The World Baseball Classic has gotten mixed reviews among fans, but Los Angeles Angels star Mike Trout has been enjoying himself with Team USA.
"This is the funnest experience I've had on a baseball field," Trout said, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. "To represent your country, it's been a blast. Obviously, there's risk involved. [But] you're still playing baseball in spring training. For me, being part of this atmosphere, it's special. It means a lot to me. I knew going in it was going to be a fun time. I never knew it was going to be this fun."
The normally reserved Trout showed his emotion after helping the United States earn a 3-2 win over Colombia on Wednesday:
The outfielder drove in all three runs on three hits to help Team USA clinch a spot in the tournament's quarterfinal.
Trout is used to a high level of production during his career, winning three MVP awards with 10 All-Star selections, although team success has mostly eluded him at the major-league level. His only playoff appearance came in 2014 and his team was eliminated in a three-game sweep.
It makes the latest high-stakes tournament a more unique experience for Trout.
Meanwhile, the comments from such a high-profile player serve as an endorsement for an event that has earned plenty of criticism. New York Mets closer Edwin Diaz is expected to miss the season after suffering a knee injury at the World Baseball Classic, creating question marks about the risk involved in a non-MLB competition.
From Trout's perspective, however, the experience is worth the gamble.