Mad Dog Russo Crapped On The Trout-Ohtani Matchup, But Is He Wrong?

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Everybody and their mother is still talking about the epic Mike Trout vs. Shohei Ohtani showdown to end last night’s World Baseball Classic, and Chris ‘Mad Dog’ Russo has heard enough!

Russo went on ESPN’s First Take and took a big dump on the matchup, saying there was nothing “epic” about it at all.

And you know what? I don’t think he’s totally wrong. Don’t shoot the messenger, though. Be mad at Mad Dog!

Mike Trout vs. Shohei Ohtani was great on paper, but a dud on the field

Let’s start here … I loved the World Baseball Classic. Loved every single second of it. I was firmly in the ‘Stop crying about the Diaz injury’ camp last week, and I already can’t wait for 2026.

That being said, it’s all been a little much, hasn’t it? Trout struck out, never made contact, and really wasn’t all that great in the tournament.

The numbers weren’t bad — .296 with a homer — but he also struck out 12 times in 27 at-bats, which was sort of Mad Dog’s point here.

Great hitter, but he wasn’t great over the past few weeks. It happens.

Shohei Ohtani strikes out Mike Trout.
Shohei Ohtani struck out Mike Trout with ease to end the WBC. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)

Now, I don’t know that it happens as much as Mad Dog says, but if you’ve watched all the USA games over the past week you probably had a feeling Trout was going to strike out. Hell, I told my wife as he walked to the plate this game was DONEZO. True story.

Let’s be honest here, it’s not like Ohtani struck out Trea Turner, who is probably the hottest hitter on the planet right now.

USA’s captain versus Japan’s captain.”

Yeah. Good morning, good afternoon, good night. Ball game.

The optics were great for baseball … on paper.

The moment was great for baseball … on paper.

But it was sort of a dud on the field. Mookie Betts didn’t do the moment any favors, by the way, but that’s neither here nor there.

It was fun to watch, but Mad Dog would prefer reliving the Kirk Gibson-Dennis Eckersley showdown from 1988, and I think I’m with him.

There, I said it. Deal with it!

By the way, great line here from Russo. I don’t care what you haters say, he’s funny. May be a little wacky at times, but funny is funny.

Incredible moment … what? Why? Because they’re teammates?

Unrelated: Bryce Harper > Mike Trout.

Written by Zach Dean

Zach grew up in Florida, lives in Florida, and will never leave Florida ... for obvious reasons. He's a reigning fantasy football league champion, knows everything there is to know about NASCAR, and once passed out (briefly!) during a lap around Daytona. He swears they were going 200 mph even though they clearly were not.


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