Petco Park (which, as you may have heard, has been a little soggy of late) will soon host a mighty thrilling stretch of baseball putting the cream-of-the-crop from all around the globe at center stage. That’s right: We’re talking about the playoffs of the upcoming 2017 World Baseball Classic! Grab your Cracker-Jacks and experience the game up close while staying at the one of the very best San Diego Hotels, the Sofia, this spring.

The World’s Finest

This international bat-and-ball contest last took place in 2013 (it’s quadrennial), when the Dominican Republic swept Puerto Rico in San Francisco’s AT&T Park. The D.R.’s high-caliber team is back in the mix this year, along with 15 other national teams as contenders.

The USA—whose best showing in the WBC, a fourth-place finish, came in 2009—comes into the tournament with a strong roster: We’re talking catcher “Buster” Posey from the Giants, outfielder Andrew “Cutch” McCutchen from the Marlins, and other Major League MVPs. Do they have a chance to go all the way? You’d better believe it.

The Nuts & Bolts of the World Baseball Classic

OK, ready to get into the weeds a little bit in terms of WBC gameplay? Good!

The teams are divided into four pools, kicking off First Round play in just a few days at South Korea’s Gocheok Sky Dome (Pool A), the Tokyo Dome (Pool B), Marlins Park in Miami (Pool C), and Guadalajara, Mexico’s Estadio Charros de Jalisco (Pool D). The USA will be squaring off in Pool C against Canada, Colombia, and the Dominican Republic.

Petco Park—home base, of course, for our much-loved San Diego Padres—will serve as the venue for Second Round “Pool F” play between March 14 and 19, which features the First Round winners and runners-up from Pool C and Pool D. That means any two of those C teams we mentioned could be meeting Italy, Mexico, Puerto Rico, or Venezuela in our very own magnificent ballpark.

Meanwhile, the analogous playoffs for Pools A and B, the “Pool E” Second Round, will take place at the Tokyo Dome.

The winners and runners-up from the two Second Round series will then journey to L.A.’s Dodger Stadium for the semifinals and the championship game (on March 22).

Choose the Best of San Diego Hotels for the WBC at Petco

Want to get in on the WBC playoff action at Petco Park? We don’t blame you! Check out the tournament’s website for info on tickets: You can buy a full six-game package or attend individual games.

And if you’re hunting for prime hotels in downtown San Diego to serve as your baseball HQ for the proceedings, look no further than the Sofia Hotel: We’re only a mile or so from Petco Park, and we’d love to host you! Take advantage of top-class accommodations at one of the most historic of San Diego Hotels as you relish every minute of every inning.