The (South) Korean baseball organisation, KBO, has announced the schedule of group D of the 2017 World Baseball Classic. The games of group D will be played at the Gecheok Sky Dome in Seoul.
Group D contains Korea, Chinese Taipei, Israel and the Kingdom of the Netherlands. In the 2013 version of the WBC, the Dutch also played against Korea and Chinese Taipei. In the opening match of that group, the Dutch had a great start as they beat Korea 5-0.
This year it may be a lot harder for team Kingdom of the Netherlands. Korea will start with at least four MLB players ( Kang Jung-ho (Pittsburgh Pirates), Lee Dae-ho (Seattle Mariners), Choo Shin-soo (Texas Rangers) and Kim Hyun-soo (Baltimore Orioles). Since Korea won the inaugural Premier 12 tournament in 2015, they should not be underestimated. “Israel” will contain a lot of American born MLB players with Israel roots.
Anyhow, Korea will tee off vs Israel on March 6 in a round robin format, unlike the previous three editions, when the double elimination format was used. The next day Korea will face Kingdom of the Netherlands. The Dutch then will face Chinese Taipei on March 8 and Israel on March 9.
The winner and the runner up of each group will move to the next round. In case of group D, the circus will move to the Tokyo Dome in Japan, where they will face the winner and runner up of group B (Australia, China, Cuba and Japan). The second round (in Tokyo) will be group E and once again the winner and runner up of that group will advance to the semi finals in Dodger Stadium.
So far only Jonathan Schoop has confirmed that he will participate with the Kingdom of the Netherlands. It remains to be seen which other MLB players from the Netherlands, Curacao and Aruba will join the team. Of all these players, only Kenley Jansen will be free agent. He may opt to prepare for the season with his new team. But if all (ex) MLB players will get permission of their club and are willing to participate, the Kingdom of the Netherlands can have a nice team again with Kenley Jansen, Andrelton Simmons, Didi Gregorius, Xander Bogaerts, Jonathan Schoop, Shairon Martis, Wladimir Balentien (if he doesn’t opt to prepare for the 2017 season with an eventual new team in Japan) and Rick van den Hurk.