After multiple tries at the World Baseball Classic, Team USA brought home the trophy — and bragging rights for the next four years — after beating undefeated Puerto Rico on March 22, 8–0.
The WBC is held every four years between national teams from the USA to Japan, Dominican Republic to Cuba. The tournament lasts roughly two weeks. There are two rounds in which the top two teams of that pool advance to the semifinal and championship games.
In the previous three WBCs, Team USA never made it past the semifinals, which they reached only once, losing to Japan in 2009. However, this year, general manager Joe Torre felt things were different, that this was Team USA’s year.
“I’m excited to be involved again,” Torre told the media in 2016. “I had a taste of international play in 2013 and was disappointed that we didn’t advance further. I’m going to do everything I can to build the right team and take us to the next level.”
Action for Team USA started in Miami against Colombia and ended with a walk-off single from Adam Jones of Team USA in the 10th inning. Although Team USA had a tough loss after blowing a five-run lead to the defending champions, the Dominican Republic, they bounced backed against Team Canada and punched their ticket to the second round in San Diego.
The second round got off to a rough start as Team USA dropped a close one to Puerto Rico. They were then to face Team Venezuela and win the next two games to advance to the semifinals.
After two long homers from the Orioles’ centerfielder Adam Jones and the Royals’ first baseman Eric Hosmer, Team USA found themselves in a rematch and a do-or-die game with the Dominican Republic.
Team USA and the Dominican Republic battled it out in a sold-out Petco Park in downtown San Diego, leading to a huge win for Team USA. The win over the DR advanced Team USA to the semifinals for the second time in WBC history where Japan was waiting for them in Los Angeles.
On a cold, rainy night, Japan and Team USA battled a pitching duel for a chance to play in the championship game. As the game entered the seventh inning, it was tied at one point apiece.
Team USA had runners at first and second with just one out. Adam Jones came up to the plate and hit a ground ball to the third basemen, who dropped the ball, allowing a runner to score.
Team USA closed it out in the remaining second inning and were lifted to the championship game where they would take on Puerto Rico.
Team USA got off to a hot start and continued to run away with the game, beating the favored Puerto Ricans 8–0 and winning their first WBC Championship.
Professional baseball players such as Miguel Cabrera (Venezuela), Adam Jones (USA), Jose Bautista (Dominican Republic) and Yadier Molina (Puerto Rico), all played in the World Baseball Classic to represent their respective countries and play for world recognition.