In case you didn’t notice, The World Baseball Classic has shifted from its every three year cycle and moved to 2013, though it’s just a few months off. I’m not even sure it was supposed to be triennial. Either way, it takes place in early March.
And in case you haven’t seen it yet, the Rawlings 2013 World Baseball Classic Official Game Ball (left) is already being sold. Here it is — likely for the best price you’ll find — from site sponsor USA Sports Marketing. The real surprise for us was the introduction of a WBC Qualifier Baseball, thanks to the new expanded format which included a qualifying round for additional countries’ teams. We’ll address that, and show you that ball below.
Thoughts on the official 2013 WBC ball? Same as the 2006 and 2009 versions, which is fine by me. It’s a tournament that stands on its own, but doesn’t need rebranded each time like the MLB World Series and All-Star Game. Plus, that’s a pretty solid logo. By the way, have you ever seen the prototype for this ball? Check it out here in our Museum of Baseballs: 2006 WBC Prototype.
One final note for now on WBC baseballs – if you happen to come across 2006 balls for cheap, I recommend picking them up. They likely had a much lower production run and tend to sell very well, especially given the international demand in Ebay auctions. The 2009s still sell for around $20, while the 2006 can go for $60-$80 mint.
So, about that 2012 WBC Qualifier ball? I’ll just copy and paste from our Big League Baseballs Forum, from Oct. 17 when we announced it (good reason to join our forum – get breaking news there before we post on the main page):
I received a tip from a Big League Baseballs member about a 2012 World Baseball Classic Qualifier Official Game Ball. I didn’t even think to look for these when the WBC Qualifying Rounds started being played in September:“The qualifying round for the 2013 World Baseball Classic is held from September 19 to November 19, 2012. For the first time ever a qualifying round will be held to determine the final set of teams that will compete in the main tournament. 16 teams will compete in the qualification rounds: the bottom 4 teams from the 2009 World Baseball Classic, and 12 teams that were invited by the International Baseball Federation (IBAF).”
2012 Qualifier Teams: France, Canada, Brazil, Chinese Taipei, Israel, Czech Republic, Colombia, New Zealand, South Africa, Germany, Nicaragua, Philippines, Spain, Great Britain, Panama, Thailand.
Well that 2012 Qualifying round ball is going to be very tough to come by. I’ve seen one game-used version sell for over $200. Once again, thanks to USA Sports Marketing, we don’t need to try and out bid each other to add one to our collections. This ball is being specially produced for USA Sports and will be available for sale in a few weeks. At this point, they’re the only ones that are ordering it for retail. Here it is:
We’ll post an update when they’re available. And coming soon, we should have a list of 2013 Commemorative / Special Event Game Balls.