The 2006 World Baseball Classic gave a lot of exposure to players coming from different countries. Creating the World Baseball Classic was a brilliant idea. It’s been fifteen years since we witnessed the first World Baseball Classic taken place. Team Japan won the tournament by defeating Cuba.
A lot of people thought Team USA would win it all. They had Alex Rodriguez, Ken Griffey Jr, Derek Jeter, etc. But in this tournament, no one is unbeatable on any given night. Team USA along with Puerto Rico, Mexico, and Venezuela, were eliminated in the second round. The Dominican Republic lost to Cuba in the semifinals, Japan defeated South Korea in the semifinals and defeated Cuba 10-6 to win the championship.
Daisuke Matsuzaka, who wasn’t too known at the time, made sure that MLB would recognize who he is. He was phenomenal for Team Japan in the tournament. He was crowned the Most Valuable Player of the tournament. His performance led to him signing with the Boston Red Sox and capturing a World Series championship.
The first year of the World Baseball Classic turned out to be a success. A lot of merchandise and attendance crowds were higher than expected. Hiram Bithorn Stadium, which is located in San Juan, Puerto Rico, was sold out for every Puerto Rico game in the first two rounds. Now that’s dope!
We are looking forward to the next World Baseball Classic, which will probably be in 2023.