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The WBC is a world-class experience

If I was rich, I’d have been in Miami on Tuesday

The outside of Chase Field was all decked out with WBC promotion.
| Melissa Sage-Bollenbach/South Side Sox

Late last fall, while planning our 2023 White Sox Spring Training trip, I realized the World Baseball Classic was happening while we were there. To be honest, I didn’t really know much about the WBC. I had heard about it, but how it worked and what it meant were unfamiliar to me. I researched ticket prices and found cheap ones on a third-party ticket site, figuring that it didn’t cost us much if it was a bust. So I bought tickets for my son and me to attend Team USA vs. Columbia on March 15.

There seemed to be a bit of momentum for the WBC this year, and Major League Baseball was doing a lot of publicity for it. So, as it got closer, I was excited to go and enthusiastic about all the White Sox players who committed to representing the teams of their respective countries. I found myself watching and reading player interviews and feeding off the passion that they were expressing for being a part of the tournament.

By the time March 15 rolled around, we were really looking forward to the game. Upon walking up to Chase Field there were sights and sounds of the WBC everywhere, and we could already feel the energy. The Puerto Rico vs. Dominican Republic game was on all the TVs at the bar right outside the stadium, and people were cheering the game action. Fans were sporting jerseys of all the different MLB teams as well as Team USA, Columbia, Mexico, and Cuba, to name a few. All the entrances to the stadium had massive lines of people waiting to get in 2 1⁄2 hours before the game.

Once inside, the ambiance didn’t disappoint. Fans immediately lined the first and third baselines looking to catch a glimpse of some of Team USA’s superstars. Batting practice was like a home run derby, with balls rocketing into the stands. The camaraderie among fans was robust. I spent time chatting with fans of almost every major league team — everyone was thrilled and proud of the players representing their country.

As Sox fans, we gravitated toward Lance Lynn long-tossing in the outfield and watched him throw a bullpen session:

The Big Bastard is USA baseball
Melissa Sage-Bollenbach

And, of course, we got to see TA start at second base:

TA has been rock solid at second
Melissa Sage-Bollenbach

The game’s action was incredible. It definitely felt like a playoff atmosphere. Fans were into every pitch, and it was electric. Whenever Team USA got a hit or made a great defensive play, the crowd would loudly cheer, “USA, USA!” and the player would do the hand salute. The fans were pulling for their team and their country. It was a patriotic experience I’d never had before at a baseball game — or anywhere.

30,000+ cheered on the USA and Columbia
Melissa Sage-Bollenbach

When the game had finally come to a close, we didn’t want to leave. My son and I joked about looking into how much it would cost to fly to Miami, and if we were rich, we would be there.

It isn’t easy to describe how much we enjoyed the WBC game experience, and I’m sure I didn’t do it justice. But don’t pass it up if you ever get a chance to go. It truly was incredible, and I’m glad I took the opportunity on those cheap tickets.

USA wins
Melissa Sage-Bollenbach

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