From the star studded pro baseball players like Mike Trout to Shohei Ohtani or the World Cup like atmosphere, the World Baseball Classic had everything not just for baseball fans but sport fans in general.
The World Baseball Classic was founded in 2006 by the MLB. and didn’t have the best footing in the United States. United States fans and players weren’t interested in playing in the tournament because they thought it wasn’t as important as playing in MLB.’s regular season.
Meanwhile in Japan, the tournament has always been a big event. In 2009, when Japan faced Korea in an exhibition match, there were 62 million people watching in Japan alone. That’s almost half of Japan’s population viewing a game that wasn’t even a win or go home game. That’s how much of a big deal it was over there.
The United States’ opinion on the tournament didn’t fully change until they won it all in 2017. United States Outfielder Adam Jones’ game saving catch against Venezuelan Third Baseman Manny Machado is still regarded by many as one of the best plays in World Baseball Classic history. It flipped a switch in the United States that revealed the fun and action that this type of tournament could bring, so when the MLB revealed that the tournament would be coming back in 2023, people listened.
For the first time ever, mega superstar Mike Trout said he would play for the United States, helping assemble one of the greatest baseball lineups you will ever see. On the other side of the world, Team Japan assembled a team of great Japanese players that included the likes of the best current MLB. player, Shohei Ohtani.
Fast forward to the tournament final and it was Japan against the United States. Super-star team against super-star team. The last at bat was between Trout vs. Ohtani with the United States down by one run. All time great player vs. all time great player. Both from completely different different sides of the world facing each other on one of the biggest stages of the world.
Ohtani finished the game off by striking out Trout with 5.2 million American viewers watching, the most watched World Baseball Classic game in America ever. Fans were screaming, Ohtani was pumped and all around emotions were high.
Although the World Baseball Classic may have seemed like there were only good moments of only good for baseball, there were also some devastating blows; specifically, injuries. Star players like Closing Pitcher Edwin Diaz and Second Baseman Jose Altuve are out for multiple months with injuries they sustained playing in the World Baseball Classic.
With that being said, I believe the injuries are worth the risk. Players loved playing for their countriesteams this year. Trout said, “I had the time of my life representing that USA on my chest! The energy was electric and made the WBC a moment I’ll always cherish.”
The World Baseball Classic was an exhilarating event that should not be canceled, but kept going for years to come. It allows players to show their pride and represent their countries while also playing some of the greatest baseball we’ve seen in a while.