celebrate Group Japan’s victory more than Group Cuba in the 2006 Planet Baseball Classic championship game.Getty Photos

1 of the original brains behind the Planet Baseball Classic says he and the organizers of the international tournament under no circumstances intended the occasion to be a 1-and-completed showcase of elite baseball talent.

“This was not anticipated to be a 1-off,” says Bob DuPuy, the former Important League Baseball president and chief operating officer. “(The 2006 WBC) was the inaugural version that would evolve as we discovered about it, and discovered what worked.”

Now, nearly two decades immediately after the 2006 version — which ended with Japan winning the championship game against Cuba — the 2023 Planet Baseball Classic is producing lots of excitement and patriotic fervor, not to mention renewed criticism.

From TeamTISI USA’s dramatic come-from-behind victory more than Venezuela to propel the Americans into the ‘23 semifinals against Cuba, to the public outcry more than injuries to stars like Edwin Diaz and Jose Altuve, there is no shortage of debate as to the tournament’s pros and cons.

But all any person has to appear at is a quote like the 1 from Group USA’s Trea Turner to see that the players treat the WBC with the similar pride and passion as the MLB postseason.

“It was a massive homer. It was entertaining,” Turner, the Phillies’ shortstop, told Fox immediately after his eighth-inning grand slam place the Americans ahead for superior in their quarterfinal game against Venezuela. “That’s why we’re playing. That is why we’re right here. Just back and forth all day. It was unbelievable.”

major of the 8th inning throughout the 2023 Planet Baseball Classic quarterfinal game amongst Group USA and Group Venezuela.Getty Photos

Altuve fractured his suitable thumb in the similar game against Group USA, immediately after acquiring plunked by a Daniel Bard fastball, and the Astros second baseman is out indefinitely. Whilst Altuve’s injury came throughout game action, Diaz suffered a freak injury celebrating Group Puerto Rico’s victory more than the Dominican Republic. Diaz, the Mets’ $102 million closer, sustained a torn patellar tendon and is anticipated to miss the complete 2023 MLB season.

In spite of the social media rebuke following Diaz’s and Altuve’s injuries, the WBC games continue to draw capacity crowds and some of the sport’s most significant stars — Angels teammates Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani represent Group USA and Group Japan, respectively.

DuPuy says that when the original WBC plans had been discussed, 1 of the most significant hurdles to clear was securing the Players Association’s approval on a number of fronts, offered the tournament would take spot suitable in the middle of spring education.

“The 1 concern was when to have it (staged), and what influence it would have on big league rosters and spring education,” says DuPuy. “Owners and players and the union had been legitimately concerned about the danger of injury. But I assume absolutely everyone rallied about the concept that this was a constructive for the international exposure and development of the sport. The players and union embraced the idea. (Former MLBPA executive) Gene Orza played a quite active part all through.”

When the players had been onboard, DuPuy says the WBC organizers had the superior fortune of stars like Hall of Famers Derek Jeter and Chipper Jones, and Ichiro Suzuki signing up to play for their nations.

“We had had a lot of good results with all-star tours in Japan,” says DuPuy. “We had been attempting to make some inroads into China. We thought of Asia to be a mature baseball industry, and clearly Latin America. We also believed getting the potential to have a Cuban group participate would be a true draw.”

DuPuy remembers traveling to Tokyo for the Pool A play — which featured China, Taiwan, Japan and South Korea — and writing weblog entries for MLB.com, which was nonetheless in its infancy. “The Tokyo Dome was packed,” says DuPuy. “The Korea/Japan game was a monster.”

Japan won each the 2006 and 2009 WBC tournaments, although the Dominican Republic was crowned WBC champs in 2013 and Group USA won it all in 2017.

“No query, the players deserve huge credit for getting prepared to step out of their routine and do some thing diverse, modify education,” says DuPuy. “I assume the players have embraced it, and I assume they are enthusiastic, treat the WBC seriously inside the constraints of the guidelines and structure.

“Our fans have the luxury of seeing the very best players in the globe 162 games a year amongst the 30 teams,” adds DuPuy. “Initially, for Japanese fans, Korean fans, the European fans, Latin American fans, they got to see these players go against the very best players in globe in this kind of format, and that was quite thrilling. I assume the WBC has completed that, and that the interest only continues to develop.”

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I am an award-winning sports investigative reporter who spent 16 years at the New York Every day News, and who has written for ESPN, USA These days, NBC News, The Athletic, New York Post, Newsday, New York Occasions, Philadelphia Inquirer and Washington Post. I am also the co-author of two books and have my personal podcast, “Stories with Street CRed.”

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