The World Baseball Classic: The next Olympics?


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PANAMA CITY, PANAMA – OCTOBER 01: A general view of World Baseball Classic signage during Game Four between Team Argentina and Team Panama at Rod Carew National Stadium on October 1, 2022 in Panama City, Panama. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/WBCI/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

The next best worldwide event is back in just a few short weeks, and it’s just the thing we need. With the NFL season just ending, sports aficionados are forced to look for new things to watch because let’s be honest, the NBA is a joke at this point, college basketball is pretty much dead until March Madness, and anyone with Netflix has already finished watching Full Swing. On top of that, baseball fans specifically have been waiting since October for their baseball to be back, and now it is. Most of all, the entire world is involved in this spectacular baseball showcase, so who would not watch?

When thinking about global sporting events, there are only a handful: the Olympics, the FIFA World Cup, the Little League World Series, and my point of focus, the World Baseball Classic. When there are a plethora of different countries competing in a tournament, it adds nationalism to the game. The players are all competing for their countries, not just a team signing a contract, and the fans get to cheer on their nations with more fanaticism. Since players in the MLB come from many different countries, you could see them playing with other players from the same country that could be one of their main rivals in the MLB, or they could be playing against a teammate of theirs, which could add some differing forms of competitiveness, and hopefully induce some laughs.

The tournament is set up in a round-robin format, the five teams in each of the four pools playing each other between March 8 and 15. The top two teams from each pool move on to the quarterfinals. Each round after that is then single-elimination, which means the winning team has to completely win out to be victorious. Currently, the Dominican Republic is the favorite for the WBC, but the countries that I will personally be watching out for are Japan, Puerto Rico, and the United States. The United States is coming off of a big win last time around in 2017, knocking out Puerto Rico in the championship. However, the Dominican Republic has overtaken the United States on Fox Bet as the number one favorite. While it may be the favorite, I still see Japan, led by Shohei Ohtani, Puerto Rico with many MLB stars, and the United States, led by none other than baseball’s golden boy, Mike Trout, taking the top three over the Dominican Republic.

In about a month, we will see what nation will be crowned, and when it is the team filled with the MLB’s best from the United States, do not be surprised.