The WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup, which was set to take place in September, has been postponed due to the continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic both domestically and internationally. Valley News/USA Baseball courtesy photo

WBSC event will be rescheduled due to continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic

The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC), in partnership with USA Baseball and the Sarasota-Bradenton Local Organizing Committee recently announced the postponement of the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup due to the continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic both domestically and internationally.

The event was set to take place from Sept. 10-19, 2021, at Ed Smith Stadium and LECOM Park, the Spring Training homes of the Baltimore Orioles and the Pittsburgh Pirates, respectively. The new dates for the event in 2022 will be announced at a later time. All tickets already purchased for the 2021 event will be refunded in a timely manner. Updated ticketing information will be provided when the rescheduled dates are announced.

“As we continue to monitor the global COVID-19 pandemic, the WBSC, as well as our hosts and all concerned stakeholders, consider the rescheduling of the U-18 Baseball World Cup to 2022 to be the best and safest course of action,” WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari said. “While the decision is disappointing, it is taken with the safety of all participants in mind. I am confident that our U.S. hosts next year will be able to deliver a fantastic U-18 Baseball World Cup, where fans can fill the stadiums and cheer on their favorite National Teams, building upon the wave of momentum for our sport following the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

There was a lot of disappointment felt locally in the Temecula Valley as this is a premier baseball event that could help put some of the top players on the map.

“We fully support the decision in light of the continued impact the coronavirus pandemic is having around the globe,” Paul Seiler, USA Baseball’s Executive Director and CEO, said. “Ultimately, it is about protecting the health and safety of the players, coaches and staff, as well as the local communities, and this decision allows us to achieve that to the best of our abilities. We will continue to move forward and be ready to host a truly spectacular event in front of our home fans next year.”

The WBSC awarded the hosting rights to the United States, and Bradenton and Sarasota, Florida, due to its tremendous resume of hosting international and youth sports competitions, including the 2017 World Rowing Championships and the 2017-2018 International Triathlon World Cups. Located on Florida’s Gulf Coast region, Bradenton and Sarasota are south of Tampa Bay and are known for award-winning beaches and a long history of arts and culture.

“We completely support the World Baseball Softball Confederation and USA Baseball’s decision to postpone this year’s event,” Virginia Haley, president of Visit Sarasota County, said. “The safety and well-being of our visitors is our top priority, and we understand the current challenges faced particularly by international competitions. We look forward to collaborating with our partners over the next year to ensure the 2022 World Cup is a truly unforgettable experience for our visiting teams and fans.”

“The World Baseball Softball Confederation has the full support of the Bradenton Area Sports Department in its decision to postpone this year’s tournament,” Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Elliot Falcione said. “We look forward to continue working with USA Baseball to make the U-18 Baseball World Cup a wonderful experience for the teams and visitors in 2022, and to introducing the international baseball community to the Bradenton-Sarasota area.”

Fans can continue to receive updates about the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup by visiting www.SarasotaBradenton2021.com or by following @SARBRAD on Instagram and Twitter. Fans are also encouraged to follow @WBSC on all social media channels.

JP Raineri can be reached by email at sports@reedermedia.com.