Ohtani Sends Powerful Message To New York City Baseball
Babe Ruth last played for the New York Yankees almost ninety years ago. Yet, when you mention the name Shohei Ohtani to a New York baseball fan, Ruth's name comes up more often than not. There is a pretty good reason.
Tuesday night in the Bronx, the Yankees hosted Ohtani and his Los Angelas Angels, including the almost forgotten super-star, Mike Trout. Since the World Baseball Classic in March, all eyes have been on Ohtani. Tuesday was the star's first trip to New York City this season. What team Ohtani plays for next season weighs heavily on a few specific New Yorkers, Hal Steinbrenner, Brian Cashman, Steve Cohen and Billy Eppler, to name a few.
Stars know when to shine. In the top of the first inning on Tuesday, as Yankees' captain Aaron Judge stood in right-field, wearing his pinstripes, that might as well have been a cape in 2022, Shohei Ohtani wasted no time laying his claim to the title of "the best player in baseball." On the third pitch he saw, Ohtani crushed a Clarke Schmidt "sweeper" 391-feet to right-center field for a two-run home-run, leading the Angels to a 5-2 victory over New York in game one of the 3-game series. How crushed was the pitch? The 23-year-old from Oshu, Japan torched it with an exit velocity of 116.7 miles-per-hour. That's crushed in any country.
Like Ruth, Ohtani is a once-in-a-lifetime pitcher/hitter talent. Baseball experts are predicting that the soon-to-be free agent will land a contract worth over $500 million. Tuesday night, the generational ballplayer sent a message to the ownership of the Yankees and the Mets that he has no trouble with the bright lights of the biggest media city in the world.
Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner and Mets owner Steve Cohen are certainly paying extra attention to Ohtani this season, especially in pressure situations. However, if he negotiates like he plays, Steinbrenner and Cohen may be the ones with the pressure on them. Either way, on Tuesday, Ohtani sent a powerful signal to both owners. This player won't come cheaply but will be worth the price of admission.