LOS ANGELES, CA– Thank God for the WBC! We are actually getting a chance to see baseball games the way it should always be played.
There is no pitch clock nor are the bases the size of a pizza box. No pitcher restrictions except for innings pitched. The extreme shifts are allowed, the three-batter minimum, the universal DH, automatic runner at second base in extra innings and replay reviews are being used. So that all sounds and looks like what we have watched over the past few years.
But one of the things that is different, is the atmosphere. The beautiful colored uniforms of the teams from Latin America and the capacity sized crowds in their own costumes that celebrate the culture of their countries, loudly cheering on their teams. It has the same feel as watching a FIFA Club World Cup game!
— World Baseball Classic (@WBCBaseball) March 12, 2023
The other thing that is overwhelming obvious to the viewer, is the never ending talent and large amount of Latin players. Watching young players who have never played in the big leagues reminds me of watching rookie ball. Where you can see raw talent that will one day be on the big stage.
Example, Guillermo Zuñiga, Cartagena, Colombia. He closed out Colombia’s extra inning win over favorite Mexico, at Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona, Saturday where he threw two innings of shutout ball with multiple fastballs over 100 mph. Touching 101 and 102 mph. This 6’5”, 230 lbs 24 year old was originally signed by the Braves in 2016.
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) March 12, 2023
At 19 years old, he was one of the 12 Braves international prospects made free agents by Major League Baseball after improprieties by the Braves in their Latin American signings. He was then signed by the Dodgers in 2018. The Dodgers released him and he was signed by the Cardinals this year as a free agent. The fact that he is able to now be seen by other teams facing the best baseball players makes the WBC even more fun to watch.
I think the Cardinals may have found a diamond in the rough with Zuñiga. Who will be the next player to jump out at us as we watch the greatest game on dirt in this World baseball Classic 2023. Watch and you may find the next Latin American Super Star.
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