Team USA opened their play in the 2023 World Baseball Classic with a win 6-2 against Great Britain, and for many of the players, it was their first taste of the international tournament, including Los Angeles Angels superstar Mike Trout.
For many years, the United States didn’t care too much about the WBC, but after USA Baseball won its first championship in 2017 against Puerto Rico, the momentum for the tournament has been growing among players and fans.
Trout is now the captain for Team USA and recruited a stacked roster for the event. Along with the Angels superstar, he is joined by Mookie Betts, Nolan Arenado, Paul Goldschmidt, Kyle Tucker, Trea Turne and more stars from across the league.
The expectations are high, and they have one goal in mind: to win the gold medal.
“I think the whole main reason we’re here is to win this thing,” Trout said. “I mean, all the other stuff is great, being able to play with each other, get to know each other a little bit more. But there’s only one thing on our mind, trying to win this whole thing.
“There’s a lot of great countries out there that have a lot of great teams, but I think that’s the real reason I signed up. I’m trying to win this thing and there’s nothing else. Anything else is a failure”
The Dominican Republic team has been considered the favorite to win, but they suffered a surprising defeat against Venezuela in their opening game, which puts them in must-win territory moving forward. Team USA was just behind the Dominican Republic but they are now ahead and considered the favorite.
The biggest thing that may hold USA Baseball back is its pitching staff, which lacks elite-level arms overall. 41-year-old Adam Wainwright leads the rotation and he is followed by Nick Martinez, who is set to start against Mexico in their second game.
Mike Trout regretted not playing in 2017 World Baseball Classic
Trout considered playing for Team USA in 2017 but ultimately decided against it for various reasons. However, after watching the event, he regretted sitting out of the tournament and decided he would play if he ever had the chance again.
“Just the whole atmosphere and it looked like they were having so much fun,” Trout said. “I mean, I’m always having fun on the baseball field, but when they were out there making plays and winning, I think that’s what I regretted.
“I should have been out there. I wanted to do it and then I didn’t want to do it. I was kind of up in the air about it. But I just wanted to be a part of it. And I thought it was a special moment for them when they won it and now I get an opportunity to be a part of it.”
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