I have to admit that I didn’t really get into to the World Baseball Classic during its debut last year, but if you did…I have some good news for you. ESPN and the newly formed MLB Network plan on getting thirty-nine games to you during the tournament this March. Via MLB-N….

World Baseball Classic, Inc. has reached agreements with ESPN and MLB Network for shared broadcast rights for the 2009 World Baseball Classic, it was announced today. The World Baseball Classic, the world’s premier international baseball tournament, will feature the world’s best players representing 16 countries and territories, and will be played in seven different venues in five nations and territories from March 5 – 23.

ESPN will televise 23 games of the tournament in the U.S., including the Semi-Final and Final Games, across ESPN and ESPN2 and on its Spanish-language platform ESPN Deportes. ESPN’s agreement includes English and Spanish radio broadcast rights as well as digital rights, including the live-streaming of games on

MLB Network, which will debut on January 1, 2009, will televise 16 World Baseball Classic games and a nightly highlight show titled World Baseball Classic Tonight, beginning in late February. The program will feature highlights, analysis, feature stories and special reports on the tournament, its teams, players and coaches. MLB Network also will air the World Baseball Classic Selection Show, a studio show reporting on the announcement of the rosters.

I’m really interested to see how this whole MLB Network thing is going to work out, but it’s definitely a good first move to latch on with ESPN right away like this. When you consider the extra publicity from them during actual games, and on shows like Sports Center, it’s obviously a no-brainer.

As the press release stated, the tournament gets underway March 2009, and I’ll be sure to have announcers and team rosters when they get released.

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