World Baseball Classic
WBC Trending Roundup: Mike Trout's joy, Shohei Ohtani's gift, Ford's surprise
World Baseball Classic

WBC Trending Roundup: Mike Trout's joy, Shohei Ohtani's gift, Ford's surprise

Updated Mar. 14, 2023 8:07 p.m. ET

The 2023 World Baseball Classic has provided several incredible moments on and off the field as pool play heads towards its conclusion — including a unique perfect game, some surprise gifts and a moment of joy for one of baseball's biggest stars.

The tournament has also provided some incredible moments of exposure for previously little-known players like Nicaragua pitcher Duque Hebbert, who was awarded a contract with the Tigers after striking out three MLB superstars from the Dominican Republic, or Harry Ford, a Mariners prospect who powered Great Britain to an upset win over Colombia and became a hero back home for it.

[WBC Daily: Team USA breaks out, a perfect game, an incredible inning]

Here are some of the best moments from the past few days of the World Baseball Classic.


Mike Trout is having ‘the time of his life’

One of the biggest subplots for Team USA entering the 2023 WBC was that Angels superstar Mike Trout was not only participating in the tournament for the first time, but recruiting other MLB stars to the team as its captain. After a relatively quiet first two games, Trout crushed a three-run home run to cap off a nine-run first inning in USA's crucial 12-1 bounce-back win over Canada — then told FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal afterward that he is having the time of his life in the WBC.

Mike Trout speaks with Ken Rosenthal after the USA defeats Canada, 12-1

[FOX Sports Insider: World Baseball Classic stakes feel greater than ever before]

"Just the group of guys, the atmosphere, the coaching staff, just everything that comes along with it — It's been unbelievably fun," Trout said. "It's special to put the USA across your chest and go out there to play for your country."

The Japan-Czech Republic friendship

The incredible story of the Czech Republic baseball team — the vast majority of whom are amateur players who have ordinary day jobs — captured the hearts of observers all around the world. That includes Pool B's biggest star (and eventually its MVP), Japan's Shohei Ohtani. The two-way superstar not only paid respect to the Czech team on his Instagram but also received a gift from Ondrej Satoria, the pitcher who struck Ohtani out when they faced each other.

Satoria, who works as an electrical technician in his day job, presented Ohtani with his white Czech jersey signed by every member of his team, which the 2021 American League MVP happily accepted.

That was not the only gift exchanged between the two teams. Japan pitcher Roki Sasaki gave two bags of candy to a Czech batter he accidentally hit with a pitch during their game.

The good tidings extended to manager Pavel Chadim, who extended his gratitude towards Japan's hospitality and the atmosphere in a packed Tokyo Dome.

And though the Czech Republic is saying goodbyes to the WBC after finishing fourth in Pool B, it will be a "see you later" as the team officially qualified for the 2026 World Baseball Classic.

Japan congratulates Australia

Japan's dominance behind a stacked roster featuring Ohtani was expected, but few anticipated Australia joining them in advancing to the quarterfinals out of Pool B. Yet that's exactly what happened — and Japan fans happily celebrated Australia's accomplishment.

Here come the British!

Great Britain won its first-ever World Baseball Classic game Monday and did so in style as the underdog British players pulled out tea-drinking celebrations and a home run crown in their upset victory over Colombia. Even their fans got in on the royal fever!

Closer Ian Gibaut recorded the save in the win despite having to do so in a slightly malfunctioning jersey.

And Harry Ford, the 20-year-old whose crucial home run helped seal the win, is already inspiring the next generation of English baseball enthusiasts.

What a moment for the Gomez family

Plenty of families are seeing their dreams realized when their relatives take the field at the World Baseball Classic, but few came as full circle as the Gomez family did when Rio Gomez took the mound for Colombia at Chase Field on Tuesday. Gomez grew up in Arizona as his father Pedro became one of the most successful bilingual baseball journalists in sports media. 

Pedro died at his home in Phoenix in Feb. 2021 due to a sudden heart attack. 13 months later, his widow Sandi — who was born in Colombia — was in attendance as their son tossed a scoreless inning for her home country against Canada.

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