What a thrill the opening ceremony was watching all-time Major League home run champion Hank Aaron walk arm-in-arm with, and be handed the ceremonial first pitch ball by, the all-time Japan home run champion and 2006 Japanese manager, Sadaharu Oh. Hank delivered the first pitch to the Cuban catcher, Ariel Pestano, a veteran of international play and one of the key components of Cuba’s incredible run in the tournament.
The crowds were a big part of the story at the World Baseball Classic. Here is a group of fans of the Cuban team at the final in San Diego.
On the field before Game 1 of the first round in Tokyo, from left to right: John McHale Jr., me, Tommy Lasorda and Peter O’Malley.
Site of the first-round games for Pool A teams China, Chinese Taipei, Japan and Korea.
Inside the Tokyo Dome with Paul Archey, our Senior Vice President for International Business and organizer of the World Baseball Classic.
A real highlight of the trip was breakfast at the United States Embasssy, hosted by Ambassador J. Thomas Schieffer and Mrs. Susanne Schieffer.
I blogged about this Mizuno glove that Ambassador Schieffer keeps on display at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo. It was presented to Lou Gehrig during a 1934 barnstorming tour.
This has been a March unlike any other around baseball. Here are some photos from my experience throughout the inaugural World Baseball Classic.