Lars Nootbaar, a fan favorite in St. Louis, is returning to spring training as a champion in the World Baseball Classic.
The St. Louis Cardinals young outfielder lived out a childhood dream to play for Team Japan in the WBC, which ended in the best way possible.
The 25-year-old got a chance to celebrate with stars such as Shohei Ohtani, Masataka Yoshida, and Yu Darvish.
But as the 2023 regular season nears and the Cardinals prepare to begin yet another exciting year of baseball, Cardinals fans are hoping for more.
On Twitter, one fan expressed his desire for Team Japan’s celebration to not be the last time Nootbaar celebrates a championship in 2023.
Hopefully this isn't the last time Nootbaar is a world champion this season. #STLCards pic.twitter.com/2pGaGnEs9A
— Rinedog (@Rinedog1) March 22, 2023
Every Cardinals fan is hoping the same thing.
The team has not won a World Series title since 2011 and has not reached the Fall Classic since 2013.
The only holdover remaining from either of those teams is veteran starter Adam Wainwright, who was also around when the team won it all in 2006.
Last season, Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado enjoyed MVP-caliber seasons, with Goldschmidt ultimately winning the race for the award in the National League.
The team won 93 games and captured their 13th NL Central division title to cap off the farewell tour for Yadier Molina and Albert Pujols.
But with several young players such as Nootbaar ready to make an impact, fans are excited to get going in 2023 and see what the team is capable of.
They’ll open the season at home on Thursday next week against the Toronto Blue Jays.NEXT: Cardinals Analyst Posts Hilarious TikTok To Sum Up WBC