In high school, some friends and I got our hands on a book called “Would You Rather…” that contained tons of silly scenarios where you were forced to choose between two odd items. It would ask things like,”Would you rather run a marathon in wooden shoes or ride 200 miles on a bike with no seat?” or “Would you rather be in extreme heat or extreme cold?” Not exactly life’s greatest conundrums, but these questions made for very good conversations between bored high school boys.
Today I would like to present an early season version of Would You Rather… Here it is:
Would you rather attend spring training for your favorite team or the World Baseball Classic?
First off, you may be wondering why there is a choice. Why can’t I just go to both? Well, the assumption is made here that the average baseball fan is not bursting at the seams with money to spend on tickets for every game within 100 miles. If money were no object, I’d have Dodgers season tickets and a downtown loft to stay in so I wouldn’t have to drive home after every game. Anyways, let’s take a look at what each event has to offer.
For some fans spring training signals the start of another uncertain campaign as they wait for the young talent on their favorite team to bring it all together and turn in at least a winning season. And for the lucky few, spring training serves as a reunion of sorts for last year’s victorious squad. But regardless of last year’s results, this year’s spring training is always brimming with hope for the season that is about to unfold. There are new acquisitions to observe and young talent to check out.
While spring training games are not nearly as competitive as the regular season, there is no ballpark in the major leagues that will allow fans the type of access to the players that is achieved at spring training facilities. Autograph seekers and camera-wielding fans alike are often sent home happy as players are much more open to posing for pictures and signing an autograph or two.
Every three years, a handful of big leaguers from each team is pulled from their respective team and asked to compete for their country in the World Baseball Classic. The only catch is that the Classic is right in the middle of the spring training schedule. With representatives from professional leagues around the world, the intensity of this competition has proved to be on the opposite end of the spectrum from spring training games. I was fortunate to be living in Orange, CA three years ago when the WBC came through Angel Stadium in Anaheim. My wife an I attended a game between Japan and the USA. With so many great players on both teams, the game nearly had a playoff atmosphere.
I have attended both events so my answer to the question is anything but a no-brainer. However, this year I bought Dodgers spring training tickets for games played in Arizona (a five and a half hour drive) when I could buy WBC tickets for games played at Petco Park in San Diego (about an hour from my house). There is still a chance that I will break down and buy some tickets to the WBC, but for now my baseball bucks will go to spring training. Being closer to the action during the game and seeing the players up close is a big draw for someone like me sho is used to sitting in the top deck at Dodger Stadium.
Now it’s your turn. Spring Training or a WBC game?