Shohei Ohtani Featured

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Shohei Ohtani

Japan’s Gift to America

When Shohei Ohtani entered Major League Baseball in 2017, America not only gained a unique and highly coveted player who can throw a fastball upward of 100 mph while hitting home run after home run, but America also gained a hero. Shohei Ohtani’s superiority on the mound, combined with his exceptional abilities at the plate, have not been seen in a century since the glory days of Babe Ruth and his multifaceted talents. The broad-shouldered Ohtani stands 6’4”, tall by Western standards, let alone Japanese, with superior speed, strength, and hand-eye coordination. He is not only a phenomenal pitcher and home-run hitter, but he is also a strong defensive player and an excellent base runner. He is a competitive yet courteous player who pays respect to others on the field, including his teammates, rivals, officials, and fans. He is a patient and unselfish player with exceptional sportsmanship and a charming and respectful demeanor. His conduct is outstanding, and he sets an example for young people by going out of his way to pick up any trash that blows on the field. The true gift that Japan gave America with Shohei Ohtani goes beyond his remarkable achievements as a pitcher and hitter with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. It is the values he portrays in sportsmanship and diplomacy that will have the greatest impact on the game of baseball and America’s youth. To share with Tokyo Journal readers what the world of Major League Baseball has to say about Shohei Ohtani, I attended the 2022 Major League Baseball All-Star Game.

Throughout All-Star Game day on the field of Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, I had the opportunity to chat with MLB’s top baseball players, experts, and those closest to Shohei Ohtani. The consensus was that Shohei Ohtani is both modest and phenomenal. Venezuelan Luis Arráez of the Minnesota Twins stated, “He’s amazing. He’s a phenomenon. He can do everything. He can pitch. He can hit the ball. He can run. He can catch.” When I asked if he thought Shohei will have a long MLB career, Luis’s eyes lit up as he sang out, “Wooooo! 100%! Yes!”

The Houston Astros’ catching coach, Michael Collins, echoed Arráez’s enthusiasm for Shohei, saying, “He’s remarkable. I don’t think there’s any doubt in anyone’s mind that this is one of the most amazing things we’ve seen in baseball. What he is bringing to the major leagues wasn’t here before. He has been able to accomplish what he’s been able to accomplish in such a short time. The excitement to see what he can continue to do is something that we haven’t seen, certainly not in the modern game. There is a ton of excitement and optimism to watch and see what happens.”

The complete article can be found in Issue #281 of the Tokyo Journal.

メジャーリーグに移籍した大谷翔平は、時速 160 キロ以上の速球を投げホームランを連発する。大谷は、アメリカが待ち望んでいた一流選手を超える存在となった。投打ともに優れる二刀流のヒーローは、ベーブ・ルース以来 100 年ぶりの逸材だ。193 センチの長身に広い肩、世界水準でも見劣りしない体格に加え、頑健な身体能力と人並み外れた俊敏な反射神経を兼ね備える。優れた投手兼ホームランバッターであるだけでなく、守備や走塁も卓越する。


MLB 関係者が大谷をどう見ているかを読者に伝えるため、筆者は、ロサンゼルスのドジャー・スタジアムで開催された、2022 年のオールスターゲームを取材した。そこで、MLB の有名選手、専門家、大谷に近しい人々と話す機会を得たが、関係者が口をそろえて挙げたのは、“謙虚”と“素晴らしい”という評価の言葉だ。ベネズエラ出身でミネソタ・ツインズのルイス・アラエス選手は、「大谷は素晴らしい。何でもできる。投打に加え走りも守備もいい」と話す。「大谷は MLB で長くプレーできると思うか」との質問には、「100%イエスだ」と目を輝かせて答えた。


この記事の全容は Tokyo Journal #281号 にてお読みいただけます。

Written By:

Anthony Al-Jamie

Anthony Al-Jamie lived and worked in Japan for over 20 years. His in-depth understanding of Japanese language and culture has allowed him to carry out interviews with many of the most renowned individuals in Japan. He first began writing for the Tokyo Journal in the 1990s as Education Editor, later he was promoted to Senior Editor, and eventually International Editor and Executive Editor. He currently serves the Tokyo Journal as Editor-in-Chief.

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