World Baseball Classic Offered Something No Other Sport Could
The World Baseball Classic ended the way all baseball fans hoped it would. Shohei Ohtani was pitching against Mike Trout with a one run lead and the championship on the line. Los Angeles Angels players, the two best players in the sport, were head-to-head with everything on the line.
This is what made the World Baseball Classic great, and really, it is what makes baseball great.
Baseball is the most unique of sports. It is thoroughly a team sport, but it is continuously highlighted by head-to-head match-ups. The pitcher against the batter. The catcher trying to gun out the base stealer. The speedy runner against the arm of the infielder or outfielder.
This is something unique to baseball, which outside of boxing, really can’t be replicated by the other sports.
The two best quarterbacks in the game are never directly head-to-head. The 1980s were highlighted by the match-up for Larry Bird and Magic Johnson, but again, this was rarely head-to-head. And even in the rare occasion it did, there were double teams and team defense at play.
Hockey often sees the best against the best, and it is something that did happen when NHL players participated in the Olympics. However, it wasn’t solely one-on-one. For example, aside from a contrived shootout, we will never see teammates going head-to-head the way Ohtani and Trout did in the finale of the World Baseball Classic.
All told, baseball can deliver moments like no other sport could ever imagine. While other sports can try to make it happen in some way, this happens in baseball due to the greatness and uniqueness of the sport. Because of that, we were able to see a moment we will talk about for generations to come. It was a moment that launched the World Baseball Classic into another stratosphere and will help the event grow exponentially in future years.
Remember, baseball is the greatest sport there is. We saw that with Ohtani against Trout. We will see similar moments in the future which will only further prove this to be the case. We were all lucky to watch the moment, and we will be lucky to see future great moments like this in the future that only baseball can deliver.