World Baseball Classic Recap

Things To Do

Photo courtesy of MLB.com.

And just like that, it's over. Today, March 30th, is Opening Day for Major League Baseball, marking the end of a fast and furious six weeks of spring training. 40-man rosters have been set and the teams around the Grapefruit League have jetted off to their respective big league homes across the country.

Amidst these six weeks was the World Baseball Classic, which returned for the first time since 2017. The international tournament was filled with plenty of drama, some of which has serious implications for MLB’s regular season. New York Mets All-Star closer Edwin Diaz, regarded by many as the best reliever in baseball and the offseason recipient of a five-year, $102 million contract, is likely out for the season after suffering a full thickness tear of the patellar tendon in his right knee. The injury was one of the more notable freak accidents in recent baseball history – Diaz suffered the tear during a post-game celebration after securing the win for Puerto Rico over the Dominican Republic.

Another All-Star, Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve, suffered an injury that will cause him to miss extensive time. Altuve, representing Venezuela in the tournament and a key piece for the reigning world champion Astros, will require surgery on a fractured right thumb after being hit by a pitch while playing a game against team USA.

These injuries to some of the sport’s biggest stars raise the age-old question: is it really worth potentially jeopardizing playing time in the regular season for a chance to represent your country? There doesn’t seem to be one correct answer–for some, the tournament was a chance to flourish in front of an international crowd and for others it proved detrimental to their seasons.

Even still, there was plenty of fun to take away from the action. Team USA, led by Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Trea Turner – who inked an 11-year, $300 million deal with the team this past offseason–mashed their way to the championship game against Japan. Turner, who slugged a WBC record-tying five home runs, was joined by his Phillies teammates Kyle Schwarber and JT Realmuto in the United States lineup. Despite the United States’ offensive prowess, they fell short to the incredibly talented Japan–the final blow a game-ending strikeout of Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout by fellow superstar and Angels teammate Shohei Ohtani.

Photo courtesy of MLB.com.

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