World Baseball Classic Eligibility

The World Baseball Classic, a rather pale imitation of the global event that is soccer’s World Cup, is now being contested for the fourth time. Countries from around the globe send teams to square off in a series of baseball games to determine who will be world champion. Say, that’d make a good name — the “World Series”. It’s catchy and accurate!

Anyhow, the rosters for these teams are not as nationalistic as you might expect. Many players compete for countries other than the one in which they were born, and it’s clear that these “national” teams don’t have strong qualifying requirements. Most egregious in this regard is the 2017 Israel roster, which features 35 players born in American, and a single lone pitcher born in Israel.

I’ve done some research to discover the minimum requirement a player must meet to play for various countries, and collected my findings below:

A Sampling of the Minimum Requirements for Each Country’s National Team in the World Baseball Classic

To play for these teams, a player must have:

  • Australia: Seen a Crocodile Dundee movie, or at least the Australia episode of the Simpsons featuring the classic line “That’s not a knife, it’s a spoon”.

  • Canada: Apologized at least once in the past year

  • Cuba: Recently uttered the phrase “close, but no cigar”

  • Greece: Been a member of a fraternity in college

  • Israel: Called someone a “putz” and/or “schmuck”

  • Italy: Played a Mario game on any Nintendo platform

  • Japan: The abiity to sing the chorus of The Vapors’ hit song “Turning Japanese”

  • Mexico: Dined in a Taco Bell in the past decade

  • Poland: Ever used a can of lemon Pledge

The 2017 tournament is nearly finished, but the above list may help you find a team to play for in the 2021 event.