The ending to the 2023 World Baseball Classic couldn’t have been scripted any better.
Japan’s best player, Shohei Ohtani, on the mound facing Team USA’s best player, Mike Trout, his teammate with the Los Angeles Angels. Ohtani throwing 100 mph smoke, Trout swinging and missing, then digging in again.
It played out like a scene from a movie, with Ohtani ultimately striking out his teammate to save Japan’s 3-2 win in the championship game. Want another look at the classic moment? Here’s how the ending played out on the Japanese broadcast.
AS CALLED ON JAPANESE TV: pic.twitter.com/g2KcTBua4B
— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) March 22, 2023
This was incredible drama to end an exciting tournament. Ohtani won MVP honors, thanks to a .435/.606/.739 slash line that included four doubles, a homer and 10 walks. On the mound, he posted a 1.86 ERA and 11 strikeouts in 9 2/3 innings.
Everyone already knows Ohtani is an incredible player, but his great WBC performance, capped by his showdown against Trout, makes his star shine brighter than ever. Some fans scoffed when predictions surfaced last year that he might be the first $500 million free agent in baseball history. Now that figure seems entirely reasonable if he enters free agency after the 2023 season.
MLB players, fans and others shared their awe of Ohtani after his WBC heroics.
Give Ohtani a billion dollars. Mythical unicorn god on the baseball field!
— Marcus Stroman (@STR0) March 22, 2023
It is my opinion that Shohei Ohtani is the best to ever play baseball. Others will disagree, but this is where I stand.
— Cole Douglas Claybourn (@ColeClaybourn) March 22, 2023
Ok so what team is giving Shohei Ohtani a billion dollars
— Jeremy Layton (@JeremyLayt0n) March 22, 2023
Shohei Ohtani hit an infield single at 115 mph and beat it out by running at elite speed.
Then he recorded the save by pumping 102 with a wipeout slider to none other than Mike Trout.
In case you need a reminder that Shohei Ohtani is the best, like, ever.
— Ryan Morik (@RyanMorik) March 22, 2023
Ruth was without question a better hitter. But no one — including Ruth — has dominated baseball as a two-way player like Shohei Ohtani has over the past few seasons.
— Noah Hiles (@_NoahHiles) March 22, 2023
NOBODY ELSE HIT A BALL HARDER OR THREW A PITCH HARDER THAN SHOHEI OHTANI DID, THE ENTIRE WBC
LET THAT SINK IN
— Sarah Langs (@SlangsOnSports) March 22, 2023
Bragging rights forever. Shohei Ohtani is a living legend. Congratulations to Japan. pic.twitter.com/X5kW3RtaqS
— Jared Carrabis (@Jared_Carrabis) March 22, 2023