Perhaps it was a lack of clarity from the WBC organisers, or more likely it was my failure to read the fixtures correctly, but I was convinced that the top team from the Regensburg qualifiers would progress to Pool A in Taiwan.
And, with my GB-tinted glasses, Pool A (featuring the Netherlands, Cuba, Italy, and Chinese Taipei) looked the most winnable of all four groups.
Alas, the hours I had invested in YouTube clips with titles like “First-time visitors to Taichung City” was wasted when the four pools for the World Baseball Classic 2023 were officially announced.
Instead of Taiwan, Drew Spencer’s Barmy Army will travel to Phoenix, Arizona for an infinitely less-winnable group.
However, if my expectations of GB Baseball’s chances of progressing beyond the group stages have diminished, then my level of excitement has flipped to 11 with the mouth-watering fixtures ahead.
Let’s get into it…
Pool C kicks off on Saturday 11 March and concludes on Wednesday 15 March. Five days of non-stop baseball with the top two teams processing to Round Two in Miami the following week.
Chase Field, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks, is the venue for all 10 games of Pool C. I like Chase Field. I watched my first live baseball game there. My two overriding memories are Pablo Sandoval homering off Dan Hudson to give Matt Cain the win, and some scary local guy giving me abuse for failing to remove my baseball cap during the national anthem.
Pool C is already nicknamed the Group of Death. Although to be fair, fans of Puerto Rico, Venezuela, and the Dominican Republic in Pool D might disagree.
Canada: Freddie Freeman, Tyler O’Neill, Jameson Taillon, (maybe Joey Votto – insert heart emoji)
Mexico: José Urquidy, Julio Urías, Alex Verdugo, Randy Arozarena
Colombia: Jose Quintana, Jorge Alfaro, Donovan Solano
USA: Oh my! The ultimate Dream Team. Words fail me
Graphic courtesy of Shawn Spradling. @Shawn_Spradling is a must-follow account for all WBC breaking news.
Pool C features 10 games crammed in five days; so that’s five day-games and five evening-games.
Obviously, the “Qualifier Team” in the graphic above is Great Britain, but unfortunately changing it is beyond my editing skills.
- Saturday 11 March: GB v USA
- Sunday 12 March: GB v Canada
- Monday 13 March: GB v Colombia
- Tuesday 14 March: GB v Mexico
It would appear that GB has around 13 hours between the end of their opening game against the USA and the first pitch in their next game against Canada.
We have already heard from lots of Brits intending to take a trip to Arizona in March. For fans of teams in the Cactus League, they have the double-whammy of also getting an opportunity to watch their MLB team in Spring Training.
You can get a carnet of 10 tickets to see every game in the pool from USD 140.00 (although the prices shoot up for better seats). Presumably, single-game tickets will also be available nearer the time.
The excitement of the qualifying tournament in Regensburg still sends shivers down my spine. Great Britain will start as overwhelming underdogs but with the tenacity shown by Drew Spencer’s team in Germany and the addition of superstar talents like Jazz Chisholm, then anything is possible. And if you don’t believe that, then you really don’t know sports.
Get involved! Come and watch the World Series with us. Celebrate Great Britain’s Baseball and Softball National Team success – and join MLB Europe, MLB UK Community, and Bat Flips & Nerds for a World Series Watch Party. Exclusive prizes, special guests, and eggs for breakfast.
ACCOUNTS TO FOLLOW
- World Baseball Classic
- GB Baseball
- Mr Drew Spencer (GB Manager and Head Coach)
- Bat Flips and Nerds (Britain’s biggest baseball podcast and website)
- MLB UK Community look out for fan events #MLBMeetupsUK
- Shawn Spradling (Collator of WBC news)
- Baseball Softball UK (the home of the sports)
Gav is the editor and feature writer at Bat Flips & Nerds. You can follow him on Twitter @GavTramps. Want to write for Bat Flips & Nerds’ audience of 10,000+ followers? Click on the “Write for us” link above.