Cover Story

Team Canada and Team Italy stop for a few minutes prior to the game to recognize their country's flags.

Traditional Dancers Open Up World Baseball Classic Game

By Tasha Silverhorn
Au-Authm Action News

On March 7, Salt River Fields at Talking Stick hosted the World Baseball Classic (WBC) game between Team Mexico and Team Italy. To open the game, the Salt River Traditional Dancers performed the basket dance.

With temperatures in the high 70s and an audience of more than 4,000 fans, the ladies of the Salt River Traditional Dancers performed the dance near home plate, along with help from traditional singers Salt River Council Member Ricardo “Brusha” Leonard, Pacer Reina and Mavi Leonard.

The performance was also televised live on MLB-TV for all the world to see.

The group consists of traditional dancers Paula Williams, Mayra Soliz, Alyssa Leonard, Daryl Jay, Helema Andrews, Erin Andrews, Ana Makil, Martha Martinez and Kasey Jay.

“It felt really great to share the basket dance with the world as our audience,” said Williams. “I think we showed people in the stadium, and all the ones watching on television, that our Community is here and we are very proud of what we have and who we are.”

Italy went on to defeat Mexico 6-5 in the game, which was in Pool D of the WBC.
The WBC is the premier international baseball tournament and features some of the best players in the world competing for their home countries and territories.

The 16 teams represent Canada, Italy, Mexico, the United States, Australia, Korea, Chinese Taipei, the Netherlands, China, Cuba, Brazil, Japan, the Dominican Republic, Spain, Puerto Rico and Venezuela. The teams are divided into four pools, A, B, C and D, playing games in Japan, Puerto Rico, Taiwan, Florida, California and Arizona.

For more information on the WBC, follow on Twitter @WBCbaseball or @MLB,, or log on to log on to

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