March 21, 2023 11:28 pm

celebrate Group Japan’s victory more than Group Cuba in the 2006 Planet Baseball Classic championship game.Getty Pictures

One particular of the original brains behind the Planet Baseball Classic says he and the organizers of the worldwide tournament never ever intended the occasion to be a one particular-and-carried out showcase of elite baseball talent.

“This was not anticipated to be a one particular-off,” says Bob DuPuy, the former Significant League Baseball president and chief operating officer. “(The 2006 WBC) was the inaugural version that would evolve as we discovered about it, and discovered what worked.”

Now, just about two decades immediately after the 2006 version — which ended with Japan winning the championship game against Cuba — the 2023 Planet Baseball Classic is creating a lot of excitement and patriotic fervor, not to mention renewed criticism.

From TeamTISI USA’s dramatic come-from-behind victory more than Venezuela to propel the Americans into the ‘23 semifinals against Cuba, to the public outcry more than injuries to stars like Edwin Diaz and Jose Altuve, there is no shortage of debate as to the tournament’s pros and cons.

But all any one has to appear at is a quote like the one particular from Group USA’s Trea Turner to see that the players treat the WBC with the similar pride and passion as the MLB postseason.

“It was a huge homer. It was entertaining,” Turner, the Phillies’ shortstop, told Fox immediately after his eighth-inning grand slam place the Americans ahead for great in their quarterfinal game against Venezuela. “That’s why we’re playing. That is why we’re right here. Just back and forth all day. It was unbelievable.”

leading of the 8th inning for the duration of the 2023 Planet Baseball Classic quarterfinal game involving Group USA and Group Venezuela.Getty Pictures

Altuve fractured his correct thumb in the similar game against Group USA, immediately after finding plunked by a Daniel Bard fastball, and the Astros second baseman is out indefinitely. Though Altuve’s injury came for the duration of game action, Diaz suffered a freak injury celebrating Group Puerto Rico’s victory more than the Dominican Republic. Diaz, the Mets’ $102 million closer, sustained a torn patellar tendon and is anticipated to miss the complete 2023 MLB season.

In spite of the social media rebuke following Diaz’s and Altuve’s injuries, the WBC games continue to draw capacity crowds and some of the sport’s largest stars — Angels teammates Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani represent Group USA and Group Japan, respectively.

DuPuy says that when the original WBC plans had been discussed, one particular of the largest hurdles to clear was securing the Players Association’s approval on quite a few fronts, offered the tournament would take location correct in the middle of spring coaching.

“The one particular concern was when to have it (staged), and what effect it would have on key league rosters and spring coaching,” says DuPuy. “Owners and players and the union had been legitimately concerned about the threat of injury. But I consider absolutely everyone rallied about the thought that this was a constructive for the international exposure and development of the sport. The players and union embraced the notion. (Former MLBPA executive) Gene Orza played a really active function all through.”

When the players had been onboard, DuPuy says the WBC organizers had the great fortune of stars like Hall of Famers Derek Jeter and Chipper Jones, and Ichiro Suzuki signing up to play for their nations.

“We had had a lot of achievement with all-star tours in Japan,” says DuPuy. “We had been attempting to make some inroads into China. We regarded as Asia to be a mature baseball industry, and certainly Latin America. We also believed obtaining the capacity to have a Cuban group participate would be a actual draw.”

DuPuy remembers traveling to Tokyo for the Pool A play — which featured China, Taiwan, Japan and South Korea — and writing weblog entries for, which was nevertheless in its infancy. “The Tokyo Dome was packed,” says DuPuy. “The Korea/Japan game was a monster.”

Japan won each the 2006 and 2009 WBC tournaments, although the Dominican Republic was crowned WBC champs in 2013 and Group USA won it all in 2017.

“No query, the players deserve huge credit for becoming prepared to step out of their routine and do a thing distinctive, modify coaching,” says DuPuy. “I consider the players have embraced it, and I consider they are enthusiastic, treat the WBC seriously inside the constraints of the guidelines and structure.

“Our fans have the luxury of seeing the finest players in the planet 162 games a year amongst the 30 teams,” adds DuPuy. “Initially, for Japanese fans, Korean fans, the European fans, Latin American fans, they got to see these players go against the finest players in planet in this sort of format, and that was really thrilling. I consider the WBC has carried out that, and that the interest only continues to develop.”

Adhere to me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website. 

I am an award-winning sports investigative reporter who spent 16 years at the New York Everyday News, and who has written for ESPN, USA Now, NBC News, The Athletic, New York Post, Newsday, New York Instances, Philadelphia Inquirer and Washington Post. I am also the co-author of two books and have my personal podcast, “Stories with Street CRed.”

Study MoreRead Significantly less