World Baseball Classic: Excitement returns for baseball fans

Photo courtesy of World Baseball Classic.

Photo courtesy of World Baseball Classic.

Zach Moreth, Copy Editor

It is finally that time of year. Not only is Major League Baseball (MLB) in the midst of spring training, the World Baseball Classic (WBC) has also made its return in the sports world after a six year drought. For those who are uninformed, the WBC as I like to say is essentially the Olympics for baseball. 

Players from 20 countries fill up rosters from their hometown and compete against each other to see who is the best. According to NBC sports, the WBC started in 2006. It then resumed play in 2009, 2013, and 2017. Throughout those four years, it has been Japan (2006, 2006), the Dominican Republic (2013), and the United States (2017), who have been crowned champions. 

The next WBC was originally supposed to take place in 2020 but as we all know, Covid-19 kind of ruined that  … but regardless, the WBC has finally made its return in 2023. 

According to ESPN in 2013, the WBC received 32% more American viewership, with 2.3 million viewers on MLB Network to watch the final. 

Due to such a high rise in viewership, MLB executives anticipate bigger American viewing audiences for the 2023 WBC with games available on Fox, instead of MLB network. Another advantage for the WBC is the location of games. They split the 20 teams into four “pools” or divisions, and each pool plays at a specific sight. For example in pool C, the United States is joined by Columbia, Mexico, Canada, and the United Kingdom. All of these games are played at Chase field in Phoenix, Arizona. 

Pool A is played in Taichung, Taiwan, pool B plays in Tokyo Japan, pool C in Phoenix, Arizona, and pool D is played in Miami, Florida. By spreading out the locations across the world, I believe it gives the WBC the best shot to bring as much attention as possible to the game of baseball. 

To make it even more interesting, after about a week of pool play, the champions and runner-ups from each pool are selected to move onto the quarterfinals. After the quarterfinals, the top four teams will play each other in Miami to determine who will face off in the championship. 

As an avid baseball fan I’ve never really been able to enjoy the WBC because it’s been so long since I’ve seen one, but being able to watch such talented players put on for their home country is extremely entertaining. Thankfully because of the different locations there are games throughout basically every time slot of the day, which makes it even easier to watch one of the games at some point in the day.

As for my personal predictions, through Sunday March 12, I think that Japan will face the Dominican Republic in the WBC championship and that the Dominican Republic will be crowned winners. My explanation results in the fact that the Dominican Republic has nine starters that all play in the MLB. While you could say the same about rosters like team USA, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela, I think there is an evident gap between the talent of each roster (this could go terribly wrong).

Some of the best in the game like Juan Soto, Vladimir Guerrero Jr, Manny Machado, and Jose Ramirez all will be competing for the Dominican Republic and I believe that’s all I should need to explain as to why I think they will find so much success.