Last night, a Trea Turner Grand Slam powered the United States to a quarterfinal win at the 2023 World Baseball Classic against Venezuela. Now, with a semifinal matchup looming against Cuba, the United States has some momentum, and a new World Baseball Classic hero.
The Trea Turner Grand Slam
In the quarterfinal matchup, the United States squandered an early 3-0 lead as the American pitching, the teams Achilles Heal, struggled to contain a powerful Venezuelan lineup. Heading into the 8th inning, team USA found themselves starring at a 7-5 deficit and were quickly running out of at-bats.
To help get the team to the 9th, team Venezuela turned to MLB veteran Jose Quijada. Quickly, fans could tell that Quijada looked a bit off. Tim Anderson started the inning with a walk before pinch hitter Pete Alonso singled to right. After J.T. Realmuto was hit by a pitch, the stage was set for the Trea Truner Grand Slam.
Despite some accuracy issues, Turner quickly found himself in an 0-2 hole. Unfortunately for Venezuela, a hanging off-speed pitch hung over the middle of the plate for just a second, before finding a home far past the left field fence. The Trea Turner Grand Slam gave the United States a lead they wouldn’t relinquish and 6 outs later, the defending champs found themselves back the semi-finals.
Understanding the Lineup
While Team America pitching has frequently been mentioned as the likely culprit of ending the WBC for the Americans, the lineup is simply one of the best baseball lineups ever constructed. With multiple MVPs filling out the roster, Turner knew that even in an 0-2 count, Quijada would still likely challenge him.
Pitching around Turner would have simply set the stage for the dangerous duo of Mike Trout and Mookie Betts to deliver the crushing blow. As a result, Turner was in a situation where he could still sit back and capitalize on the hanging off-speed pitch.
The Cultural Impact
Following the unfortunate injury to Edwin Diaz, many fans and analysts in the United States have been discussing the future of the World Baseball Classic, and wondering if it makes sense for players to risk injury on the International stage while putting their regular season status at-risk. Even in this electrifying game, Team Venezuela and Houston Astros superstar, Jose Altuve, went down with what it believed a fractured right thumb, making it very likely he misses a decent chunk of MLB games to start the season.
One reoccurring theme amongst WBC detractors has been the supposed lack of energy or interest amongst American baseball fans and a believed lack of interest amongst American athletes. For instances, many have pointed to the absence of top American pitchers as proof that the best potential Team USA roster could never be assembled and that American players simply do not care.
Just looking at the faces of Team USA players following the Trea Turner Grand Slam, and his post game comments, it’s hard to maintain the argument about lack of passion. After the game, Turner was quoted saying “I feel like I blacked out” and how it was the biggest hit he ever hit while mentioning how it was the loudest crowd he’s experienced as a baseball player.
Seeing the passion and energy displayed by the American shortstop, it’s hard the argue that it is a “meaningless” game. While for some, the World Baseball Classic is nothing more than a dangerous exhibition the Trea Turner Grand Slam certainly helps fuel the arguments of the WBC supporters.
Where do you rank the Trea Turner Grand Slam in baseball history? Let us know in the comments below!