The addition of pool play and an expanded field of 17 teams are among the many format changes coming to this year's Connie Mack World Series. Keri Hensley/USA TODAY NETWORK
For the first time, the tournament will include pool play and a field with five more teams
FARMINGTON — The addition of pool play and an expanded field of 17 teams are among the many format changes coming to this year's Connie Mack World Series, according to Carol May, chairwoman of the CMWS Committee.
The American Amateur Baseball Congress proposed the changes at the annual AABC meeting in October, and the CMWS Committee agreed to them. The changes will be implemented starting with this year's tournament.
The field of teams will expand from 12 to 17 and a weekend of pool play precede the double-elimination tournament, May said.
May said adding more teams and extending the event will bring more of the best amateur competition in the country to Farmington.
"When you only have 12 teams, you limit ... how many good teams you can bring to the tournament," May said in a phone interview with The Daily Times on Friday. "It's a highly prestigious tournament, so I think the thought behind it is a lot of really good teams should be playing in it, and we should get to watch them."
The qualifying teams are scheduled to arrive on Thursday, July 27. On Friday, July 28, there will be a manager's meeting, the parade, the home run derby and the fungo skills challenge, followed by opening ceremonies in the evening.
Pool play will take place over weekend from July 30 to 31. The host team will be exempt from pool play, which will consist of four teams in four pools, for a total of 16 teams. The two teams with the most wins in their respective pools at the end of the weekend will move on to play in the world series.
Pool play games will take place simultaneously at Ricketts Park, Worley Field and Field No. 1 of the Farmington Sports Complex.
Eight teams from pool play, along with the host team, will play in the double-elimination tournament, which will start on Tuesday, Aug. 1. The championship game will be on Sunday, Aug. 6.
Another new addition will be a scheduled day off for teams on Monday, July 31, before the start of the series. That day, the eight teams who came up short in pool play will fly home, while the other eight will move in with their foster families. Also that Monday, a manager's meeting will be held to draw seeds for the tournament.
The host team is set to play against the team that draws the No. 2 spot. The team that draws No. 3 faces No. 4, No. 5 faces No. 6, No. 7 plays No. 8 and the team lucky enough to draw No. 9 gets a bye into the second round.
Mobile users: Click here to view the 2017 Connie Mack World Series bracket.
The Midland Redskins, the East Cobb Yankees and the Southern California Renegades — three of the most successful teams in CMWS history — will receive automatic bids into the field of 17 teams. May said that change is designed to create more parity in those teams' respective regions.
"The hope is that by giving teams automatic berths, a lot of other teams from those regions will be encouraged to play in the AABC tournaments," May said. "With teams like Midland out of the way in regionals, maybe we can get some other really good teams in there that will take interest in the AABC and give it a shot."
The CMWS Committee met again on Thursday to hammer out start times for the two Aug. 6 finals. Instead of playing the games at 5 and, if necessary, at 7:30 p.m., which was the original plan, the committee agreed to move up the game times to 1 and 3:30 p.m.
Those with reserved seats for the CMWS will be charged an extra $10 in their mailed ticket statements to cover pool play weekend.
"The extra $10 covers a possible 24 extra games," May said. "Obviously, you won't be able to attend all 24, but you could attend eight of them at least, or parts of 10 or 12 if you do some field hopping. We felt like that was a pretty good value."
Jake Newby covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.