People around the world are looking forward to the inaugural World Baseball Classic next spring, but for Cactus League and Grapefruit League, they have mixed emotion.
Every spring, Cactus League is important to the East Valley’s economy, filling not only seats at Hohokam Stadium in Mesa and Tempe Diablo Stadium but also hotel rooms, restaurants and golf courses.
The big question is whether the WBC will cut or boost Cactus League attendance. Some thought it as more opportunity than obstruction, some are not for sure.
Based on current information, Pool B, include United States, Canada, Mexico and South Africa, could play in the Arizona on March 8 through 11.
Scheduling would be a key factor to minimize competition between Cactus League games and WBC games. They could try adjusting the game time and let fans could come to two games in one day, attending an afternoon Cactus League game and a WBC night game.
There are two theories among baseball officials on how the World Baseball Classic will affect the Cactus League and Florida’s Grapefruit League.
Some fear fans won’t be willing to travel to the Valley if star players aren’t playing with their normal teams.
Like Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim outfielder Vladimir Guerrero, Alfonso Soriano of Texas Rangers, who would likely play for the Dominican Republic, or Chicago Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano, who might pitch for Venezuela’s national team. Both Dominican Republic and Venezuela belong to Pool D and play in Florida at first round.
Good news is fans might be able to see players who normally train in Florida, like New York Yankees star third baseman Alex Rodriguez or former Diamondbacks ace, Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling.
Others believe the tournament will increase overall interest in baseball, it may help that Arizona is a popular destination for visitors from Canada and Mexico.
The real affect will be known during next March.