Shohei Ohtani had himself a year.
The Los Angeles Angels two-way superstar earned All-Star appearances as both a pitcher and as a designated hitter as he burst onto the scene and earned his first American League Most Valuable Player award.
You couldn’t go a day without seeing Ohtani pop up on social media in some capacity throughout the season. Whether it was a towering home run, electric pitching performance or even stealing home plate, he really did it all.
Ohtani absolutely revitalized the sport of baseball at a much-needed time during the 2021 season and for all of the positives that brought, it also weirdly did bring some negative moments at times. Namely Stephen A. Smith’s odd rant about how the face of baseball shouldn’t be using an interpreter — which he eventually did apologize for — but Ohtani did respond Wednesday as part of an interview with GQ.
“Obviously it wouldn’t hurt to be able to speak English. There would only be positive things to come from that,” Ohtani said. “But I came here to play baseball, at the end of the day, and I’ve felt like my play on the field could be my way of communicating with the people, with the fans. That’s all I really took from that in the end.”
His bat and arm certainly did a lot of talking this past season as he finished the campaign with a whopping 46 home runs, 100 RBIs, league-leading eight triples, 9-2 record on the mound and a 3.18 ERA.