The Hot Stove League may just be warming up, but it's never too early to start planning a baseball pilgrimage for next year. The World Baseball Classic returns in March and offers the perfect excuse to combine a trip to the ballpark with a visit to some of the world's great cities.
Tickets are now on sale for first-round games in Tokyo, Mexico City, Toronto, and San Juan, Puerto Rico. Red Sox fans may be particularly interested in the games in Tokyo. Japan won the inaugural World Baseball Classic in 2006, and the tournament served as the coming-out party for Daisuke Matsuzaka. Dice-K and Hideki Okajima haven't committed to pitch for their home countries yet, but even if the Sox hurlers don't take to the mound, the atmosphere in the Tokyo Dome will still be electric when the home team plays.
While in Tokyo, seamheads can visit the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, and Boston fans can also make the three-hour bullet train ride to Kyoto and drop in at the Sox-themed Fenway Park bar while visiting the city's ancient shrines and temples.
If you'd rather stay closer to home and head to warmer climes, second-round games will be played in San Diego and Miami, with the finals in Los Angeles. Tickets to those games go on sale December 8. Major League Baseball is offering travel packages to some of the tournament cities.