Shohei Ohtani is the whole show – and he welcomes the idea.
After a completely historic season, according to all words, the two-way superstar Angels almost immediately surpassed teammate Mike Trout and became the leading (and somewhat mythical) “face of baseball” in 2021.
Ohtani, winner of the Sporting News Player of the Year 2021 award, the Athlete of the Year 2021 award, also added a unanimous selection of the AL MVP for his efforts on the field. These awards join his Newcomer of the Year 2018 award on the coat.
It may be intangible, but it sounds like a “baseball face” means the most to a star.
Speaking of a long GQ article, Ohtani considered his position as the face of baseball, adding that he welcomed the burden that came with being the sport’s biggest ambassador:
More than pressure. Actually, I like to hear that. That’s why I came here to be the best player I can. And hearing the “face of baseball” is very pleasant for me and gives me more motivation – because I had, this was my first really good year. And it’s only been one year. So it gives me more motivation to continue and have other great years.
MORE: 2021 Sporting News Awards MLB – Ohtani is the best player of the game
Among other things, Ohtani dealt with nonsensical criticism of Stephen A. Smith of ESPN, who said in July that Ohtani’s lack of English had somehow damaged the sport before his playing on the pitch helped him.
I mean, if I could speak English, I would speak English. Of course I would. Of course, it wouldn’t hurt to know English. Only positive things would come out of this. But I came here to play baseball at the end of the day and I felt that my game on the field could be my way of communicating with people, with fans. That’s all I really got out of in the end.
The 2021 season in Ohtani was one of the greatest in the history of this sport – or any sport. In the Ohtani bowl, he crushed 46 home runs with 0.965 OPS. He started 23 matches on the rubber and recorded over 130 innings in the ERA 3.18.
The phenomenon of performance in 2021 steadfastly places it in the category of one of the few. Now the face of this sport is 1 out of 1.