World Baseball Classic

Team USA celebrating their World Baseball Classic championship in 2017  Photo Source: WRUF

Team USA celebrating their World Baseball Classic championship in 2017 Photo Source: WRUF

Jacob Marcos

Every four years, an international baseball competition is organized called the World Baseball Classic (WBC). In a celebration of the sport, it features teams from all over the world competing against one another. With millions of viewers tuning in to watch the games, the tournament is a huge occasion in the baseball realm.

The 2023 World Baseball Classic ran from March 8 to March 23, with the championship game taking place on March 21. The previous four tournaments occurred in 2006, 2009, 2013, and 2017. This was the tournament’s fifth iteration.

The best 12 teams from the 2017 competition automatically qualified for the 2023 event, which featured 20 teams from around the world. The 20 teams split into four groups of five teams each, with each team competing against the other teams in its group in a round-robin fashion. In the second round, the top two teams from each group competed in a double-elimination style (MLB).


The semifinals consisted of Cuba vs US and Japan vs Mexico. Japan barely defeated Mexico in a tight 6-5 matchup, and the US won by a close margin of 3-1. Both teams would meet at LoanDepot stadium with 1,306,414 fans in attendance, making it the highest attended World Baseball Classic game since it started in 2006. This also marked a +20% increase over the previous mark in 2017 (Dodger Blue). Ramapo baseball player Aidan Hayward shared, “I think it’s great for the sport to get a lot of new fans like how soccer does with the World Cup every four years. I know baseball is not the biggest sport in the US right now, so seeing this many fans may bring more attention to the sport”

The competition promised to be an exciting display of baseball prowess from around the globe. The defending champion was Team USA, who captured its first-ever WBC championship in 2017. They were ensured to have a great matchup against consistent contenders in Japan who have the best player in the MLB, Shohei Ohtani. Ohtani is only 28 years old and he is one of the most dominant pitchers in the league as well as a top slugger. If it weren’t for Aaron Judge’s historic hitting season, Ohtani would have been safe of winning back to back MVP awards (ESPN). Ramapo and Indian Hills teacher Mr. Touhy stated, “Growing up in New Jersey and being a huge fan of Yankees, I want to say Aaron Judge is the best in the league,but Ohtani is a monster. He is a top hitter and pitcher so that is hard to compete with.”

Ohtani got to pitch his last out of the championship against his teammate from the Los Angeles, Mike Trout, who is arguably the only player in the league who can challenge Ohtani for the top spot. Japan celebrated and fans erupted after Trout, the three-time American League MVP, was struck out on a 3-2 batting count, giving Japan the 3-2 victory. Ohtani was unsurprisingly named MVP of the tournament after batting an average of .435 with two wins and a save as a pitcher. This was Japan’s third title in five editions of the tournament (USA Today).

Team Japan celebrating after a well deserved 3-2 victory over the United States, giving them their third title Photo Source: CNN