Los Angeles Angels pitcher/outfielder Shohei Ohtani has made a historic impact on the game of baseball since arriving a few years ago, and recently spoke to GQ about his historic season that saw him land unanimous MVP honors and the rare Commissioner’s Historic Achievement Award.
Even more impressive, Ohtani was also recognized by the Guinness World Records for becoming the first MLB player to record more than 100 innings and strikeouts as a pitcher and 100 RBIs, hits and runs as a batter in a single season, which has made him the new face of baseball.
A role that Ohtani says that he is comfortable with.
“I’m actually happy to hear that,” Ohtani said, during the interview with GQ. “It’s what I came here for, to be the best player I can. And hearing ‘the face of baseball,’ that’s very welcoming to me, and it gives me more motivation too — because I’ve only had, this was my first really good year. And it’s only one year. So it gives me more motivation to keep it up and have more great years.”
It has been widely discussed that the sport of baseball has been fading from prominence, and in popularity in the United States, an opinion that Ohtani disagrees with.
“Baseball was born here, and I personally want baseball to be the most popular sport in the United States,” Ohtani said. “So if I can contribute in any way to help that, I’m more than open to it. But if you look at the whole baseball population in the world, it’s a lot less than, like soccer and basketball, because only select countries are really big on baseball. But in those countries where it’s huge, it’s unbelievably huge.”
MLB has attempted rule changes to speed up the game and it make it more appealing to fans, but Ohtani doesn’t believe that they are necessary measures.
“Honestly, I’m satisfied with everything,” Ohtani said. “No need to make any drastic changes.”