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America’s favorite pastime is back on the headlines. In just the fourth edition of the World Baseball Classic (WBC), the United States has conquered the rest of the world’s best sluggers. It did so in more than just another convincing fashion.

Dodger Stadium will always be remembered. This is where the Americans dominated Puerto Rico with an 8-0 rout in the finals. Knuckleballer Marcus Stroman is just overwhelming on the field as he threw in 6 no-hit innings. Ironically, the 25-year old Toronto Blue Jay has done the job against a nation where his mother was born.

Winning this year’s World Baseball Classic involves more than just skill. Passion has come into play. While such approach is something that is common in sports, it is also what Major League Baseball (MLB) needs to intensify its 162-game season. Puerto Rico has shown raw emotion on their way to the championship. Even the Dominican Republic has pointed out its driving effect when they won the crown in 2013.

Ian Kinsler and Brandon Crawford may have played masterfully in the end but the road to the finals was never easy. The Americans have to eke out a 2-1 edge against Colombia during the first game. They need to outplay two-time champion Japan in the semi-finals. Then the emotions on the mound have been let out en route to the plum.

While the so-called passion has resembled more like trash-talking, it is the competitive spirit of these baseball players that drove them to unveil an emotional outburst. It can be seen when Stroman kept shouting at Puerto Rico’s dugout. Kinsler has manifested it with his two-run home run.

It is likely that emotion got the better of Puerto Rico manager Edwin Rodriguez as he over extended Seth Lugo’s time in the fifth inning. While the hurler still looks effective, he is just too tired to cope up with the Americans.

With 1,086,720 fans watching this year’s WBC, strange reactions have surfaced. For instance, the Los Angeles Angels’ Mike Trout, who is touted as the best player in MLB, has expressed his intention to hook with the US team in 2021. It is a turnaround to his decision not to play for the tournament. Passion for the game is already sinking in.