Four World Baseball Classics have been held, and every but one baseball-loving nation considers them to be must-see events. The American team has finally assembled a roster of megastars, including MVPs, Gold Glove winners, and others.
The 2013 champion Dominican Republic has consistently used star players including four-time All-Star Dellin Betances and eight-time All-Star Robinson Canó. With its elite athletes, such as All-Star pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka and 10-time selection Ichiro Suzuki, Japan has won twice.
Mike Trout, the center fielder for the Angels, served as the impetus for Team USA to attract that star power this year. Trout was convinced to participate in the World Baseball Classic for the first time by Team USA general manager Tony Reagins, the former Angels general manager, and the foundation for a team filled with A-list athletes.
From then, it just continued to grow as a result of the discussions we had with other competitors, competitors who had previously participated in the event, and their experiences.
Trout, who was named Team USA’s captain last July, assisted in assembling a roster that includes two-time home run derby champion Pete Alonso, 2018 American League MVP Mookie Betts of the Dodgers, 2022 National League MVP Paul Goldschmidt, two-time NL MVP Bryce Harper (who will not compete due to elbow surgery), two-time All-Star Tim Anderson, and several other players with individual accolades.
The American roster also includes Trea Turner, a former teammate of the Dodgers, and catcher Will Smith. Japan first won the competition in 2006, and they repeated as champions in 2009.
At Dodger Stadium in 2017, the US defeated Puerto Rico to win the championship. The 2021 competition was postponed until 2023 because of COVID-19. The competition starts on March 8 and the championship game will be held in Miami on March 21.
The manager of the Angels, Phil Nevin, said that one of his best playing moments was representing the United States in the Olympics while still in college and sporting the word “USA” on his breast.
The Dominican Republic’s general manager is seven-time All-Star Nelson Cruz, who represented the nation in the first three competitions. Manny Machado, a six-time All-Star, Sandy Alcantara, the current NL Cy Young winner, and three World Series champions from 2022—Jeremy Pea, Framber Valdez, and Cristian Javier—are among the roster alternatives.
When tickets for the first round of the match in Japan went on sale, they were quickly sold out and sold for prices that were many times more than their initial cost. Furthermore, Ohtani’s Japanese manager Hideki Kuriyama has no concrete plans on when, how long, or what roles he will play.
He is debating whether to use him in his customary capacities as a pitcher and designated hitter, though. Even the participants are enthralled by the potential Trout vs. Ohtani battle that may take place if both teams make it to the final four.