Playing for title of world champion

Come watch future Major League Baseball stars challenge for this prestigious international title.

Baseball is the reason to visit Thunder Bay the first 10 days of September. The largest city on Lake Superior is getting set to host the U18 Baseball World Cup, a sanctioned event of the World Baseball Softball Confederation. The event dubbed Thunder Bay 2017 is sure to show visitors taking in this international competition that Thunder Bay is a great host city for championship sports events.

Get Your Tickets Early

Fans both local and visiting are encouraged to get their tickets early, as they will get to see future Major League Baseball stars challenge for the title of world champion. The 12-team tournament will feature the top under 18 players from around the globe playing for their national teams. Russell Martin of the Blue Jays and Francisco Lindor of the Indians are among current major leaguers who played in this tournament.

Tickets for the 50 game schedule from September 1-10 are on sale with options for single game tickets and bundled packages. Prices are reasonable, ranging from $10 general admission tickets to $25 for the Port Arthur grandstand seats for the gold medal game set for Sunday September 10.

Tickets can be purchased online at the Thunder Bay Community Auditorium Box Office with complete information on ticket pricing available at Thunder Bay 2017.

Hot Ticket—Team Canada Games

The Team Canada tickets will be a hot item in the opening preliminary round of group play which kicks off the first five days of the tournament September 1-5. 

Team Canada will play all their Group A round robin games at Port Arthur Stadium. Tickets are sure to sell quick for Canada`s opener against Chinese Taipei Friday September 1 at 6:30 pm, which is just after the opening ceremonies (6 pm). Canada's third game of the tournament, Sunday afternoon September 3 at 1 pm against Korea, is another big one if they hope to finish in the top three of their group to advance to the championship Super Round.

Monday September 4, Canada is back in action in the evening against Italy. The 6:30 pm game should attract another large crowd as Thunder Bay’s large Italian community will show their colours in support of both teams. Canada's final game of the prelimary round is against the boys from down under, Australia, who lost the final to Chinese Taipei when Thunder Bay hosted these same championships back in 2010.

Canada unlike the World Junior Hockey Championships is not consider a favourite to challenge for the gold medal, as our national junior squad comes into the tournament ranked 10th. Despite the ranking, Canada played for a gold medal against the United States team in the 2012 U-18 Baseball World Cup in Seoul, Korea. It proves that anything can happen in international baseball which is why the tournament is so compelling.

The powerhouse nations in baseball namely the United States (USA), Japan, Cuba, Korea and Chinese Taipei are the ranks teams favoured to reach the championship game on Sunday September 10.  

With that said, the tournament has been held 26 times going back to 1981 with Cuba winning eleven times and the USA winning eight times, including the last three consecutive events. Canada has won once in 1991 in Brandon, Manitoba. Thunder Bay organizers are hoping that the same magic that was created in that prairie town back in ‘91 can be created right here on the north shore of Lake Superior in early September.

Team Japan and Team USA are the top two ranked teams in that order and will play in the same group as the highly touted Cubans. Cuba is ranked fifth behind Korea (3) and Chinese Taiei (4). The games between Japan and USA (Saturday September 2, 5 pm at Port Arthur Stadium), Japan and Cuba (Sunday September 3, 5 pm at Port Arthur Stadium)  and the USA and Cuba (Tuesday September 5, 6:30 pm at Baseball Central) will all be highly sought-after tickets.

Hotel Rooms Filling Up

Hotel rooms are starting to fillup in Thunder Bay for the 10-days of the tournament. All 12 visiting teams are booked into the host hotels for the tournament, the Valhalla Inn and Airlane Hotel and Conference Centre. Other accommodation properities are being booked by tournament officials, fans, and family traveling with the teams, out-of-town media and major league scouts here to evaluate these future pro prospects. Here is a complete listing of accommodation options including campgrounds to check out and make your booking.

Visitors to Thunder Bay can expect great northern hospitality during their stay with Northwest Ontario`s largest urban centre offering exceptional culinary and cultural experiences along with unique opportunites for shopping and sighseeing. Between games, visitors will want to get out and explore and see more of what one of Canada's great outdoor cities has to offer.

Among the "must" things to see and do are a sail on Lake Superior to get upclose to the Sleeping Giant, stroll one of  the many city parks including the spectaclar new waterfront at Prince Arthur`s Landing, or escape back in time to the fur trade era at Fort William Historical Park. There is also the option to venture outside the city with a short trip to hike beautiful Sleeping Giant Provincial Park, or to see the rugged splendor of Kakabeka Falls, the Niagara of the North.

Thunder Bay hosted this same event back in 2010 when it was called the World Junior Baseball Championships. It was a very successful championship, with fans packing Port Arthur Stadium especially for the Team Canada games and Baseball Central to watch these potential major prospects play for a world title. The same two venues will once against be the fields of dreams for the 2017 championships with upgrades to both stadiums.

Visitors to Thunder Bay for the U18 Baseball World Cup can expect best in class standards for both the international competitiors and those attending this major international sports event. Thunder Bay is sure to live up to its slogan of being Superior by Nature.

About John Cameron

John knows what Northwest Ontario and Thunder Bay has to offer as a tourism destination. A life long resident of the region, John has lived in Thunder Bay for over 30 years. A former sports journalist, John has a passion sports having worked in television, radio and print. He continues to write a weekly column on curling for Thunder Bay’s daily paper, the Chronicle Journal. John works as a development officer for Tourism Thunder Bay with sports tourism a key part of his portfolio.

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