Dodgers stealing opportunity of a lifetime with Shohei Ohtani gets worse by the day

Shohei Ohtani leaving town was more costly to the Angels than most truly realize.
Oakland Athletics v Los Angeles Angels
Oakland Athletics v Los Angeles Angels / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages

As the Los Angeles Angels are finding out, it is utterly devastating when a generational player like Shohei Ohtani moves on to play elsewhere. There is going to be an entire section of the fanbase that gives up on the team the moment the deal is done, others will shout from rooftops their displeasure until the heat death of the universe, and it deflates any positives that do happen because there will always be "if only we still had Ohtani" as a narrative.

With Ohtani specifically going across town to the Dodgers, there are some specific pain points on top off all of that nonsense. For starters, it certainly doesn't help rebut the sentiment that the Dodgers run things in southern California. There remains competition among local fans, as well as competition for potential free agents. Normally, this would be a localized sort of thing, but the Ohtani effect regarding Japanese players and fans could prove to be very costly to the Angels down the line as well.

Ohtani leaving threatens the Angels' ability to make inroads in Japan

The only real parallels in American sports regarding Ohtani's stature in Japan involve guys like Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods. He is immensely popular in Asia, and specifically in Japan, in a way that is very similar to those guys at their peak. Just looking at the ESPN report linked above, the moment that Ohtani signed with the Dodgers was met with Dodgers-themed and Ohtani-themed merch spreading EVERYWHERE in Japan. Ohtani is big business, which is a huge reason why the Dodgers went after him in the first place.

Being on the west coast, the Angels had a cash cow in Ohtani, given the relative ease for Japanese fans to follow games and his obvious appeal as a player. Even when the Angels were not good (which has been often), fans flocked to the park to see Ohtani play with Mike Trout and bought up Ohtani jerseys, shirts, etc. A lot of that was done overseas, providing the Angels with an amazing inroad into a very lucrative market.

Now, that inroad is gone and the Angels are basically back to square one in terms of their influence in the Japanese market. Players in Japan are now more likely to go elsewhere, rather than entertain joining the team that let Ohtani walk, and fans will move to follow along with his once-in-a-generation talent. One economist predicted back in May 2023 that Ohtani's economic impact alone sat at around $337 million, and that was before joining an international brand like the Dodgers.

All that is gone now because the Angels couldn't build a team around Ohtani good enough to keep him, or make an offer big enough to convince to ignore their deficient roster. Time will tell if it was the correct baseball decision to let him walk, but the financial reality of his departure seems to be getting worse and worse by the day.

While the Angels have had a bad offseason, you have a chance to make yours better with $150. Just click this link and sign up for FanDuel, deposit $10 into your account and make a $5 wager. If that first $5 bet wins, you get $150 in bonus bets deposited into your account. Ensure that first $5 bet is on a big favorite to give yourself the best chance to win. If they win, so do you.

More LA Angels News from Halo Hangout