Despite a long list of criteria regarding which Major League Baseball franchise fit the requirements of Shohei “Japanese Babe Ruth” Ohtani, he was apparently offered sufficient inducement to sign on with the Los Angeles Angels, which violates his earlier edict that he wanted to play for a small market team.
Los Angeles might be a small market compared to Tokyo, but he can look forward to intense media attention in the City of Angels, where the sports news cycle is more than 24 hours, if such a thing is even possible.
He earned his nickname by having skills as both a pitcher and a batter. If he were a cricket player, he would be an all-rounder. As a pitcher, he can clock as high as 161 km/h and he can hit for average and power. In MLB, it would be hoped that he has some secondary pitches, as MLB batters can feast on a steady diet of fastballs.
According to remarks from his agent, Nez Balelo, published by the AFP, “This morning, after a thorough, detailed process, Shohei Ohtani has decided to sign with the Los Angeles Angels. Shohei is humbled and flattered by all the time and effort that so many teams put into their presentations.”
“What mattered to him most wasn’t market size, time zone or league but that he felt a true bond with the Angels.”
That bond would have to be many bonds, dollars, actually. Millions of them to be exact.
Balelo went on, “He sees this as the best environment to develop and reach the next level and attain his career goals.”
Ohtani is just 23 and has played professionally for four seasons for the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters. Our geographical knowledge of Japan is limited, but we do not think that the team actually fights hams.