More Than Just America’s Pastime

Lily Collard, Media Chief

Baseball, the game created and popularized within the United States, struggles to maintain its status as a global sport. The World Baseball Classic, or WBC, challenges this reputation by bringing together nationalities and countries around the world to watch America’s pastime. 

Besides America, baseball has a strong hold in Japan. This love for the sport originated when the American Army was stationed in the country after World War II. Today, Japan enjoys its own popular baseball league, and pushes out talent to the Major League Baseball such as some of the best players in the league. Some of these players include Shohei Ohtani, Yu Darvish, and Seiya Suzuki. 

In the WBC, the pools included countries from 5 continents, and 20 countries. Two powerhouse teams proved to be the projected winners at the beginning of the tournament: Japan and the United States. The United States’ lineup featured some of the best players in the world, ranging from Mike Trout, to Mookie Betts, and even Kyle Schwarber. The American team did, however, lack an all-star pitching roster due to fear of injury. 

Japan’s pitching squad included two of the best in the Major League, Shohei Ohtani and Yu Darvish, this set them apart fast as clear competitors with the offensive heavy American team. Other Latin American teams also participated, and even though baseball is a life force in countries such as Venezuela, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic, they weren’t tough competition for Japan and the United States. These countries generate young talent frequently, as most major league teams have camps and schools to surround children with baseball from a young age. 

The final was between the two best projected teams in the tournament, Japan and the United States. The final score was 3-2, Japan won. With a good batting rotation and the closing of Shohei Ohtani on the mound, Japan clearly looked like the better team. 

The Japanese team was also fun to watch and easy to root for because of their pride in the game they played. Although the game in Japan is the same as within the United States, the Japanese take a different, kinder approach. Also, because most of the players on the Japanese team exclusively play in Japan, it allowed fans to see players they would never be able to watch in the Major League. 

Although I think MLB is trying to create a FIFA World Cup equivalent to baseball, a sport without much global popularity, the World Baseball Classic was a fun tournament to watch this spring and will be back in 2026.