Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
The 2023 World Baseball Classic reached a conclusion last week, with Team Japan earning an exciting 3-2 win over the United States in the championship game to capture the gold medal.
This year’s installment of the international tournament was the most successful yet, with multiple attendance, viewership, merchandise and social media records being set.
More importantly, the WBC was a major hit among the players who participated, including those who represented the Los Angeles Dodgers. David Peralta said it was one of the best experiences he has been a part of, and Austin Barnes and Mookie Betts both praised the event as well.
Will Smith, who was part of the Team USA roster with Betts, hopes to play for the country again during the 2026 WBC, per Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic:
Will Smith said he’d love to be part of the World Baseball Classic again in 2026. Said that as the U.S. collected its silver medal, they collectively said they’d run it back in three years.
— Fabian Ardaya (@FabianArdaya) March 23, 2023
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred announced the next WBC will be played in 2026. The tournament usually takes place every four years, but it will be held one year earlier to avoid a potential conflict with the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) set to expire after the 2026 season.
Smith was among the first-time participants in this year’s WBC. He split catching duties with J.T. Realmuto and went 3-for-10 with a home run in three games.
In addition to Smith, Team USA captain Mike Trout has already verbally committed to playing in the 2026 WBC. Smith also indicated that many players on the United States roster have expressed interest in running it back in three years.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts rooted for Team USA in WBC championship game
Although he was born in Japan, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts revealed he was rooting for Team USA in the WBC championship game. That was likely due to Betts and Smith being part of the roster, whereas no Dodgers players played for Japan.
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