Shohei Ohtani Is An Event

And luckily we all dodged a scud last night.

Jim Rome
April 05, 2021 - 11:05 am
Shohei Ohtani

USA Today


I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Major League Baseball lacks events. Because the season is so long, because there are so many games, there aren’t many moments that are appointment television. There aren’t too many things in the game of baseball that you know ahead of time, “I’ve got to be watching this.”

Shohei Ohtani is an event. He is a walking talking event. He is appointment television.

And if you don’t believe me, I suggest you review the first inning of last night’s White Sox-Angels game.

Because in the top of the first, Ohtani was on the mound. He got the first two batters he faced, walked one, and then got a groundout to end the inning.

The point is not that he got out of the inning without giving up a hit or a run. It’s that his first pitch of the game was 98.2 miles per hour. And later in the inning, he hit 100.6 miles per hour.

So if you were worried about whether or not he could bring the heat after having elbow surgery, you can put those concerns away.

And that was just the start. Because the top of the first inning was only one part of the Shohei Ohtani Show. Because in the bottom of the first, he did this.

Holy crap. First pitch swinging and first pitch crushing, indeed.

That was a sound. That was the sound of a ball traveling 115 miles per hour. That was Ohtani doing the damn thing.  To the damn ball.

And IT landing 451 feet later.

So as a mini-recap: he threw a pitch a shade under 101 miles per hour in the top of the inning and homered at 115 miles per hour in the bottom of the inning.

Leave aside the fact that he punished that ball the way that he did, he made history the moment he stepped into the batter’s box. That was the first time since 1903 that a pitcher was hitting in the number two spot in the lineup. Remember it used to be the most mind-blowing thing ever if you ever had the audacity to bat your pitcher 8th?  This dude is in the two hole.  And committing murder on the baseball.

Do you know how hard that is? Let me put that another way, do you know how many people in the history of baseball can do that? Better yet, do you know how many people in the history of this planet can do that?

Because I know how many people have done that: one?

He’s the classic multi-tool player. You know, the guy who can throw 100 miles per hour, hit it 115 miles per hour, and hammer a ball 451 feet.

I never thought I’d say there’s a player in baseball more versatile and more dominant than Mike Trout, but Trout might not even be the most electric and dominant player on his own team now. That’s how fired up I am about Ohtani and his game.

Even his outs are exciting. He had a line drive out in the second inning that was nearly 110 miles per hour. That was the hardest hit ball of the night, aside from his home run.

The guy crushes baseballs, when he’s not throwing them. And yes, I know that he walked five guys last night as part of his seven strikeout performance. And I don’t care. I really don’t.

The guy could walk a billion guys per game, if he’s striking out fools the way he does and crushes pitches the way he does, I’m going to glue to my TV every time he’s on the field.

I love everything about this guy. And was freaking out when this happened in the fifth inning.

I don’t know what freaked me out more – seeing the catcher drop the third strike that would’ve ended the inning, or seeing the wild throw down to first that then created the play at the plate that resulted in Ohtani getting taken out at the ankles.

How terrified do you think they were when he got clipped at home plate: how shocked Joe Madden was the rowing up all over himself, seeing Ohtani on the ground: imagine given everything he’s come back from, if he starts this season by shredded ankle tendons.

But he said after the game he’s okay, which was a huge relief.

He must be protected at all costs. Baseball needs this guy on the field as much as possible in the worst way. We all do. This is the guy you pay to see. This is the guy you drop everything you’re doing to watch pitch and swing it. There has never been a guy like this before: so the last thing we need is him leaving his tendons on the field: esp. On a third strike that gets away from the catcher. Scud dodged. I hope.

Hell, I need him on the field as much as possible in the worst way. That’s just how good and how exciting he is. And if that’s what he was doing in his first start of the season, I can’t wait to see what he has in store the rest of the way.