Baseball’s best road ’Sho

Angels won’t make the playoffs, but Ohtani will help your team sell some tickets

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Go forth and watch Shohei Ohtani when he comes to your town.
Go forth and watch Shohei Ohtani when he comes to your town.
Image: Getty Images

It’s a fair point that it’s too bad that baseball’s nature as a team sport means that the Angels can have Shohei Ohtani and the soon-to-return Mike Trout on the same team, yet still be on their way to a seventh straight year without making the playoffs, and 13th straight without winning a playoff round, or playoff game for that matter.

What nobody ever talks about is how great this is for baseball. Folks in Seattle, come see Ohtani hit a ball harder and farther than you’ve ever seen a human being hit one in your life, maybe see him pitch, too, and then enjoy a nice 7-3 Seattle Mariners win.


If your favorite basketball team is Marinersian, you don’t get to see them win when LeBron James scores 40. Ohtani right now is the best gate attraction a home team has had in sports since the Detroit Lions had Barry Sanders and fielded a defense of the first 11 people who put their name on a sign-up sheet in the office kitchen.

Ohtani now has five homers in seven games this month. The one he hit on Friday went 463 feet, hit at 116.5 mph, and could not be appropriately captured by standard television cameras. It took a fan shooting video vertically to get it.


Now, about the rest of the Angels roster

Third and wrong

Colombia beat Peru, 3-2, in the Copa América third-place game, which, regardless of any general opinion of third-place games outside an Olympic bronze medal contest… how did they decide to still have this game happen in a tournament that was moved to Brazil because that was the country stupid and reckless enough to host it?


It’s not like there were any ticket sales, just TV money, which, again, it’s the third-place game, which would be pretty easy to live without. Europe isn’t having a third-place game after a tournament with a much larger field. And if CONMEBOL had nixed this, you wouldn’t have to have a highlight package leading with a reminder that Colombian defender Frank Fabra went home to be with his family after his father died of COVID-19 on Wednesday, one day after Colombia’s semifinal loss.

Had Colombia been able to go home after its shootout defeat to Argentina, Fabra would have been on his way home on Tuesday night or Wednesday morning. Sebástian Fabra died on Wednesday, and Frank may or may not have gotten home in time to say a final goodbye, but he certainly would have been there sooner as his family began grieving. Instead, because this game just had to be played amid a pandemic, even as several players got the virus, the Colombian team remained in Brazil.