When the World Baseball Classic started in 2006, it was seen as another version of spring training by some.
Even most fans considered it as such.
That sentiment has been changing through the years, as the event grows.
No, it’s nowhere near perfect, but it’s safe to say that the Classic has grown to the point in which it is a meaningful event for players and fans.
We see players celebrating a home run and doing huddles in the dugout.
We see pitchers pumped after a big strikeout.
And, most importantly, we see max effort from players and high levels of excitement from fans.
Stadiums are mostly full or close to it, and the atmosphere in the bleachers and the seats is amazing.
Fans talk about the Classic in regular conversations and on social media.
It’s definitely growing.
Go tell Japan and Los Angeles Angels star Shohei Ohtani that representing his country is just another spring training game.
The guy just threw harder than he ever has in the majors in Japan’s quarterfinals victory against Italy on Thursday.
“Why is Shohei Ohtani out here throwing a harder fastball (102.0 MPH) than he ever has in his MLB career in a MEANINGLESS tournament? smh I am NOT enjoying watching the most talented player ever perform for his home crowd nope not at all this SUCKS,” Cespedes Family BBQ tweeted with more than a little bit of sarcasm.
why is Shohei Ohtani out here throwing a harder fastball (102.0 MPH) than he ever has in his MLB career in a MEANINGLESS tournament? smh I am NOT enjoying watching the most talented player ever perform for his home crowd nope not at all this SUCKS pic.twitter.com/rh0V7MT451
— Céspedes Family BBQ (@CespedesBBQ) March 16, 2023
Ohtani was named the MVP of his Pool in the first stage, and means business: he is taking the tournament very seriously, as are most players.
The 2023 WBC will probably go down as the best one yet, and represents a solid foundation to build for the future.NEXT: Shohei Ohtani Put Together A Solid Performance Against Italy