Shohei Ohtani, The Bambino, and Bullet Joe
April 11, 2018 7:22 AM   Subscribe

Shohei Ohtani has been tearing it up as both a pitcher and a hitter for the L.A. Angels this season, inviting comparisons to the most famous two-way player in baseball, Babe Ruth. But as Jay Jaffe notes, two-way players have a long history in the sport. This is especially true if you include the Negro Leagues, where some of the greatest players of all time plied their trade. Mike Duncan (previously) discusses some of the great two-way players from that era.
posted by Cash4Lead (6 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
It's only been a week, but it's really satisfying to watch him go from extremely high expectations, to spring training panic, to meeting those expectations.
posted by Think_Long at 7:59 AM on April 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

I was at the game on Sunday where he carried a perfect game into the 7th. It is amazing how much of a star Ohtani has become in such a tiny span of time. The Angels generally always have pretty good attendance, but they don’t sell out Sunday afternoon games in April against the mediocre A’s. This game was a complete sell-out of 44K+ (and we went to this game specifically to see him pitch, so he was indeed “the draw”). I’ve truly never experienced anything like this before. Even when I got up to grab some food, as people caught on that we were watching what may turn into something really special, fans would huddle en masse in the concession area, cell phone cameras out, watching every pitch like it was Game 7 of the World Series.

If ever the term “representation matters” feels appropriate, it does here. It was really fun and interesting seeing an entirely new demographic at the ballpark to support someone who looks like them. We stopped in the Angels store before the game to pick up a new shirt for my son and it was absolutely packed (not a good space for the claustrophobic at all). I saw one woman buying what appeared to be something like 5 Ohtani jersey’s, which, if you know what those cost, particularly direct from the team store (sort of the equivalent of taking your car to the dealer for service) had to be close to a 4-figure purchase.

It’s going to be a fun season.
posted by The Gooch at 8:36 AM on April 11, 2018 [3 favorites]

I'll be there if he gets a start when the Angels come to Toronto in late May. I remember when Daisuke Matzuzaka made his third MLB start in Skydome and the turnout of the Japanese expat population was tremendous. It made for a very exciting atmosphere.
posted by The Notorious SRD at 8:44 AM on April 11, 2018

I'm still bummed he opted for you guys instead of the Mariners, but hey, at least he's in the right division! I'm not sure I'll make it to the park in OC this year - our visit down there is likely to be in August and a day baking in the sun in a concrete bowl is not my kinda fun - but I sure will be at a couple Angels games up here this year.
posted by mwhybark at 10:21 AM on April 11, 2018

The Shohei Kid?
posted by jamjam at 2:20 PM on April 11, 2018 [2 favorites]

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