Reflecting on My Experience Attending The World Baseball Classic
I cannot believe it’s already been a week since the World Baseball Classic ended. It was the best thing that has happened for baseball in a very long time, and I am lucky to be able to say I was able to attend 4 WBC games, including the final. I know I can speak for many other baseball fans when I say that the World Baseball Classic made me appreciate and love this sport more than I ever have before.
Being able to experience the World Baseball Classic in person is something I will never forget, and I can undoubtedly say was the best baseball experience of my life. I was fortunate enough to travel to Arizona and Florida to watch World Baseball Classic games.
Overall I was able to attend 4 World Baseball Classic games:
Great Britain vs USA
Mexico vs USA
Canada vs Mexico
Japan vs USA
I made it a point while at each of those games to take a few seconds, look around the stadium, and just soak in the moment. Listen to the noise of the cheering fanbases. Embrace the energy. Recognize the pride these fans have for their country. Acknowledge how the players performed representing their country across their chest. Appreciate what it really meant for ME to be there and having this unique experience.
There were a few specific moments during these games that really stood out to me, where I really appreciated the moment.
At USA’s game against Great Britain, I remember during the national anthem seeing the star players of MLB lined up outside the dugout, all representing the United States of America. I was just thinking how incredible it is to watch all of these guys playing together for this country. Then of course, the continuous “USA” chants throughout the game sent chills throughout my body. Every. Single. Time.
The next night was USA/Mexico, and that atmosphere was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before. Considering the ratio of Mexico/USA fans was probably 70/30 Mexico fans, we had quite a different experience than the night before. Even though USA got their ass kicked, being able to see firsthand the passion Mexico fans had rooting for their country is nothing you would ever experience in the US watching MLB games. The chants didn’t stop the entire night, even outside of the stadium they were still partying and celebrating their win. Yes it did suck USA lost the game, but at that point it was probably the coolest experience I’ve ever had attending a baseball game… until the WBC Final.
Yeah call me crazy, whatever. Just a few days after I returned from a 9 day vacation in Arizona, I made a very spontaneous decision to fly down to Miami for the WBC Final between USA and Japan.
My thought process was, “When am I ever going to be able to see a USA team this stacked, filled with stars, in the WBC Final. And of course facing off against Japan, who obviously I never will be able to see again (other than the next WBC or I go to Japan). I just couldn’t pass up this opportunity to see these two teams play against each other for the WBC Final.
Just gotta live your life right? Anyway, we walked into the game right before the national anthem started. Walking in to a full stadium, the players lined up on the foul lines, with every country’s flag being displayed on the field, I was speechless. I think I might get this picture printed and made into a poster. It's perfect.
I keep talking about the “atmosphere” of all these games and I know I’m being redundant. But whoever got to experience these games knows exactly what I’m talking about. I’ve been to postseason games, but I really believe these games felt different than MLB postseason games. Something about fans coming together and rooting for a country as a whole. Star players competing together who you never see on the same side.
Everyone knows what happened throughout the game so I don’t have to talk about innings 1-8, but I am going to talk about the 9th inning. Remember before when I said there were a few specific moments during these games that really stood out to me?
Well, you know where I’m going with this. Shohei Ohtani on the mound, one out away from a World Baseball Classic championship. Mike Trout comes to the plate.
Before the tournament even started, if you asked everyone, “If you had to write a perfect ending to this tournament, what would it be?” Every single person would say Ohtani vs Trout.
When Trout walked up to the plate, this was one of those points where I made sure to look around, soaking in the moment, pinching myself to make sure this is real life. Every single person in the stadium was on their feet. The best two players on Earth, who are also teammates (!!) facing each other, for the last out of the World Baseball Classic FINAL!
And of course, the count gets to 3-2, and Shohei Ohtani strikes out Mike Trout in the most perfect ending imaginable. You couldn’t have scripted a better ending to such an incredible few weeks of baseball.
I was disappointed USA lost, but that only lasted for the first few seconds after the strikeout. Being able to witness Japan celebrate a World Baseball Classic championship right in front of my eyes was an unbelievable experience. There were a bunch of Japan fans surrounding us in the stands too. I couldn't help but smile and just appreciate the moment. On the car ride home I rewatched the final out countless times. A perfect pitch from Shohei Ohtani, the swing and miss from Trout, and then Ohtani throwing his glove and hat as he waits to be swarmed by his teammates, as a loud roar erupted from the crowd in Miami.
Like I said before, and I will continue to say it for a very long time, this was the best baseball experience of my life. I would encourage every baseball fan to make it a point to attend a WBC game in 2026. Make the trip, wherever it is. It’s worth it.