Shohei Ohtani Announces His Presence With Authority

ANAHEIM, CA - APRIL 03: Dino Ebel
ANAHEIM, CA - APRIL 03: Dino Ebel /

Nearly four months after his decision to take his talents to (kinda) Long Beach, Shohei Ohtani made his Anaheim debut as a designated hitter. It was all we could have expected, and then some.

If Bull Durham stars Crash Davis and Ebby Calvin “Nuke” LaLoosh were morphed into one, Shohei Ohtani would be the outcome. After showing off his “Nuke” qualities in his first start on Sunday, Ohtani assumed the role of designated hitter for his Big A debut on Tuesday.

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The Angels as a whole were hot, with Ohtani coming up with the bases loaded as the crowd roared for their newest phenom. Ohtani was 1-5 on the season, with his only appearances at the plate coming on Opening Day. Fans went crazy when he ripped the first pitch he saw for a single then, but they had no idea of the treat that was awaiting them Tuesday.

Things didn’t look bright for Ohtani when he whiffed hard on a curveball in his first at-bat. However, something special happened next. Ohtani watched a passed ball bring in one run. Then he fouled off an inside cutter. After that, Ohtani was once again faced with a curveball in the lower third of the strike zone.

This time, things were different.

Ohtani plastered the ball to right field. It popped off the bat like a cork, and didn’t stop until it had traveled 397 feet, and bounced into the aisle of the right field bleachers. As Crash Davis would put it, he scrambled that son of a….nevermind.

As Ohtani trotted the bases, and an older fan who caught the home run handed it off to a small boy who was at his first MLB game, no one was thinking of the 6-0 beating the club took the night before.

When he got back to the dugout, there was silence. No one congratulated Ohtani, until he wrapped his arms around a teammate and they all celebrated like little leaguers. And then, Ohtani took a standing ovation in front of an Angels crowd who had just witnessed history.

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Ohtani did not finish then, as he finished the night as the MVP. He finished 3-4, with two hard hit singles rounding out his night. He did strike out on three pitches in his third at-bat, but also drove in three runs. Both were hot off the bat at 100 and 112 MPH, respectively. Or, as Nuke LaLoosh would say, they were definitely humdingers.

Ohtani’s actions made him the first player to win a game as a pitcher then hit a first inning home run within two days since 1921.

The man who did it then? Some guy named Babe Ruth.

And for those keeping count, Ohtani is only 713 away from tying him.