Logan Bowles / USA TODAY Sports

It’s a step in the right direction.

Even without some of baseball’s biggest stars – from Mike Trout to Bryce Harper to Japan’s Shohei Otani – the first round of the 2017 World Baseball Classic officially drew the largest attendance in tournament history.

In a series of tweets, MLB Communications reported that attendance improvements came in both Japan and stateside.

Pool B at the Tokyo Dome drew 206,534 fans – a record for any group since the inaugural WBC in 2005. Pool C at Marlins Park, meanwhile, saw 163,878 fans spin through the turnstiles for a first-round record at a U.S.-hosted group.

Second-round games will continue in Tokyo and San Diego through Sunday, before the semifinals and final take place in Los Angeles between March 20-22. Based on early strides, this iteration of the competition is poised to set overall attendance records before the event’s completion.

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