NBC Chicago sportswriter Gordon Wittenmyer is one of few humans on earth to have a major issue with LA Angels' two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani. After the Angels' series against the Chicago White Sox ended on Monday, Wittenmyer embarrassed himself with quite the attempted hit piece on the greatest player in the game.
Even the headline was about as bold and hilariously false as it could be: "Angels' Shohei Ohtani: The Wrong and Silent Type for MLB."
Wittenmyer's beef with Ohtani is over his "aloof and dismissive pregame policy of shunning all public discourse, including with the traveling core of Angels beat writers, as his star in the game rises," as Wittenmyer calls it. Considering no Angels beat writers have expressed issues with Ohtani shows how foolish Wittenmyer's claims are.
What Wittenmyer is referring to is Ohtani deciding not to speak to the media before last Friday's game. Wittenmyer went off about it in the article:
"Ohtani hid in plain site before Friday’s game on the South Side, one of maybe a half-dozen players sitting at his locker when the clubhouse opened, his interpreter standing a couple feet away. He sat silently watching as two Chicago writers asked him directly and asked the interpreter for time enough to ask a question about Suzuki, eliciting a refusal by the interpreter to ask the player for the time and a sheepish advisory from the late-arriving media relations rep that Ohtani doesn’t like to talk before games."- Gordon Wittenmyer, NBC Chicago
Reading Wittenmyer's hate piece on Shohei Ohtani was hysterical for LA Angels fans.
According to Wittenmyer, Shohei Ohtani simply not taking interest in speaking to the media before LA Angels games is a massive crime against humanity. How DARE he prefer to wait until after the games to speak to the media? How DARE he focus on the job that HE has to do before he goes to work and does it?
Ohtani has a job just like Wittenmyer's, and wants to do well just like Wittenmyer. What ShoTime is doing isn't against the rules of MLB. The league and the Angels are literally fine with this. Wittenmyer, however, speaks of Ohtani's preference as if it's worth prison time.
In fact, he went on to utter falsehoods about Ohtani, saying that "Japanese reporters say he’s even more dismissive of media from back home." I have been interviewed by multiple Japanese media outlets SEVERAL times about Ohtani, and I can promise you that what Wittenmyer is saying is 110% false.
There's so much love for Ohtani from the media back home. They're extremely proud of who he is, who he's become, and how great of a human he is. Ohtani is worshipped back home, and rightfully so. Wittenmyer's attempt to smear Ohtani is what's "wrong for MLB," not Ohtani simply preferring to talk to the media after games.
But those weren't the only falsehoods that Wittenmyer spewed out. He then claimed that "sources within the game say the overall attitude is part of a reputation Ohtani has developed since arriving in the majors four years ago." This has become even more laughable at this point.
Literally nobody has come out and said anything about this. The feedback on Ohtani from the entire league and those who cover him have been entirely positive when it comes to his positive attitude and grounded personality.
His former rival Carlos Correa, who appears at times to not like anybody, even recently came out and made comments about how much he appreciates Ohtani and literally said that "Everybody in the league is a fan of him. Everybody in the league loves the guy."
The only sentiments anyone's heard from how the league feels about Ohtani are positive, and that "everybody in the league loves the guy." Correa's words, not anyone else's. Angels fans will take the league's word for this, and not Wittenmyer's word or the word from his "sources."
ShoTime is exactly what MLB needs, not "The Wrong and Silent Type for MLB." These comments are similar to Stephen A. Smith's comments last summer about Ohtani, where he bashed ShoTime; claiming he can't be the face of baseball for a different ridiculous reason.
The reason they are similar is because they have already been proven horribly wrong before they even spewed this hate. At the time Smith said his comments, the 10 highest-watched regular season games of the season across the entire league were Ohtani's games.
Now, Wittenmyer is also saying that Ohtani is bad for baseball after a year where he had what is widely considered to be the greatest season in sports history. After a year where he was the unanimous AL MVP. After a year where he inspired millions around the world by doing something the game hadn't seen in over 100 years. After a year where Ohtani saved baseball after it was crippled by Spider Tack controversy, an injured Mike Trout, and a declining interest from sports fans.
Hilariously, Wittenmyer was torn apart online after his egregious take, and rightfully so:
The only thing that's "wrong for MLB" is ridiculous takes from baseball writers who don't even understand the game they themselves cover. If they did, they wouldn't question how important the most dynamic athlete in sports is for this great game, and how simply choosing to hold off on interviews before he goes and brings fans together in amazement will never change that.