World Baseball Classic is at-bat


ilovemypit | Wikimedia Commons

Josias Fernandez

The World Baseball Classic began this March, uniting millions of passionate fans to witness a competition of the best baseball teams from around the globe.

The WBC usually occurs every four years, but the pandemic delayed the anticipated competition in 2021 and forced it to be rescheduled for March 2023.

Since its introduction in 2006, there have been four iterations of the classic with three different countries being crowned champions. Japan won the first two editions of the WBC, and the Dominican Republic won the third in 2013. The reigning champions, the U.S. national team, won in 2017.

Team Japan has established themselves as favorites to win their third WBC championship early with its high-scoring offense and pitching depth.

The Dominican Republic is undoubtedly another favorite to win the WBC this year, with almost all of its roster comprised of established MLB stars such as Juan Soto, Sandy Alcántara and Manny Machado.

But the U.S. team possesses a dynamic offense, with a lineup reminiscent of a MLB All-Star game.

Pool play in the 2023 WBC has already lived up to the six years of anticipation.

Japan’s Shohei Ohtani has been tremendous on both sides of the field, leading his team to a dominant 4-0 record in pool play with several lopsided victories in front of a home crowd at the Tokyo Dome.

The U.S. team started with fireworks against Great Britain, cruising to a 6-2 victory in its first game of the WBC. But the team’s pitching hit a roadblock in its subsequent game, allowing 15 hits in an 11-5 loss against Mexico.

The breakout team of the tournament so far has been Venezuela, defeating the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, two teams that were tournament favorites and had given Venezuela trouble in the past.

This winter, the Dominican Republic won the Caribbean Series against the host team Venezuela.

Venezuela had a 0-4 record against the Dominican Republic in its previous WBC meetings before its 5-1 victory in its first game of the tournament.

The U.S. team, as the defending champion, has all the ability to repeat its victory in 2017, but must prove that it has the best and most talented baseball talent in the world.

This will require the U.S. team to come head-to-head with MLB talent on teams such as Puerto Rico, Venezuela and the Dominican Republic.

Fans are speculating a matchup with the latter may take place in the championship game. If so, the Dominican Republic must prove why it was picked by many to win this year’s long-awaited WBC.