LA Angels' TWO-way player Shohei Ohtani leads the American League in games played this season. Yes, an emphasis on the TWO-way position title. He's both the starting Designated Hitter AND Ace of the pitching staff.
Still, however, nobody in the American League has found himself in the game more times than ShoTime's 60 games played. Entering Sunday night's series finale against the New York Mets, he had recorded a total of ONE day off all season.
For the most utilized player in sports (he also has 10 starts on the mound), that's even more than iron man behavior. Therefore, Ohtani talked to his new manager Phil Nevin about having an off day. He had seven last year, and through 61 games he had only had one.
Therefore, it's incredibly reasonable for a two-way player to request an off day after playing in 60 of the first 61 games of the season, right? Well, if one is a normal human being, they absolutely do know that it's incredibly reasonable. According to some, however, this is a great travesty that the game just faced.
Ryan Glasspiegel of the NY Post is disgusted at Shohei Ohtani taking a second off day in 62 games as a two-way player.
Glasspiegel thinks that the LA Angels owe it to ESPN to overwork their two-way player in Shohei Ohtani and risk his health for a regular season game on June 12th. Apparently, because it was Sunday Night Baseball, Ohtani has to risk injury to meet his demands.
"Nevin is relatively new on the job, having just taken over the ballclub last week when Joe Maddon was fired. However, organizations should seek to be better at long-term planning. It was not a surprise that this nationally televised date showed up on the Angels’ calendar. There should be communication at least several days in advance about when rest days are optimal for the product."- Ryan Glasspiegel, NY Post
In what universe would a manager--rookie or seasoned--risk the health of his best player who he pays to both DH and start on the mound so that ESPN can have better ratings? As someone who obviously works in the media myself, I could care less what my pageviews are if someone is preventing himself from getting INJURED.
Athletes are not robots. They deserve to prioritize their health just like Glasspiegel does, just like I do, just like everyone reading this does, and just like anyone at ESPN does. Ohtani doesn't owe anyone anything.
Ohtani had seven days off last year, and started 23 games on the mound. Before he sat on Sunday, he was on pace for just three off days and 27 starts on the mound.
Last year, he experienced some fatigue at the end of the season. Therefore, with him playing even more than he did last year, it was essential to have a rest day on Sunday to make sure he's charged up for the full ride of a 162-game season.
Sure, the 'Ohtani rule' that was implemented in the offseason for 2022 allows for Ohtani not to have to play in the field to stay in the game and hit after he's done pitching like he had to do last year, but that doesn't mean he should be playing 159 games offensively and 27 on the bump.
Rest is still necessary for ANY player, let alone a two-way player. ShoTime still leads the AL in games played. If ESPN wants Ohtani to be captured by the network more long-term, they are going to have to accept that approximately five off days per year are necessary (he's on pace for five this season). Nevin said it best:
"Hey, this is something that we’re gonna have communication on as the year goes on. He came to me in the eighth or ninth inning [Saturday] night, and we kind of discussed that [Sunday] would be a good night. I know it’s not good news for the ESPN family out there, but a healthy Shohei means we’ll be better later on. You guys will see him a lot."- Phil Nevin, LA Angels Manager