World Baseball Classic Overview

The World Baseball Classic ended with team Japan defeating the United States on March 21 with a final score of 3-2.

Gianna Postiglione, Sports Writer

The World Baseball Classic with its short history (beginning in 2006) is usually played every three years. However, in 2020 it was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The World Baseball Classic was especially exciting this year because the last time the W.B.C. happened was in 2017. 

With the attention and excitement that this year’s tournament brought, Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred has already announced that the next W.B.C. will take place in 2026.

The World Baseball Classic is a tournament where different countries play each other and compete to be named World Champions. This tournament in run by the International Baseball Federation as well as the World Baseball Softball Confederation. The tournament consisted of 20 teams from around the world filled with players that want to represent their country. The final four teams standing in the previous World Baseball Classic have an automatic ranking into the next W.B.C. pool play. Pool play is played in double elimination format and after double elimination the remaining two teams from each pool advance. From there, there are eight teams competing in single-elimination play.

As 20 countries go head-to-head to compete for the title, they are split up into four pools for pool Play.

 Pool A consisted of Cuba, Italy, Netherlands, Panama, and Chinese Taipei, and these teams played in Taichung, Taiwan. 

Pool B contained teams from Japan, Australia, Korea, the Czech Republic, and China, and they competed in Tokyo, Japan.

 Pool C was played in Phoenix, Arizona, and consisted of the United States, Mexico, Colombia, Canada, and Great Britain.

 Lastly, Pool D was played in Miami, Florida, and contained teams from Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Dominican Republic, Israel, and Nicaragua.

While this has been a controversial topic, players have expressed their love for this tournament this year. “It’s hard to sum up into words what these last couple of weeks have meant to me. I had the time of my life representing the country I love playing the game that I love. I took pride in wearing that USA on my chest and I hope it showed. We left it all out there and although we came up a little short I’d do it again in a heartbeat.” Said Mike Trout, captain of team USA.

Some fans have expressed their dislike for the tournament because they don’t want their favorite MLB players to get hurt during the tournament. Some call it “meaningless baseball” however, as shown by Trout this tournament means a lot to players. On the other hand, injuries have occurred during the W.B.C. which left fans in shambles. For example, Edwin Diaz the closer for the New York Mets is likely going to be out for the season due to an injury that occurred during Puerto Rico’s victory over the Dominican Republic.

As the tournament progressed, getting knocked out in the double-elimination round of play from,

Pool A was Panama, Netherlands, and Chinese Taipei, leaving Cuba as the winner and Italy as the runner-up, both teams advanced. 

Remaining in Pool B was Japan and runner-up Australia, knocking out Korea, the Czech Republic, and China. 

Pool C winner was Mexico, runner-up was the United States, knocking out Colombia, Canada, and Great Britain.

 Finally, Pool D was left with Venezuela who won the pool, Puerto Rico being the runner-up, knocking out the Dominican Republic, Israel, and Nicaragua.

The tournament was filled with some dramatic moments including the semifinals, and championship games. One of the semifinal games ended in nail-biting fashion with team Japan defeating Mexico in a close 6-5 game. However, the championship game brought an intensity like no other. Which in turn brought a lot of attention to the game of baseball.

Ending in dramatic fashion with fan favorite, Los Angeles Angels star pitcher/DH, Japan’s captain, Shohei Ohtani pitching to Angels teammate Mike Trout. Captain to captain, Ohtani was pitching to Trout with two outs in the top of the ninth inning with nobody on base and Japan up by one run. This was the situation baseball fans would dream about, with a 3-2 count Ohtani struck out Trout on an 87-m.p.h. pitch to secure Japan’s third victory in the World Baseball Classic Championship game.