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Covering the World Baseball Classic brings baseball to a whole new level for an aspiring sports broadcaster like myself. Experiencing a sell out crowd of more than 35,000 fans for both semifinal games and the championship game makes me love the game of baseball even more! On a world stage, the greatest showed up from Shohei Ohtani to Mike Trout to Trea Turner. It was a dream come true for the players too.

"It has been an amazing experience to be able to wear the jersey and represent the USA," Orioles All-Star Cedric Mullins. "It’s a great honor and something that you definitely don’t take for granted."

The WBC truly is the Olympics of baseball. An element that makes this tournament even more special is the fact that before all of the games, the enormous flags of the countries take up the entire outfield, firing up tens of thousands of fans cheering for their home countries.

Team USA went on to dominate in their semifinal matchup, winning 14-2 led by Trea Turner’s two-homer game. The following night, a memorable second semifinal game between Japan and Mexico was highlighted by a walk-off RBI double from Japan’s Munetaka Murakami to punch Japan’s ticket to the championship game.

After electric semifinal games, the championship game between Team USA and Team Japan was on a whole new level. Pregame festivities featured Team USA’s Captain, Mike Trout, and Team Japan’s Captain, Shohei Ohtani, holding their country’s respective flags and marching their teams onto the field from their bullpens. Trea Turner gave Team USA the early lead with a solo shot (his fifth home run in this WBC, tying Seung Yuop Lee for most home runs in a single tournament), but Japan gained the lead soon after. It was only fitting that the last out in the game came down to Trout vs. Ohtani—two future Hall of Famers—Angel vs. Angel. On a 3-2 count, Ohtani struck out Trout on a nasty slider to give Japan their 3rd WBC title (2006, 2009, and 2023) and first one in undefeated tournament play!

When I asked Ohtani, the tourney MVP, what it was like to be a role model for so many young baseball fans throughout the world, he said, “To the next generation, I hope they want to play baseball and have fun.” The entire 2023 World Baseball Classic tournament was definitely filled with a lot of fun!

What made the night even more memorable was being able to still talk with players from both teams even after the outcome. From All Star Trea Turner to Gold Glove winner Nolan Arenado to WBC breakout star Lars Nootbaar, the post-championship memories are ones that I will never forget.

Lars Nootbaar, WBC star from Team Japan, summed up the game and the growth of the World Baseball Classic.

"3-2 count, 9th inning, Shohei on the mound and Mike Trout at the plate. It doesn’t get any better than that," Nootbaar said. "Benji, the manager of Mexico said it best last night: 'Baseball won.' I think baseball won tonight again."