Shohei Ohtani 2022 (And How His Words Startled Fans in 2021)
@ohtanicanada (Instagram) オタニカナダ
On September 28, 2021 Shohei talked about his affection for his fans and teammates. Then Shohei said this, “…but more than that, I want to win! That’s the biggest thing for me. I’ll leave it at that.”
When someone says, “I’ll leave at that” it means there is more. That remark clearly indicates that they have said enough, and maybe too much. That blurt is also indicative of Shohei’s and Angel fans’ frustration with having seen seven seasons slip away without making post-season playoffs. So what do we know about Ohtani’s character? He is selfless, motivated, and throughout his life, he has had to make those tough decisions to further his baseball career. Shohei is a risk taker, and like he says, “I want to win.” But, his fans are asking if he wants to win badly enough that he’d consider leaving the Angels if they don’t pull themselves out of this drought.
This aforementioned comment threw Angel management, players, and fans into a tailspin. Fan pages were abuzz with debates about whether Shohei could, should, would leave the Angels. Some supporters argued that Shohei has such a genuine connection with the franchise, his teammates, and fans that he would never consider such a move. In any case, damage control on the part of Angel management and Shohei was swift and deliberate. You can be sure there were some closed-door discussions about how a frivolous comment like that might diminish a franchise’s fan base and earnings. Shohei, not surprisingly, quickly declared that he was open to a contract extension offer. Phew!
So, what’s up for Shohei in 2022 and beyond?
- Shohei is eligible for a new salary negotiation after the 2022 season and free agency after 2023. @ohtanicanada predicts he won’t leave his teammate and close friend, Trout.
- Shohei will continue to be a two-way sensation. We also predict he will continue to rack up spectacular numbers on both sides of the ball if injury doesn’t sideline him.
- Salary will not be a primary consideration for Shohei during future negotiations. If money was his only motivation, we would never have seen him on the North American continent with those restrictive earning rules for international players under the age of 25.
- @ohtanicanada predicts that new additions to the team in starting pitching will make a difference this season for the Angels. Trout and Rendon, fully recovered from injuries, will join the roster.
- Our guy will continue to be a “once-in-a-century pitcher” with a lethal left-handed swing.
Shohei’s goal has always been to make baseball the most popular sport in North America. His charm and universal appeal will continue to be revolutionary not just for the team but for baseball itself, especially for the younger players who will lead the way in promoting this sport.
David Pollard and Randy Chu
Founding Members of @ohtanicanada