Japan’s MLB star Ohtani ‘grateful’ for big season despite challenges

Japanese two-way standout Shohei Ohtani mentioned on return to his homeland on Monday that despite challenges within the second half of the season, he was grateful for an distinctive 12 months by which he confirmed off his abilities after a spate of accidents.

“Shotime,” because the 27-year-old is understood it america, mesmerised the followers within the batter’s field, on the mound and on the basepaths, breaking Hideki Matsui’s report for dwelling runs in a season by a Japanese participant, ending the 12 months with 46.

As a result of he can pitch and hit at an elite stage, the Los Angeles Angels’ twin risk has lengthy drawn comparisons to baseball legend Babe Ruth, and is a transparent favorite to obtain the American League’s Most Helpful Participant award this Thursday.

If Ohtani clinches that title, he can be the second Japanese participant to take action since Ichiro Suzuki in 2001.

“Especially towards the end of this season, our team wasn’t winning, and it wasn’t clear what the postseason would bring, so there were many mentally tough moments,” mentioned Ohtani when requested about how he overcame challenges.

However he mentioned he was simply completely happy to play.

“Until now there were also times when I couldn’t play due to injury, so it’s because I’m able to play that I get to experience these things. Personally, I feel that – including the times when I felt mentally down – this was a good year.”

In July, Ohtani was the primary participant picked for an All-Star Sport as each a hitter and pitcher. He’s additionally an elite baserunner: with 26 stolen bases this 12 months, Ohtani was ranked the quickest baserunner within the American League by his friends.

HOMECOMING

Ohtani’s reputation in Japan has hit fever pitch, with home-run contests televised dwell for the primary time in at the least 25 years. As of July, the ten most-watched video games in Japan this 12 months have all been Angels, video games and Ohtani was the most-searched participant on the MLB Movie Room video device.

Inventory merchants in Tokyo linked Ohtani’s reputation to a bounce in shares of a little-known Japanese sports activities gear maker across the time of his All-Star Sport look.

On the information convention in Tokyo after his return from the U.S. and residential quarantine, Ohtani answered in calm, temporary sentences. That stood in distinction to emotional sports activities reporters, a few of whom known as on others to applaud the Japanese star.

Even with out the MVP award, Ohtani has already been named the Gamers Alternative Awards Participant of the Yr and obtained the American League Silver Slugger award. He was additionally named amongst 100 most influential folks of 2021 by the Time Journal.

“I’m grateful for the awards, but personally, I’m already thinking about how I can play well so that I can receive these kinds of awards next season too,” Ohtani mentioned.

He mentioned that within the off-season he would deal with his bodily situation.

Requested what motivated him, Ohtani mentioned it was “the fans who come to the stadium for every game, regardless of the result.”

“I want to see them happy. I also have an image of what kind of player I want to be,” he mentioned. “I don’t want to give up on that goal – that’s what keeps me going through everyday practice.”

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