Stephen A. Smith in recent years has transitioned from being a master of all-things bad takes to a genuinely insightful sports analyst — usually, anyway.
Well, he returned to his roots Wednesday morning.
The “First Take” talking head apparently isn’t all that impressed with Los Angeles Angels two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani, who might be the best baseball player on a team that rosters Mike Trout, who some consider the greatest ever. Smith’s rationale — if you can call it that — is that Ohtani is hitting under .280 for a team with a losing record.
“I don’t give a damn,” Smith said on ESPN. “Ohtani is nice and all that stuff. I get it, it’s special, it’s special what I’m seeing so far. I mean, just stop the presses. He’s got the 14 home runs, he’s batting .271 — not .371, not .471 — he’s batting .271.
” … And you bring up Babe Ruth all you want to, all you want to. There in fourth place, I get it. I understand that. … There five games under .500.”
But really, it’s all about the way Smith delivered his take. He essentially dismissed the most uniquely gifted baseball player in generations — maybe ever — as meh.
You can watch and listen in the video here.
Ohtani this season is hitting .272 with a .950 OPS to go along with 14 homers and a .627 slugging percentage, both of which lead all of baseball. On the mound, he’s 1-0 with a 2.37 ERA and 13.4 strikeouts per nine innings over six starts while regularly throwing 100 mph.