Team USA is on to the World Baseball Classic semi-finals! The host country and defending champs knocked out Venezuela in their semi-final matchup, advancing to the next stage in the tournament. USA won thanks to Philadelphia Phillies star Trea Turner’s booming grand slam in the eighth inning to put them over the edge. After the game, Turner talked about why the WBC feels more special than the MLB, per Bob Nightengale.
“We’re in America, but it doesn’t mean we’re the home team,’’ Phillies’ Turner said. “I think it’s kind of fun. I think it’s kind of nice. Refreshing. Different. I think that’s why a lot of guys want to play in this tournament because it’s not a normal 162 or a postseason. It’s just different. It’s hard to put in words, just different.’’
The WBC has gotten a lot of criticism over the last few days from MLB fans after injuries to some of the best players. These critics (mostly found on Twitter) argue that the offseason tournament is meaningless. These complaints have gotten louder over the last few days, especially after star closer and noted Phillies tormentor Edwin Diaz suffered an ACL injury recently.
Despite all of the injuries, though, the players seem invested into playing for their home country in the WBC. Turner’s expression after hitting that grand slam says it all: the Phillies star was hyped up, with Turner admitting that “it’s the most I’ve ever yelled on a field.’’ His teammates shared the same sentiment during the game as well.
Trea Turner (along with fellow Phillies stars Kyle Schwarber and JT Realmuto) will compete for USA as they move on to face Cuba in the semi-finals of the WBC. On the other side of the bracket, Team Mexico will clash against Japan. Which country will take home the crown this year?