During the Major League All-Star Game event in July of last year, surprising news was delivered. Mike Trout (LA Angels), who is considered the best hitter in the major leagues, has declared that he will participate as the US representative in the 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC).
When Trout, who boasted a three-time MVP career, decided to captain the U.S. national team by claiming to be ‘Captain America’, the top stars of the major leagues gathered one by one.
Mookie Betts (LA Dodgers), Paul Goldschmidt (St. Louis), Trey Turner (Philadelphia), Nolan Arenado (St. Louis), Pete Alonso (New York Mets), Jeff McNeil (New York Mets), Ryan Presley (Houston Astros), etc. A team that could be seen was formed.
Looking at the lineup that the U.S. pulled out in the quarterfinals, where they defeated Cuba 14-2 on the 19th (hereafter Korean time), my heart becomes magnificent.
Superstar Betts and Trout came out as batters 1-2, Goldschmidt and Arenado, who jointly hit 65 homers and 218 RBIs in St. Louis last year, and Kyle Schwaber, the home run king (46) in the 2022 season, formed the center line.
Turner, the protagonist of the slugging home run against Venezuela in the quarterfinals, came on as the ninth hitter. McNeil, who ranked first in the major league batting average last year (0.326), and Cedric Mullins (Baltimore Orioles), who achieved 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases in the 2021 season, appeared as pinch hitters and substitute runners, respectively.
It is known that the total annual salary for the 2023 season of American players participating in the WBC this year is $379 million (approximately 496.4 billion won). Their total contract size exceeds $2 billion.
On the 22nd at 8:00 a.m. in Miami, Florida, in the WBC finals, Japan’s baseball team, which faces the U.S., has Shohei Otani (LA Angels), the best star of the tournament.
Japan has also formed its own ‘dream team’ that is comparable to that of the United States. Veteran Major Leaguer Yu Darvish (San Diego) has joined Ohtani, who became a major league superstar with ‘Double Swords’. Beginning this year, Masataka Yoshida, who wears the Boston Red Sox uniform, has participated in numerous top-class Japanese professional baseball players.
Cloud crowds flocked to Japan every time they played, and Japan’s WBC match became a mega hit with a viewer rating of over 40% in Japan.
In particular, Ohtani’s popularity rose further through the WBC. Ohtani showed off his best skills in the WBC as a pitcher and hitter at the same time.
In the semifinal match against Mexico on the 21st, the lead batter double in the bottom of the 9th inning, where the team was behind 4-5, laid the foundation for Munetaka Murakami (Yakult)’s two-run double to end the game, contributing to Japan’s 6-5 victory.
In addition, Ohtani received a lot of applause for showing respect for the Czech national team, which showed excellent performance and fighting spirit despite being a baseball periphery in Group B in the first round. Superstar Ohtani received autographs from Czech players or wore a cap from the Czech national baseball team to enter the United States, drawing more attention.
The clash between Japan, led by Ohtani, and the U.S., in which major league stars start, is the best scenario the WBC organizers have drawn before the opening. 카지노
When the U.S., which was beaten by Mexico in the first round, unexpectedly advanced to the quarterfinals as the second place in Group C, the tournament was subtly changed so that the U.S. and Japan could meet in the final instead of the semifinals.
The most interesting thing is the confrontation between Trout and Ohtani, who are eating a pot of rice at the Angels.
Trout is likely to play as the second hitter. Ohtani is showing a strong determination to step out of the bullpen if needed in the finals. As he plays as the designated hitter, it seems difficult for him to time the bullpen. However, if the two players go head-to-head, it will remain as the best scene in the WBC.
Merrill Kelly is the starting pitcher for the U.S. final against the Japanese lineup, which is sophisticated and has a good line-of-sight. Kelly, who played for the SK Wyverns in the KBO League, returned to the major leagues in 2019 and threw well last year with a 13-8 record and a 3.37 ERA in Arizona.
The Japanese starter against the United States, who has no time to rest from 1 to 9, is Shota Imanaga (Yokohama), not Darvish. Imanaga, a left-handed fireballer, had a good pitching with 3 innings and 1 run in the first round match against Korea and Japan.
Depending on the situation, the starting pitchers of both teams may end up playing the role of openers. As it is the final match with no next round, it is highly likely that an all-out war will be held on the mound.
The United States and Japan have something in common besides being finalists. Both countries are serious about the WBC tournament. Trout repeats the word “I’m having fun” throughout the tournament and is so sincere about this tournament that he thinks of WBC members three years from now. Japan is also in a similar mood.
Japan is aiming for its third championship since 2006 and 2009. Following the 2017 tournament, the U.S. will challenge for a second straight WBC title.