Here’s Shohei Ohtani — currently tied with Vlad Guerrero Jr. for the MLB lead in home runs with 26 — ethering yet another baseball in his first ever at-bat at Yankee Stadium:
Joe Sheehan pointed this out in his newsletter, but because the All-Star game has lost any semblance of seriousness, MLB just needs to let Ohtani flout the rules of a baseball game and hit and pitch in the ASG while also being the DH. Let him get an AB or two and then go warm up in the pen to get an inning, assuming the Angels won’t shit a chicken over him pitching.
There’s not much to draw to the game itself, given that it’s basically an extended and overwrought company picnic that everyone involved wants to leave as early as possible. Ohtani being on both sides of the ball would be a story, and baseball needs stories.
Just imagine it, Ohtani stepping up to the plate in the first inning in the thin air of Denver, Colorado with Mets ace Jacob deGrom on the mound, glaring over the top of his glove. It’s the matchup to watch in this Midsummer Classic. Then a few innings later, cameras spot Ohtani warming up in the bullpen as he gets ready to take the mound. Drama!
Who doesn’t want to see Ohtani’s filth face off against San Diego’s Fernando Tatis Jr.’s flair?
This is what the All-Star Game is all about, setting up moments we’ll all be talking about the next morning.
Ohtani is doing something the sport hasn’t seen in a century, hitting and pitching at All-Star levels. Let’s hope MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred and his marketing-challenged crew gets this one right and has us talking about what Ohtani did in Denver for years to come.