Has Shohei Reached Superhero Status in 2022?
Ohtanicanada says, “Yes.” But there is much more to his hero status among fans. Let’s look first at his baseball superhero feats. In 2021, Shohei hit 46 home runs, drove in 100 runs, and scored 103 runs. He also had a league-leading 8 triples! Shohei is no stranger to the superhero genre. His hero growing up in Japan was Goro Shigeno, a fictional character in a baseball themed sports magazine with superhero abilities. Little did Shohei suspect that one day he would become the embodiment of such a hero.
To start with, superheroes generally have some physical prowess. Since coming to the MLB, Shohei has bulked up 35 pounds of mostly muscle to add to his 6 foot 4 frame. If Shohei is batting, his super speed is his power, as he has to react quickly to hit and get to those bases. His steals require stealth and speed. As a pitcher, his super strength will guarantee him that super speed to throw those pitches using that great upper body strength. On the final day of the regular 2021 season, Ohtani recorded his 46th and final home run. Of the 46, 25 were 110+ mph exit velocity, which leads the big leagues. Combined with the 46 home runs, Ohtani also recorded an MLB-leading eight triples.
With great power, comes great responsibility. Shohei is acutelly aware that he, like all heroes, is a role model for youth around the world. Every move he makes is recorded and there is even an “Ohtani-cam” that does nothing but follow him around the stadium for Japanese audiences. It’s comparable to having the people of the lost planet on Krypton watch every move of their Kryptonian son, Kal-El (Superman), on Earth.
The worth of a superhero is also measured by his or her character. Once a hero betrays that trust, the fall is immediate and steep. It was obvious to us all that in 2018 that Shohei truly was that mild-mannered Clark Kent with no sign of arrogance in spite of the “out of this world” feats he was showing us. Shohei, like all superheroes, shows us what it’s like to be selfless, have courage, and be dedicated to a mission you love.
So “Yes,” Shohei has shown us that there are real superheroes among us. Shohei continues to perform unthinkable feats and demonstrate every day that he is truly entitled to the name, SUPERHERO!