World Baseball Classic: Latin American Teams Between Glories and Failures

The fifth edition of the World Baseball Classic ended and here we will tell you in summary the performances of the Latin American representatives .

United States and Japan national team players

Photo: IG-mlb

LatinAmerican Post | Theoscar Mogollón González

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Leer en español: Clásico Mundial de Béisbol: selecciones latinoamericanas entre glorias y fracasos

Six long years had to pass for the fans to experience another World Baseball Classic again. The event that should have been played in 2021, and which was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, left moments to remember and endless emotions that ended with the third title for the Japan team, who won 3-2 in a dramatic party to the United States.

And it is that, as expected in these sporting events, Latin America was represented by the best teams of the moment. The qualifying round allowed Panama to be present once again, while Nicaragua was one of the three rookies this year. Both joined the teams with the most experience in the contest: Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Mexico, Cuba and Colombia.

Below we present a brief summary with the performance of the eight Latin American representatives.


Debuting in a World Cup is never easy, and that's what happened to the team led by Sandor Guido. Nicaragua had a group with three favorites, so their main objective was to qualify for the next World Baseball Classic without going through the qualifying round. However, the shortcomings of the team and the lack of experience of its players took their toll.


It is not surprising that Colombia continues to project great growth in baseball, since in the last edition it left a good feeling in its group by finishing third. However, luck was not on the side of manager Jolbert Cabrera and his team, since due to minimal errors they finished in last place in the group, and now they must qualify for the next World Baseball Classic in 2026.

In the first game, the victory against a direct rival like Mexico excited all Colombians, but it was the confrontations against Great Britain and Canada that had to be won no matter what. The 7-5 and 5–0 defeats, respectively, left them in a scenario that became even more complicated with the loss against the United States.


The history of Panama in the World Baseball Classic has not been entirely positive. In the first two editions it finished among the last positions in the ranking, while in 2013 and 2017 it was not present. For this reason, the team led by manager Luis Ortiz had the objective of qualifying for the second round, since the accessibility of the group allowed it.

Group A ended up showing parity among the five teams, which were left with a record of two wins and two losses, something that left Panama in fourth place after the tiebreaker.

Dominican Republic

If we have to talk about failures in this World Baseball Classic, the Dominican Republic appears in the place of honor. For this edition they came with several players at a very high level and with the illusion of revalidating the title achieved undefeated in 2013. However, the team in charge of manager Rodney Linares could not get the caste of favorite and gave up both in the first and in the last meeting.

You can also read: Copa América Beach Soccer 2023: The Growth of The Sport in the Sand

Dominicans have always carried baseball in their DNA. Nicaragua and Israel were not inconvenient. But the detail went through the rivalries against Venezuela and Puerto Rico, two other powers of this sport. They lost to them, leaving the team in third place in the group and equaling another disappointing performance as in 2009.

Puerto Rico

With two consecutive runners-up (2013 and 2017), the Puerto Ricans were emerging as serious candidates to reach the final again. Yadier Molina, catcher in those editions, changed his role to manager of the national team and brought together the best players who make life in the Major Leagues. And it is that going to the second round was more than an obligation for all of them.

The team achieved the expected victories against Nicaragua and Israel, while the classification was achieved on the last day against the Dominican Republic. Only Venezuela was able to defeat them evenly during the first round. Already for the quarterfinals, Puerto Rico lost a great advantage against Mexico in order to say goodbye to the fifth edition of the World Baseball Classic.


In the short history of the World Baseball Classic, very few teams have managed to finish the first round undefeated, and for this 2023 Venezuela achieved such a feat. The red wine team led by manager Omar López was indebted to baseball, as it is known that it is a country full of talents for this sport. The objective was nothing more than to play a final for the first time.

And it is that there was no one who could against them in the first round. Offense and defense combined perfectly to sweep against the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Nicaragua, and Israel. Venezuela seemed unstoppable and with serious options to reach the long-awaited final. However, a forgettable inning against the United States cost them dearly, and they lost in the quarterfinals.


After the runner-up in 2006, the islanders lowered their performance in the following editions, so their manager Armando Johnson set himself the goal of putting his country back on top of the World Cup. With a young and talented roster, plus an accessible group, anything was possible.

Although the group was more even than imagined, Cuba finished first in that phase. Surprise defeats against the Netherlands and Italy forced them to win in the last rounds against Panama and Chinese Taipei. In the quarterfinals they beat Australia just enough, but in the semifinals they lost to the United States to finish in fourth place.


Overcoming the sixth place achieved in the 2006 World Baseball Classic was the objective of the Mexican team, since their subsequent performances went from bad to worse. To do this, manager Benjamín Gil put together a competitive team, mixing seniority with youth. Although the group seemed close, the conviction to excel and make history was much greater.

The setback against Colombia served for the team to gain momentum and go with more desire to face the other rivals. The victory against the United States gave them confidence, and from there they went on a rampage. The inspiration of the Mexicans was total, so much so that they were close to qualifying for the final, but Japan took that golden ticket from them in the last inning.

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