who led the list in 2013.

The Premier 12 logo and 2015 tournament dates are expected to be unveiled at an upcoming press conference. After the inaugural edition next year, this new World Championship will be held every four years. Taiwan has been mentioned for a long time to host the first edition of the Premier 12 with November being the rumored month in which the event takes place.

It marks the second new international and global event to be introduced by the WBSC. Earlier this month, the first edition of the Under 21 Baseball World Cup was held in Taiwan. The WBSC oversees all international activities of both baseball and softball after the IBAF (baseball) and ISF (softball) in 2013 merged to become the world governing body for both sports. The IBAF and ISF became divisions under the organizational structure of the new WBSC.

In 2011, the Netherlands captured the last World-title in the 38th and last World Championship old style. After 2011, the World Championship, which was held every two years since 2001, stopped. It then appeared that the World Baseball Classic, which was held for the first time in 2006, then in 2009, would become the new World Championship. Especially, since the WBC expanded with Qualifying Rounds in 2012 for the 2013 edition. But now, the Premier 12 will become the new World Championship of the WBSC, while Major League Baseball will continue the World Baseball Classic every four years. This means that every two years, there will be a major World Championship with participation of professional players, representing their respective countries.

(November 26)

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