Team USA took home its first World Baseball Classic title after routing Puerto Rico 8-0 Wednesday night.
Pitcher Marcus Stroman, an ace for the Toronto Blue Jays during the regular season, was voted tournament MVP. He had previously debated whether or not he should pitch for Puerto Rico, since his mother was born and raised there.
While many MLB superstars didn't join the WBC team, second baseman Ian Kinsler said the experience was "beyond my expectations. It was crazy. I loved it."
WATCH | Here's the team's postgame celebration.
Kinsler had been at the center of a minor controversy after commenting on how the Latin American players celebrated big plays and wins.
"I hope kids watching the WBC can watch the way we play the game and appreciate the way we play the game, as opposed to the way Puerto Rico plays or the Dominican [Republic] plays," Kinsler said. "That's not taking anything away from them. That just wasn’t the way we were raised."
Many saw this as a condemnation of raucous celebrations, which Kinsler denied.
I play with a little more emotion than most players during the season. Everybody has their own style! That's all I was saying.
Baseball has an unwritten "code" that frowns upon raucous celebrations.
Kinsler later told ESPN that he meant he liked how the WBC let fans of different nationalities see players from their home nations and learn to emulate them.
Ian Kinsler's accountant-like demeanor rounding the bases on that home run is going to draw kids to baseball by the tens.— Jay Jaffe (@jay_jaffe) March 23, 2017
When Kinsler launched a home run in the WBC, fans were quick to poke fun at his reaction.
I swear to god if Ian Kinsler so much as accepts a high five after the homer— Chris Towers (@CTowersCBS) March 23, 2017
It definitely added a little fuel to the fire ... each and every guy kind of put that on their shoulders.
USA players said they got additional motivation by knowing Puerto Rico planned to fly straight home to a parade on Thursday. Puerto Rico was a heavy favorite, having outscored its opponents 55-18 before being thumped by USA.