Major League Baseball had plenty of moments that fueled our fandom in 2023, from the new rules to the Texas Rangers’ World Series title to everything Shohei Ohtani did. Here are the top 10 moments of 2023.
Shohei Ohtani steals the show, shatters salary records
Honestly, half the moments on this list could’ve come from Shohei Ohtani. Beyond that climactic WBC strikeout, there was his trade-deadline intrigue, his two homers and 1-hit shutout on the same day, his season-ending UCL tear and his second unanimous MVP win, all leading up to arguably the most anticipated free agency in MLB history.
The culmination of all of that made for the most shocking moment, when his outrageous, unprecedented, surprising and ultimately deserved contract with the Dodgers was revealed to the world: 10 years, $700 million. Ohtani won’t see $680 million of that money until after the contract is over, but the record-shattering number will be a baseball memory from 2023 that sticks for many. — Jack Baer
New rules lead to more basestealing than ever
In the 10th inning of a late September game against the Chicago Cubs, Ronald Acuña Jr. did what everyone was expecting and broke for second base. The throw was, as usual, too late, giving the soon-to-be unanimous NL MVP the first 40-homer, 70-steal season in MLB history (it was also the first 30-60 season ever). Acuña hoisted the bag above his head in celebration as the fans at Truist Park applauded their star.
Acuña’s achievement was a good moment for baseball and highly reflective of a trend MLB hoped to spur this season. Rule changes implemented for 2023 – including larger bases and restrictions on pick-off moves, among other things – made it easier than ever to steal bases, and Acuña led the charge as MLB runners as a whole went from 2,486 stolen bases in 2022 to 3,503 in 2023. — Baer
Ohtani strikes out Trout in WBC thriller
It was the stuff of Hollywood endings. After a pandemic-induced, five-year hiatus, the World Baseball Classic returned in March to a record throng of raucous fans celebrating dramatic moments like it was October. Spring training this was not.
After 18 teams had been eliminated and eight-plus innings between finalists Team Japan and Team USA…