To Tommy Lasorda, the only thing worse than not buying tickets to his Classic, is not being willing to play in it.
Lasorda visited San Diego Monday to let baseball fans here know the opportunity to watch the best baseball players in the world is not only here in San Diego, March 14-19 but also in Los Angeles, March 21-23.
Get your sports news delivered to you, sign up for sports newsletters now
“Do you want to see the best players of the world? They’re here,” said Lasorda who serves as the global ambassador for the 2009 World Baseball Classic.
Games are scheduled in Toronto, Mexico City, Puerto Rico, Tokyo, Miami, Los Angeles and San Diego. It's a double-elimination format in the first two rounds. The two winners from the Toronto bracket will meet the winners from Puerto Rico in the second round at Miami's Dolphin Stadium, while the two winners from the Tokyo bracket will meet the winners from Mexico City in San Diego's PETCO Park, according to MLB.com.
Several Padres are on the preliminary roster including Jake Peavy on the USA roster and Adrian Gonzalez on Mexico’s roster. Final rosters will be set by February 24. Lasorda didn't mince words for those players who choose not to participate. See video
"What irritates me more than anything is to ask someone to participate and they turn you down. They turn the opportunity to play for your country down," he said.
"Alex Rodriguez was born in the United States and he wants to play for the Dominican Republic. When I see him, I’m gonna ask him 'Who sends all them big checks to him the Dominican Republican or the United States?' You gotta play for the country you’re born in," he said.
The Classic was a success at PETCO Park in 2006 when Japan defeated Cuba for the title in front of a sold-out crowd of 42,696.
“I lot of people thought it wouldn’t work. A lot of people thought the players won’t play up to their capabilities,” said Lasorda. “We went beyond their expectations.”
Now the series is returning, this time including a series of games in Los Angeles. “I say to all of you, just like I said for the first one,” said Lasorda. "Now’s the time. Buy them now."
Six-pack tickets are on sale now and range from $120 to $390.