Mike Trout World Baseball Classic Mar 15, 2023; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; USA outfielder Mike Trout against Colombia during the World Baseball Classic at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Trout said it himself. His participation playing for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic was something he needed. Not just to represent his country with some of the best players in the league, but it lit a fire under him.

He wants the MLB playoffs.

“You know, I needed this,” Trout told the media on Sunday, including MLB.com’s Adrian Garro. “I needed to play in this atmosphere, I needed to experience it and be in the moment. It made me think how bad we want to get back in the playoffs. I obviously had it in ‘14, but [the WBC] atmosphere was … as a baseball fan, as a competitor, that’s where you want to play. You want to be in that moment.”

It was a side of Trout that fans hadn’t seen before. He finally was competing for something bigger than he was. He had teammates surrounding him who were able to make that dream a reality.

Trout and Team USA fell to Team Japan. His Los Angeles Angels teammate, Shohei Ohtani, led his country to victory in the, 3-2, win last week at loanDepot Park.

The matchup came down to both of them: A battle of epic proportions.

It was something out of a storybook. Two of the best players in the game. Ohtani on the mound, Trout in the batter’s box.

The competition didn’t escape them, but Trout admitted it was a fun at bat.

“It was a fun battle,” Trout recalled. “We were both competing up there. That was my first time seeing him, obviously.”

Ohtani will be a big factor in the Angels having a chance at the playoffs. The American League West could get dicey with the always-competitive Houston Astros coming off of a World Series in 2023. The Texas Rangers also put a lot of money into a team being led by two-time Cy Young Award-winner, Jacob deGrom.

The good news is, if the Angels appear to be heading toward postseason play, owner Arte Moreno said he will not be trading Ohtani — no matter the offer.

Trout loved the entirety of the tournament so much, he already verbally committed to playing in the next one come 2026.

“I already told them I am doing the next one,” Trout told Fox Sports. I am already in … Whatever they want, I’m in.”


About Jessica Kleinschmidt

Jess is a baseball fan with Reno, Nev. roots residing in the Bay Area. She is the host of "Short and to the Point" and is also a broadcaster with the Oakland A's Radio Network. She previously worked for MLB.com and NBC Sports Bay Area.