The World Baseball Association (WBSC) announced Tuesday that the men’s pre-Olympic baseball tournament in the Americas will be held from May 31 to June 5 in Palm Beaches, St. Lucy County, Florida.
Eight teams – including Puerto Rico – will fight for a direct ticket to the Tokyo Olympics in Clover Park, in St. Lucy County, and The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, in West Palm Beach.
Clover Park is the New York Mets’ park during the Spring Camps, and The Ballpark, from the Washington Nationals and the Houston Astros.
“Teams and the whole world of baseball are looking forward to this exciting time to continue on the road to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games,” said Ricardo Fracari, President of WBSC.
He added, “Now with securing dates and places, anticipation increases through this important classification, which we hope will provide an excellent preview of the Tokyo 2020 Games and what they represent, as a symbol of hope and inspiration.”
The tournament was initially scheduled to take place between March 22-26, 2020 at stadiums in the towns of Surprise and Tempe in Arizona.
The United States, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico make up one group, while Canada, Colombia, Cuba and Venezuela make up the other.
In each group, the first two places will advance to the so-called Super Tour, with direct results taken into account. The grand-tour winner will join Japan, Israel, Mexico and South Korea in a group of six teams that will compete in the Tokyo Baseball Championship.
Teams that finished second and third in Florida will qualify for the final qualifiers to be held from June 16-20 in Taiwan, and compete against Australia, China, the Netherlands and the host nation.
Baseball was an Olympic specialty between 1992 and 2008. Cuba won three golds, a United States medal (2000) and a South Korea medal (2008). The sport is back in Tokyo, but will be out again in Paris 2024.
This year the Olympic tournament will be held in Fukushima and Yokohama between July 28 and August 7.
Puerto Rico continues to train in full force at the Hiram Beethorn Stadium in San Juan, under the tutelage of Juan “Igor” Gonzalez.
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