6 Best Moments From the 2023 World Baseball Classic

Lead Photo: MIAMI, FLORIDA - MARCH 12: Silvino Bracho #56 of Venezuela throws a pitch during the ninth inning against Puerto Rico at loanDepot park on March 12, 2023 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - MARCH 12: Silvino Bracho #56 of Venezuela throws a pitch during the ninth inning against Puerto Rico at loanDepot park on March 12, 2023 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)
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The 2023 World Baseball Classic was an absolute success for baseball across the globe. And with upsets happening, unexpected teams showing up with everything they had, and fans coming out in droves, this World Baseball Classic is one for the history books. 

Even though Japan ultimately took home the ultimate prize, beating the United States in a thrilling 3-2 victory in Miami on Tuesday night (March 21), Latin American countries left their mark on the tournament. Through their talented players and their fervor for the game, there was an undeniably Latine presence throughout the tournament that spoke of respect and passion for the sport.

And whether it was exhilarating plays, touching moments, or just being really good at baseball, we’ve put together a list of the best moments, well, at least 6 of them, from the 2023 World Baseball Classic.


Puerto Rico’s Perfect Game

When the ball came off of Enrique Hernandez’s bat to score Puerto Rico’s 10th run of the game, it triggered the “10-run mercy rule,” ending the game. The part that made this extraordinary is that Puerto Rico’s pitching staff had a perfect game going. No runs, no hits, and no baserunners allowed. While not a “9-inning perfect game” by definition, the game was over and the perfect game was intact. 


Duque Hebbert Plays Himself Into An MLB Contract

Nicaragua had a difficult time in the 2023 WBC, losing their first three games and ultimately being relegated, which means they have to requalify for the 2026 WBC. That did not stop Duque Hebbert from showing his ability to the world, however. The 21-year-old stepped on the mound and boldly struck out some of the biggest hitters in the world like Juan Soto, Julio Rodriguez, and Rafael Devers. Just hours after the game was over, the Detroit Tigers offered him a major league contract. How can you not be romantic about baseball?


Venezuela Upsets Everyone

If you asked most experts which Latin American countries had the best rosters, everyone would tell you that it was Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. Venezuela obviously took this personally and really stepped it up. Venezuela proceeded to beat both Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, proving that baseball in Venezuela is top-notch and something to look out for.


Joey Meneses Giving Everything for Mexico

Mexico’s unprecedented performance in the 2023 World Baseball Classic took them only one run away from shocking the world and making it to the Championship game. After losing their first game to Colombia, it looked like Team Mexico’s journey in the World Baseball Classic was going to be short because they had to face USA’s vaunted roster. That’s where Joey Meneses comes in. Meneses hit two home runs in a rout of the US team. This jumpstarted Mexico’s momentum and they never looked back until Japan, the eventual World Baseball Classic champions, were able to squeak by them.

For Meneses, he cemented his reputation as a big game player.


Rio Gomez Honors His Late Father Pedro

Pedro Gomez was an ESPN baseball reporter and one of the world’s most renowned baseball journalists. He tragically passed away in 2021. His son, Rio is a player in the Boston Red Sox system and a pitcher for Colombia. Six years ago, his father Pedro predicted that Rio would eventually pitch for Colombia in the World Baseball Classic. In 2023, Rio made his father’s wish come true and pitched nearly two scoreless innings while doing so. His proud mother in the stands only made this moment more meaningful.


Randy Arozarena Electrifies With Play In The Field

Randy Arozarena has proven his reputation as a big-game player his whole career. His passionate play and knack for timely hits helped propel Mexico within a few outs of the World Baseball Classic championship game. Between his timely hits and incredible catches, like the one featured below when facing Puerto Rico, Arozarena was also constantly signing autographs in the outfield for the fans. Arozarena is a perfect example of why Latino players make this sport so much fun to watch.

What were your favorite moments of the 2023 World Baseball Classic?