The 2021 World Baseball Classic is off, according to multiple reports.
Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes reported Monday that the 20-team event won't be played because of the coronavirus pandemic. USA Today, citing two sources, also reported that the WBC has been canceled.
Baseball is scheduled to return to the Summer Olympics, which were pushed back to a July 2021 start date, so international baseball remains on the calendar for next year.
The WBC was scheduled to be played in ballparks in the United States, Japan and Taiwan from March 9-23, with the semifinals and finals at Marlins Park in Miami.
"Basically the only thing missing is an official announcement," a source told Rojas.
In a statement to ESPN Deportes, the World Baseball and Softball Confederation, a governing body of the WBC, said there had been no decision about the 2021 event.
"The WBSC-sanctioned World Classic is jointly organized by MLB and the MLB Players Association, with whom we are in constant contact," the WBSC said. "Together with the MLB, we periodically review the status and any possible changes in the tournament in general, and also, currently, due to the security measures implemented regarding the coronavirus pandemic."
The United States won the event in 2017, defeating Puerto Rico in the final.
The quadrennial event likely won't be played before 2023, Rojas said, explaining that the WBC is part of the MLB collective-bargaining agreement that is due to expire in December 2021.
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