The beginning and the end are Otani
The World Baseball Classic (WBC), which started on March 8 and ended on the 21st, was a tournament that ignited the baseball fever ahead of the opening of the American professional baseball major league.
It was one Asian player who made this tournament hot. Japanese major leaguer Ohtani Shohei (29) was a hot topic from the beginning to the end of the tournament.
Ohtani, who is also called ‘Didoryu먹튀검증‘ because of his two-time job as a pitcher, was busy hitting the ground as a hitter and pitcher in this tournament as well. He had a batting average of 0.435 (10 hits in 23 at-bats) in 7 games as a hitter, 1 home run, 8 RBIs, 9 runs and 10 walks, and as a pitcher, he had 2 wins and 1 save in 3 games, and an average ERA of 1.86, showing great performance in two-hitting. Ohtani won the tournament’s Most Valuable Player (MVP). It was a game that started in Ohtani and ended in Ohtani.
Ohtani traveled from the United States to Japan on a chartered flight to participate in the tournament. According to local media in Japan, the boarding cost alone approached at least 10 million yen (approximately 96.6 million won) on a one-way basis.
Every match is filled with Japanese fans Every time the
match is held, the stadium is filled with Japanese fans to see Ohtani’s every move. Dozens of reporters paid attention to Ohtani. The ‘goods shop’ in front of the Tokyo Dome was a success.
Ohtani started the game against China, the first match of the Group B group stage, and led the team to victory. It was truly a tournament of Ohtani, by Ohtani, and for Ohtani.
During the tournament, Ohtani left many quotes. Ahead of the final, “Let’s not yearn for America today. Paul Goldschmidt at first base, Mike Trout in center field, and Mookie Betts in the other outfield. It’s a name everyone has heard of. But for today, let’s throw away our admiration for them. If you admire America, you cannot surpass them. We are here to surpass them, to be the best in the world.”
After winning the championship, “I hope that baseball will be loved more not only in Japan, but also in Asia such as Korea, Taiwan, China, and other countries around the world. That kind of mind was the driving force and we were able to win the championship.”
The cap that Ohtani threw in a roar after winning the championship is displayed at the Baseball Hall of Fame in the United States. It is known that Ohtani donated the uniforms and hats worn during the tournament.
As Ohtani rises to become a global star again, his growth process is also drawing attention again. Born in Oshu City, Iwate Prefecture, Japan in 1994 as the youngest of two boys and one girl, Ohtani inherited his parents’ athletic skills. His father played baseball, a socialite, and his mother was a badminton player in her youth.
Ohtani, who started playing baseball in the third grade of elementary school, soon showed his talent and grew rapidly. In his third year of high school, he drew attention by throwing a 160km fastball for the first time in amateur baseball history in the semifinals of a provincial tournament. He also hit 56 home runs in his career, revealing his talent for both pitches early on. In particular, his ‘Goal Achievement Table’ written in his first year of high school became known later and created a big topic. He wrote the final goal in the middle of the large central square, followed by eight specific goals to achieve it, and then wrote eight ways to achieve each goal in the squares around it. Among the eight goals, it is possible to know how desperate Ohtani is for baseball, considering that he even mentioned greeting for ‘luck’ and picking up trash. In fact, Ohtani is starting to achieve his goals according to this plan.
After achieving his final goal of being the 1st pick in the draft by the 8th team, Ohtani started his professional career in Japanese professional baseball. However, his goal was to go straight to the major leagues.
Even though Nippon Ham knew Ohtani’s will, he nominated him in the 2013 rookie draft and persuaded Ohtani through four rounds of negotiations. In the process, he succeeded in getting him to join the team by allowing him to double as a pitcher.
Amidst his concerns, Ohtani calmed his concerns about himself by achieving a 10-10 home run for the first time in Japanese professional baseball history in 2014, the second year of his professional debut.
In 2015, he ranked 1st in the Pacific League for most wins, 1st in ERA, and 1st in win rate. The following year, he won the league MVP and Japan Series championship.
After the 2017 season, he finally tried to enter the major leagues through the posting system. In the major leagues, there was controversy over the dual job of pitching. Ohtani pushed ahead according to his perseverance.
In 2018, he won the American League Rookie of the Year. In 2019-2020, due to injury, he was unable to show both pitching jobs, but in 2021, he started 23 games as a pitcher and recorded an average ERA of 9-2 and 3.18. That year, Ohtani won league MVP by unanimous decision.
In 2022, he pitched in 28 games as a pitcher and pitched 166 innings, going 15-9 with an average ERA of 2.33. As a hitter, he recorded a batting average of 0.273, 34 homers and 95 RBIs in 157 games, becoming the first MLB player in the history of regulation innings (162 innings), At the same time, he fulfilled the required number of at-bats (502 at-bats).
Ohtani, who may be able to renew the highest amount in major league history,
has had a more important year in the 2023 season. Ohtani will qualify as a free agent (FA) after this winter season. Local media predict that Ohtani will receive an astronomical amount. From the beginning of this year, Ohtani’s ransom is predicted to reach 500 million dollars (approximately 640.6 billion won). He may even break the highest total in major league history.
It is also a matter of which team’s uniform he will wear. The LA Times, a local media outlet, said, “Ohtani has proved that he has to leave the Angels,” and “The Angels will not be able to renew the contract with Ohtani. If Ohtani becomes a free agent, he must move to a team that can play the postseason.” Ohtani has yet to touch a trophy in the United States. The Angels finished third in the American League West last season. They haven’t made it to the postseason since the 2014 season. It’s not even a ‘big market’ team that can embrace Ohtani. If Ohtani continues this season as he showed in the WBC, the Angels will have little reason to keep him.
Ohtani calmly faced the new season in the major leagues. On March 31, he started in the 2023 season opener against Oakland and pitched well with 2 hits, 3 walks, 10 strikeouts and no runs in 6 innings. He received no support from the lineup, and allowed the bullpen to come from 1-0 down, blowing Ohtani’s requirement to be a winning pitcher. Batter Ohtani showed off his hitting skills by hitting his first home run against Oakland on April 3.