In the 2023 World Baseball Classic, it became crystal-clear that the sport is in very good hands.
Mike Trout and Trea Turner dominated for Team USA, Salvador Perez and Anthony Santander did the same for Venezuela, Randy Arozarena and Juan Soto were brilliant for Mexico and the Dominican Republic, and more.
We can go on with other key players.
However, none of them dominated the stage like Team Japan and Los Angeles Angels star Shohei Ohtani did.
His impact went beyond the stats: Ohtani was always there for Japan when he was needed.
They needed a dominant start?
Check: he had a 1.86 ERA, a 0.72 WHIP and 11 strikeouts.
They needed a thumper in the lineup?
Check: Ohtani had eight RBI and a 1.345 OPS as a hitter, with nine runs scored.
They needed to close out the tournament’s best offense, the United States, in the ninth inning of the final game?
Check: he tossed a scoreless frame and struck out Trout.
He was a true hero and more than worthy of the MVP trophy.
Here are some of his best plays:
Shohei Ohtani dazzled in the 2023 World Baseball Classic 🤩
Take a look back at his top moments from the tournament 🇯🇵 pic.twitter.com/76JfgP35Fe
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) March 27, 2023
Ohtani is more than numbers.
He is a show, he offers hope for his fellow countrymen, and he is a role model for kids all around the world.
He always has a smile on his face, and he is very, very competitive.
He is the embodiment of the game’s values and traditions.
And he is one cool dude.
Hopefully, he can help his Angels make the playoffs this season for the first time since 2014.
After the World Series, he will become a free agent and will make a lot of money.NEXT: Angels Manager Perfectly Sums Up The Trout-Ohtani Showdown