Unless you’ve been living under a rock or just don’t follow sports, you’ve probably been hearing the buzz about the “Japanese Babe Ruth“, Shohei Ohtani, pitcher/designated hitter for the Los Angeles Angels. He had an awful spring training, looking like the pitching he was facing as well as the hitters he was facing while pitching were just going to be too much for him. Talk around the league was that maybe he needed to start the season in the minors to become better prepared for what was to come.
The Angels went ahead and left him on the big league roster and have so far reaped the rewards. After 13 games, Ohtani has a pitching record of 2-0 with an ERA of 2.08. He has 18 strikeouts in 13 innings of work. He also has 8 hits in 22 at bats so far, 3 of which are homeruns. He is doing things that haven’t been done in a long time!
On Tuesday I attended the Angels game in Arlington, TX versus the Texas Rangers and that’s when I realized that there was Ohtani Mania! I was sitting behind the Angels on deck circle as the team was taking batting practice and Ohtani was nowhere to be found. We knew he wasn’t in the lineup so this wasn’t a surprise. After about 20 minutes we noticed that a large amount of Japanese media had set up in front of the Angels dugout and all of a sudden, Ohtani was out taking batting practice!
As soon as he came out, from out of nowhere, a throng of Japanese fans were all around us! It was easy to see that the Angels have attracted a new fanbase because of Ohtani, and everyone there was watching him hit! I know it was only batting practice but I watched him hit a ball further than I’ve ever seen one hit in Arlington, whether in a game or in practice! The Japanese media were interviewing fans before the game and taking pictures galore! I’ve never seen anything like it! When we were leaving the game there was Japanese media outside of the stadium interviewing fans as well. It really shows how much they love Shohei Ohtani!
Ohtani is being talked about as a possible Cy Young candidate as well as a possible MVP! I think it is way to early to be throwing those kinds of things out but what he has done so far is very impressive and I can’t wait to see how the season goes! He also seems to really get along with his teammates and wants to win. With a 10-4 start for the Angels he surely feels that he made the right choice!