Yes, I know most people don't like the idea of the World Baseball Classic. The event that will make its third iteration a couple of years from now in 2013.
This event introduced us to the wonder of Dice-K, before the Red Sox got "suckered in" and you saw the result of that ever since. Matzusaka has been the best player on the WBC in its two previous editions, both won by the Japanese. On the other hand, the United States finished fourth in 2009.
For the 2013 WBC, the organizers have decided to expand the field. From the original 16, 28 teams will get a chance to compete, with a qualifying round later this year to add spice. Based on the current rankings, the following countries will join Canada, Chinese-Taipei, Panama and South Africa (these 4 countries were winless in 2009 WBC):
Brazil, Colombia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Great Britain, Israel, New Zealand, Nicaragua, The Philippines, Spain, Thailand
Out of that clutter, four teams will get the chance to join Australia, China, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Kingdom of the Netherlands, Puerto Rico, United States and Venezuela are already seeded into the main field.
It's great that the WBC and MLB is allowing more teams to get the chance of competing against the big boys of the sport, that their dreams for some to be on even the same baseball field as their idols that they could only watch on their televisions or listen to on their radios.
P.S. You know which team might be a sneaky sneaky bet for this? Israel, thanks to the Diaspora.