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Australia won the first of 4 World Baseball Classic qualifiers

Monday's Say Hey, Baseball includes team 13 for the 2017 WBC, Mookie Betts' lack of driving skills and Jose Bautista's bat flip is still paying off.

Photo by Brett Hemmings/Getty Images

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The World Baseball Classic is coming in spring of 2017, but it doesn't just happen all at once. Qualifying rounds decide four of the 16 teams who will participate, and the first of those four ended on Sunday with a victorious Australia. They were the host, they were the favorite, and now they are the winner after winning a short tournament that also included South Africa, New Zealand and the Philippines.

There will be another qualifiers between March 17 and 20, this time in Mexicali, Mexico. Germany, Nicaragua, the Czech Republic and, of course, Mexico will participate in that tournament. There will also be a Panama City qualifier during the same stretch, with Panama, Spain, Colombia and France participating. The last of these four qualifiers will be on Sept. 22-25, with Brazil, Great Britain, Pakistan and Israel competing for the last of 16 spots in the 2017 World Baseball Classic.

The other 12 teams automatically made it based on their performance in the last WBC, held in 2013 -- top three teams in a pool automatically qualify, so teams know well in advance if they are going to have a spot in the next one. Those teams are the United States, Venezuela, Canada, Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Japan, Chinese Tapei, South Korea, China, Italy and the Netherlands. It's a shame we have to wait until next year for the WBC to actually play out, but at least we've got some international drama to keep us busy in the meantime. And before MLB gets going, too.