The Canal squad, which will make its debut against Chinese Taipei on March 8, returned to practice this week and is expected to travel to Taiwan on March 2.
Panama played the 2006 and 2009 Classics by invitation, but for this occasion, they earned their spot after winning some qualifying rounds last October at home (Rod Carew Stadium).
Led by Luis Ortiz, they have $300,000 in their bag to qualify, and they could get $2.5 million if they are crowned, if they also finish the first stage in first position in their group.
The total bag will be divided: 50% for the union and the other half for the players and coaching staff. Thus, Panama is reunited with the World Classic after 14 years, and its roster will feature Major League (MLB) players such as Jaime Barria (Los Angeles Angels) and Christian Bethancourt (Tampa Bay Rays).
This fifth edition of the classic was initially scheduled for 2021 but had to be postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Japan won the first two tournaments (2006 and 2009).
The Dominican Republic won the title in 2013 and the United States was victorious in the most recent edition in 2017.
The 20 participating teams are divided into four groups of five, with preliminary rounds in Taichung, Taiwan, Tokyo, Japan, Phoenix, Arizona and Miami, Florida from March 8-15. Yesterday, the organization of the event, which is run by MLB, presented the official World Cup trophy (see center photo of note).
On 8 March, Panama opened against Chinese Taipei and then with the Netherlands; On the 9th, they will play against Cuba; Vs Italy on 10th.