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Tune in to watch Ohtani
Johnnie Phillips, Sports Editor
Johnnie Phillips, sports, Steele County Times, column

Whether you are a baseball fanatic or just a casual fan who maybe attends the occasional game or tunes in when games are on the TV, one thing you cannot miss is baseball’s newest sensation Shohei Ohtani.

As a self-proclaimed baseball nerd – one of my first jobs in college was contributing to statistical analysis designed for major league and minor league scouting reports – I have never seen an athlete play the game like Ohtani.

For those unfamiliar with Ohtani, the 28-year-old swiss army knife originally hails from Ōshū, Iwate, Japan and came to the U.S. in 2018 to play for the Los Angeles Angels.

Since his arrival in the U.S., I’m not sure a baseball player has been more talked about or followed in the media due to his freakish athleticism and ability.

It seems as if every day when I turn on MLB Network on my TV I hear at least one story, stat or fact about Ohtani.

Constant news coverage of one subject can become bothersome when it feels like there is nothing more that can be said about someone to elude to their greatness – take Lebron James for example.

However, after paying attention to Ohtani’s career, and especially what he has done of late, I’m not sure people are talking about him enough.

As an everyday player for the Angels, Ohtani has moved between pitcher, outfield and designated hitter roles while also batting leadoff.

It’s no secret that many major leaguers have played multiple positions in their career, but rarely ever has there been an athlete who mixes all aspects of the game at a high level.

In 2022 alone, Ohtani is batting .256 with 19 home runs, 56 RBIs and 51 runs while also recording a 9-4 record, 2.38 earned run average and 123 strikeouts in 87 innings pitched.

These numbers were strong enough to lead Ohtani to break the record that he set last season by becoming the first Major League Baseball (MLB) player to be voted to the all-star game as both a pitcher and position player twice.

It’s simply mind-boggling to imagine that a player in just his fifth season in the major leagues has already begun to be hailed as possibly the best baseball player of all time.

Couple that with the fact that he plays in the giant market of Los Angeles and has begun to outshine his fellow teammate and 10-time all-star Mike Trout, and you have a scary recipe for a generational superstar.

If you have not yet seen Ohtani play, I advise you to grab the remote, tune in and witness history as it unfolds before your eyes.

For those looking for a way to watch, the Minnesota Twins will begin a three-game series with the Angels in Los Angeles on Aug. 12, which will likely be broadcasted on Bally Sports.

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