This week, the United States and Japan played with the World Baseball Classic (WBC) on the line.
The game finished with a 3-2 victory for Japan, but not without some late-inning drama.
Los Angeles Angels stars Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout faced each other in the ninth inning, with two outs.
It was a showdown for the ages.
Trout managed to take the count to 3-2 after taking a 100-mph fastball outside.
Prior to that moment, he had already swung through two similarly fast heaters in the heart of the zone.
Ohtani probably figured Trout was expecting another fastball, then uncorked a beautiful slider to end the turn, the inning, the game, and the tournament.
The entire world witnessed a top-notch at-bat between two teammates, friends, and competitors.
Phil Nevin, the Angels’ skipper, offered his take.
“Angels manager Phil Nevin on the Ohtani-Trout matchup: ‘I was feeling like this is the greatest game in the world. There’s no other sport, no other situation, that can create that kind of drama and atmosphere, 1-on-1, the two best players in the world. That’s what makes our game great,'” MLB insider Bob Nightengale tweeted, quoting Nevin.
Angels manager Phil Nevin on the Ohtani-Trout matchup:
"I was feeling like this is the greatest game in the world.There's no other sport,no other situation,that can create that kind of drama and atmosphere,1-on-1,the two best players in the world.That’s what makes our game great'
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) March 24, 2023
That’s the testimony of a man that is clearly in love with the game of baseball.
Fortunately, we are too, and so are millions of fans around the world that enjoyed the exciting matchup between quite likely the two best players on the planet.
Hopefully, Nevin, the Angels front office, and the rest of the supporting cast can help Trout and Ohtani reach new heights this year.
The organization hasn’t made the playoffs since 2014, but that needs to end this year.
Fans need to watch these two star-level performers at the biggest stage.NEXT: Shohei Ohtani Is Set To Shatter An MLB Record