Shohei Ohtani Mar 20, 2023; Miami, Florida, USA; Japan designated hitter Shohei Ohtani (16) runs toward second base after hitting a double during the ninth inning against Mexico at LoanDepot Park. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

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.

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.

Chicago Cubs pitcher Marcus Stroman joked, “Give Ohtani a billion dollars. Mythical unicorn god on the baseball field!”

[Timothy Burke]

About Arthur Weinstein

Arthur spends his free time traveling around the U.S. to sporting events, state and national parks, and in search of great restaurants off the beaten path.