Shohei Ohtani (29, LA Angels) started and Ohtani finished. The 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC) was truly a tournament for Ohtani. 

On the 22nd (Korean time), in the 2023 WBC Finals against the United States held at Rondipo Park in Miami, Florida, USA, Ohtani took the mound as the team’s last pitcher at the end of the 9th inning, striking out the last batter Mike Trout (32) with a swing and striking out the team’s victory. 3-2 victory and Japan’s victory. 

From start to finish, the WBC was dominated by Ohtani. Ahead of this tournament, the WBC newly established the ‘Ohtani Rule (a rule that allows Ohtani to play as a designated hitter even after the starting pitcher is replaced)’, which allows Ohtani to show off his dual sword style, and gave him strength, and Ohtani, as expected by the WBC, won the tournament. While preparing for the double job of pitching, he drew interest and topics from baseball fans. 

The start of Japan’s WBC was also Ohtani. Ohtani pitched as a starting pitcher in Japan’s first match against China and showed ‘Toutani (pitcher Ohtani)’ first, and then entered the plate as a batter and fully demonstrated the aspect of ‘Tatani (batter Ohtani)’. In the match against China, Ohtani became a scoreless winning pitcher with a perfect pitch that allowed only one hit in 4 innings, and also played a big role by hitting 2 hits at bat. 

On the 10th, Ohtani, who had two hits in the match against Korea, also hit his first home run in the match against Australia on the 12th. Fans who expected Tatani’s performance were enthusiastic as he fired a large 3-pointer with a distance of 120m and an exit speed of 182km/h. Ohtani, who started again in the quarterfinal match against Italy on the 15th, allowed a run, but became another winning pitcher by throwing 2 runs in 4 and 2/3 innings. At bat, he was responsible for the team victory with one hit and two runs. 

From the semi-finals, I literally wrote drama. In the semifinal match against Mexico held on the 21st, Ohtani, who entered the plate as the lead batter at the end of the ninth inning, which was 4-5, laid the foundation for a dramatic come-from-behind victory by knocking out a double. While running from 1st base to 2nd base, the Japanese national team players woke up when he saw him throw off his helmet and run at full speed.  토토사이트

And the finals that followed. Ohtani splendidly decorated the ending of the drama. Initially, it was unclear whether a pitcher would pitch after the semifinals to prepare for the major leagues, but he took the mound from the bullpen at the end of the ninth inning to protect the team’s victory. On the mound with a 3-2 lead, Ohtani walked leadoff batter McNeil, but double-dealed Mookie Betts to catch his breath. 

Ohtani, who wrote a manga-like drama, was voted MVP of the tournament. Ohtani, who played in 7 games and scored 0.435 (10 hits in 23 at-bats), 1 home run, 8 RBIs and 9 runs, tied for the most hits and runs scored in the tournament and won the MVP award. His performance as a pitcher was also excellent with 3 games, 2 wins (undefeated), 1 save, an average ERA of 1.86 (2 runs in 9 and 2/3 innings) and a WHIP of 0.72. MVP, of course, belonged to Ohtani. 

Ohtani started and Ohtani finished. Where else can you find a drama like this? Ohtani created a drama suitable for Japan’s third championship and the first coronation ceremony in 14 years.