By Abhiveer Singh
The World Baseball Classic (WBC) is an international baseball tournament that brings together teams from all over the world to fight for the title of world champion. The first tournament took place 17 years ago, in 2006, and since then it has become an important event in the baseball world. The tournament takes place every four years, and many countries that create their roster by picking the top players from their professional baseball teams, see it as an important opportunity to showcase their talent to the world. Sixteen teams from different parts of the world participate in the tournament. The teams are divided into four pools, and the tournament is played in a round robin, where the two best teams from each group advance to the next round.
The tournament is played in various locations around the world, which helps increase its popularity and accessibility. This year, the Tokyo Dome in Japan, LoanDepot Park in Florida, Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium in Taiwan and Chase Field in Arizona hosted the tournament. With its unique format, international reach and passionate fan base, the World Baseball Classic has earned its place as one of the most well-known events in the world of baseball.
Artwork by Sabeena Ramdarie
Various teams come from all across the world to participate in the World Baseball Classic.
Many fans have expressed concern about the timing of the tournament, which takes place just before the start of the MLB season.
“I think while the tournament is important, the MLB season is very important, and playing in the tournament puts these players at risk of injury,” junior Gordon Mun said.
Given that it is on an international scale, WBC is all the more competitive, and players often give it their all on the field. This can lead to injuries that affect or prevent the performance of athletes in the MLB season. For example, New York Mets closing pitcher Edwin Diaz tore his patellar tendon after celebrating Puerto Rico’s win in a WBC game.
“I can’t really blame Edwin for wanting to support his country in the tourney. He had to have some type of prior injury for the celebration to have torn the tendon,” sophomore Cameron Conroy said.
“Even though the WBC is an important event in the baseball world, I don't think players should attend because they can get hurt,” junior Christopher Diep said.
“I think they should participate to practice more, but they should play more carefully to reduce the chance of injury,” junior Vincent Jiang said.
Like many other sports events, the WBC was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The tournament, originally scheduled for 2021, had to be postponed due to the virus. The decision to postpone the WBC was made in March 2020, as the pandemic had just started to emerge in many parts of the world. With countries implementing strict lockdowns and travel restrictions, it was clear that hosting the tournament was unrealistic. This year marked the WBC’s return.
Japan clinched the 2023 WBC after defeating USA in a record-breaking final. Many pundits predicted that team USA, with some of the biggest names in baseball, would dominate the tournament and secure its fourth WBC title. However, Japan's skillful play eventually led them to victory. The final against the USA proved to be a true test of Japan's mettle, with both teams putting up valiant efforts. However, Japan eventually won 3-2. For Japan, the win is a testament to their history in baseball and a reminder of their reputation as one of the most talented teams in the world. For the United States, it was a disappointment in what was expected to be a victorious campaign. However, the tournament showcased the incredible talent and passion of players from around the world, which is what makes the WBC one of the most prestigious events in all of baseball.