Ben Clanin, 23 Sports

For the past few days I have been sitting around trying to figure out what I was going to write for the column this week and the one thing that has kept coming to my mind was the biggest headline grabber in the MLB since Trout and Harper got the call up to the big show. That’s right ladies and gentlemen, I’m jumping onto the Shohei Ohtani hype train, and man oh man this thing is moving FAST. Don’t believe me? Go on ESPN’s website, go to the MLB homepage and I kid you not there is an “Ohtani Tracker,” that will tell you when and where you can see him pitch next, when he will be in the lineup next, and it keeps track of his season stats. Somebody at ESPN is getting paid right now to do nothing but watch this one guy play baseball, that’s literally their entire job and it is absurd.

Now for those of you that know me I was thoroughly convinced that Ohtani was going to be a decent major league pitcher but I was afraid that the bat would take way longer to adjust to MLB pitching. But wow has he made me look stupid for that take. He is off to a red-hot start in the young 2018 season. At the plate, he’s slashing .367/.424/.767 with one double, one triple, three home runs, and eleven RBI’s in 33 total plate appearances on the year. After the Spring Training that Ohtani had, nobody, absolutely nobody could have projected this kind of start for him. As far as pitching goes, he has been equally incredible, posting a 2.08 ERA in two starts. He has also picked up the win in both of those starts, in addition to striking out 18 while only walking two. He has only given up two runs so far in those two starts as well. Oh, and not to mention in his second game pitching he took a perfect game into the seventh inning.

Believe me I can hear you right now, “But Ben it’s only two weeks into the season, aren’t you overreacting?”. I know, I know maybe I’m jumping aboard the hype train a little bit too early into the year but at this point I don’t even care because what this guy is doing for the game of baseball as a whole is incredible and there’s no denying that. In Ohtani’s second start, where he flirted with a perfect game, there was a sellout crowd in Angel Stadium, reaching capacity at 44,742. It was the largest crowd the Halos have played in front of since 1998. He has brought more fans to Angel Stadium than Mike Trout and Albert Pujols could. He’s also drawing international attention, there are fans from overseas that are willing to fly across an ocean to see the history that this one player is making and it is an incredible thing for the MLB.

Now there is one thing that I need to make clear about Shohei, let’s not get crazy quite year and start calling him the Japanese Babe Ruth. Yes, Ruth was also a two way player in his day, and the connection there is easy to see. But the Sultan of Swat is and MLB legend, an icon of the game, and even people that don’t necessarily follow baseball at all more than likely can tell you a general statement about who Babe Ruth was. Let’s let Ohtani have a career first, and not start treading on the names of MLB legends like Babe Ruth because he has performed well in the first two weeks of his rookie season. Who knows, maybe Ohtani and Ruth could be compared together one day in the distant future, but until then let’s not be associating those two names with each other even if they are both pitchers and hitters. But there is no denying that what he is doing for the game right now, and the attention that he is gaining from sports fans all over the world is nothing short of incredible.