Saturday’s USA-Venezuela classic shows how much baseball has grown internationally and what the WBC games mean to those who choose to play it.

MIAMI—When Bobby Thomson hit what the New York press, in borrowing from Ralph Waldo Emerson, anointed as “The Shot Heard Round the World,” his home run on Oct. 3, 1951 happened on a Wednesday afternoon in New York and at a time when baseball was not played west of St. Louis, when Jackie Robinson had broken the color barrier only four years earlier and when the baseball-crazed country of Venezuela had seen only three of its countrymen play in American or National Leagues.

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