Japanese television stuck to its live coverage from Miami for almost two hours after Japan beat the United States 3-2 to win the World Baseball Classic. This was must-see viewing. Shohei Ohtani striking out Los Angeles Angels teammate Mike Trout on a pitch away to end the game was replayed repeatedly between player interviews, beer-sprayed clubhouse interludes, and the tradition of team members tossing the winning manager and players into the air. The country’s top circulating newspaper Yomiuri rolled out a special Wednesday afternoon edition for commuters, usually reserved for serious matters of state, or late-breaking election news. The headline read in Japanese: “Japan, the World's No. 1."
Shohei Ohtani emerged from the bullpen and fanned Los Angeles Angels teammate Mike Trout for the final out in a matchup the whole baseball world wanted to see, leading Japan over the defending champion United States 3-2 for its first World Baseball Classic title since 2009. Ohtani, the two-way star who has captivated fans across two continents, beat out an infield single in the seventh inning as a designated hitter, then walked down the left-field line to Japan’s bullpen to warm up for his third mound appearance of the tournament. Trout, the U.S. captain and a three-time MVP, struck out on a full-count pitch.