The month of June will see plenty of baseball being played. From Major League baseball beginning their third month of the season to the NCAA starting their trip “On the road to Omaha.” There may be one baseball event you are not aware of. The WBSC Baseball Americas Qualifier will be held in Florida from May 31-June 5. What is the WBSC Baseball Americas Qualifier you ask? It is an Olympic qualification baseball event that will provide the winner a spot in the Summer Olympic baseball tournament in July as baseball returns to the Olympic stage for the first time since the 2008 games in Beijing.
As of now, there are three teams that have already punched their ticket to Tokyo. Those teams are Israel, Korea, and Mexico. The winner of this tournament will become the fourth to be added. The second and third-place teams in this event will get one more chance to qualify. That will take place in Mexico in late June or early July. Team USA is being led by former MLB manager Mike Scioscia and a three-time World Series champion who was a player with the Los Angeles Dodgers. As a major league manager, he took the Angels to a World Series as well. Scioscia was named manager of team USA in April and quickly put together a coaching staff that has a combined 100 years of baseball experiences and 19 years of playing and coaching experiences with team USA.
The roster is a mix of former major league players and current players in the minor leagues. Some of these players have been a part of Team USA in the past. Those from the minor league are mostly Double A and Triple A members. All are players that are on 40-man rosters of the organizations they were picked from. The former MLB players have World Series championship and all-star appearances on their resumes. The roster will be a 26-man group that is made up of 14 pitches and 12 position players. There are familiar names on this roster. Names like Matt Kemp, David Robertson, Edwin Jackson, Todd Frazier, Jon Jay, and Marc Rzepczynski. They all have World Series rings to their credit. There are four members of the MLB Top-100 prospect list. There are names like Matthew Liberatore (Cardinals), Triston Casas (Red Sox), Simeon Woods (Blue Jays), and Jarren Duran (Red Sox).
As good as this roster might be, they did not have a lot of time to get to know each other. They arrived in Port St. Lucie last week to begin the tryouts to be named to the team which was done on May 30. Their first game in this tournament is scheduled for Monday night May 31st vs Nicaragua. That will be followed by games against Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. There are six teams in this event and they are split up into two divisions. Team USA is in Division A. Division B consists of Cuba, Venezuela, Canada, Colombia. The top two teams in each division will advance to play in the Super Round on June 4 and 5th with the winner getting their spot in the Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
There will be two sites used for this WBSC tournament, Port St. Lucie and the Ballpark in Palm Beach, Florida. All three of Team USA games will be streamed live on ESPN+ at 7 PM.