World Baseball Classic: Ian on Tour – I was there when GB shocked the world

Well… what can we say about yesterday? Those of us that were here can now say, “I was there when GB shocked the world and won their first game in the World Baseball Classic!”

And you know what, if we have any voice left, we will say it over and over again; it was such a special moment.

I can only speak for myself, but it’s fair to say that after the result against Canada on Sunday, my expectations were a little lower yesterday than the day before. More fool me!

We had amazing seats right by the GB dugout yesterday – though, truth be told, the stadium was so empty we could probably have sat anywhere we liked – a theory we would put to the test for the latter part of the game with spectacular results.

Before the game, from the seats we had been given by a family that we got speaking to at the GB v USA game the other night, we were able to catch up with Gavin Marshall and share a few nods with a few players – they were locked in, a sign of things to come, maybe.

No more than an inning or two in, and we decided to head down to the VIP Bathrooms that these tickets afforded us access to (yes, really). There was a batting cage to the right of the corridor patrolled by security who may let you glance in, but you definitely aren’t allowed to take any photos. Further down the corridor was a bar (Home Plate Lounge, I think it was called) and from there, some steps up to the seats behind home plate.

“If not now, when?” John said before he bounded up. We grabbed the first couple of seats that we could see, and it turned out that basically put us in the frame every time a pitch was delivered – even if the BT scoreboard was in the way. Both of our phones were getting lit up as people watching from home spotted us “How the hell did you get there?” seemed to be a consistent theme.

And so, there we were, with some of the best seats in the house for the biggest result in British Baseball history. A prime view of Harry Ford’s home run, Jaden Rudd’s RBI double, and I think Ian Gibaut just became my new favourite player for his six outs of work at the end of the game. I was losing my voice before yesterday; I’m basically inaudible now.

I could go on about what the guy’s win means for baseball in the UK, but instead, I’ll close on what it means for John and me.

Earlier this week, we tweeted a challenge to GB Head Coach Drew Spencer. “If you win any of the first three games, @baxie78 and I will go full Geri Halliwell for the Mexico game. You down?”


Ian Blease is capturing the atmosphere in Phoenix for Bat Flips and Nerds around the GB national team in their historic first appearance in the World Baseball Classic. You can follow him on Twitter @Bleasedog

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