America’s Pastime Turned Worldwide

WBC Trophy from 2013. Photo courtesy of Geoff Livingston on Flickr.

In the world of sports, there are many that have originated in a certain part of the world or that are more popular in a specific country or region, but there is one in particular that is known as “America’s Pastime.” That is the sport of baseball. The game between a wooden stick and a leather ball that draws some of the biggest crowds in sports. Every four years Major League Baseball (MLB) holds a tournament between 20 countries called the World Baseball Classic (WBC).   

According to Forbes, “Attendance for the tournament totaled 1,306,414 making it the highest-attended World Baseball Classic since it was started in 2006.” This statistic is talking about its in-person attendance at the actual games. As far as those who tuned in to their television for the games, Forbes says “In the U.S., the WBC championship game was the most-watched WBC game of all-time. The game pulled a combined average viewership of 5.2 million across FS1, FOX Deportes, and FOX Sports.” 

This event occurs just once every four years like the World Cup. What makes this event so unique is that baseball is not typically seen as the most popular sport in every country; however, teams from a variety of countries are proving that misconception wrong in WBC. For example, in Mexico, soccer is the most popular sport; however, it had a team in the World Baseball Classic that made it to the semifinal game before losing to Japan. 

The fan bases for every country showed out at each of their teams’ games, making all of these countries come together to earn the pride and respect from others and to see who is the best in the world at the sport of baseball. 

Second-year business major Emilio Moretti said, “I am not a big baseball fan, but since I am from Mexico of course that is my team and that is who I want to win. My family has had all of the games on in our house and it has been very exciting to watch this team play and do so well in each game.” 

In the end, the final matchup was between Japan, who went into the game with a 4-0 record, and the United States, who had a 3-1 record with their only loss coming from Mexico. It was a battle until the end, but ultimately Japan came out on top and won 3-2, claiming the title for the third time in history. 

There was a moment  at the end of the ninth inning between two teammates of the Los Angeles Angels. This moment was between Japan’s Shohei Ohtani on the mound and the United States’ Mike Trout at the plate, arguably the two best players in the entire sport of baseball currently facing off for the first time. There were two outs and full count, and Ohtani sealed the deal for Japan with an 83 mph slider that got Trout to swing right through it and send the U.S. players back to their regular MLB teams for the remainder of Spring Training.

First-year business major Chase Hunting said, “With my family being from Japan and me being 40% Japanese, I was hoping Japan would win even though I do live in the U.S. and barely know any of the players that play for Japan. I think it is a really cool event to have and I wish it came more than every four years.” 

Hunting’s outlook on the tournament offers insight to a decision the MLB Commissioner could look into when planning the next WBC. 

The different outlooks from those of different cultural backgrounds and sport or no-sport backgrounds goes to show the impact this event has had on the world. 

Second-year business major Ethan Clark said, “To watch a superteam get formed to represent our country in the sport of baseball is really cool to see and is good for the sport of baseball and its fans.” 

While a superteam may have been formed in Clark’s words, only one team could come out on top. Japan took this one, but the MLB season is right around the corner. 

Written By: Trevor Gould