As Team USA raised the World Baseball Classic trophy in 2017, Los Angeles Angels superstar Mike Trout felt the FOMO wash over him.
"It looked like they were having so much fun, making the plays and winning," said Trout, who was watching on TV from spring training camp in Tempe, Arizona. "That's what I regretted. I should have been out there."
The fourth World Baseball Classic was a milestone for the United States, the first time the event's host country won the international tournament. The Americans racked up iconic performances, from Adam Jones' home-run-robbing catch that sent the U.S. to the semifinal, to Marcus Stroman's six no-hit innings against Puerto Rico in the championship game that earned him MVP honors.
The victory also marked a sea of change in how American-born players view the event. Trout announced at the 2022 All-Star Game that he would compete in the WBC and serve as captain, and his inclusion started a domino effect.
"We don't get to share the field very often," said Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts, who was influenced by Trout's decision. "So to be on the same side playing with him and all the other guys, really, it's going to be a lot of fun."
For many other American players, like Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Trea Turner, the international buzz and excitement for last year's soccer World Cup -- the final drew 25.78 million viewers on Fox and Telemundo, the most watched men's World Cup match in American history -- fueled a desire to put on a Team USA jersey.
"Everybody wants a taste of that," Turner said. "If you can do it in your own sport, that's pretty cool too."
That kind of excitement has long been standard on other international squads, including among MLB players. But American players have been less enthusiastic at times.