The World Baseball Classic wrapped up a little bit ago with Japan capturing its third title in the tournament’s history. They defeated the United States trying to repeat as champions. The game was close, ending 3-2. Some called the fifth WBC to be an immense success, and the best in the tournament’s short history. While some fans think it’s a waste of time, and bad for the game of baseball, the tournament did not go without some controversy. Is it really bad for baseball though?
On the other hand, seeing Shohei Ohtani face-off against Mike Trout with two outs in the ninth inning of a one-run game was. . . the best thing ever. The games leading up to the final were final were dramatic as well such as Japan’s walk-off against Mexico and Trea Turner’s grand slam to catapult the U.S. ahead of an undefeated Venezuelan team. Then there’s the super team from the Dominican Republic not even making it out of pool play. The fans were going crazy from game one all the way to the final, and the players were loving it. Several times players compared playing in these “meaningless exhibition games” to playing in the World Series.
The WBC brought out player personalities as well, and that’s a good thing. The players are hugely passionate about representing their home countries. Many Asian and Latin American players jump at the chance to wear their countries uniform on the international stage. They cared, and it showed. We got to see Mike Trout play meaningful baseball games. Some people are going to complain about that? Let them! Let them whine, let them kick and scream that it’s not good for baseball. It’s not good for baseball that the face of hockey, Connor McDavid, is referencing the WBC in interviews? It’s terrible for the game that Ohtani vs Trout is being referenced on the broadcast of a live Celtics game? It’s just so awful that everyone on earth is talking about baseball and the MLB season hasn’t even started yet. Just because Mets fans can’t dance to trumpets this season the WBC should be abolished? Cry about it.