He had an even bigger impact on the league as a whole, and the game as a whole. Baseball was in a tough spot entering 2021. There was constant discussion of the game dying (especially compared to football and basketball), the league was trying to manage a historic global pandemic, and the whole "sticky stuff" issue was looming over the sport.
Ohtani, however, focused the entire world to baseball. He was a global sensation that turned heads all over the world. I even experienced it firsthand; I was interviewed by many Japanese media outlets about Ohtani, as Japan couldn't get enough of the two-way superstar.
The United States couldn't get enough of him either. The 2021 unanimous AL MVP even won the rare Commissioner's Historic Achievement award for what he brought to the game this past year. In Shohei Ohtani's recent interview with GQ, he talked about what he thinks about growing the game.
Shohei Ohtani is on a mission to growing this game back to its rightful place in the United States.
LA Angels' superstar Ace SP/DH Shohei Ohtani is not satisfied with the sport being below a couple others on the popularity level in the USA.
ShoTime came here to prove that he was indeed one of the best players on the planet, and he has done just that. Hitting .257/.372/.592 (.965 OPS) with a 158 OPS+ this past season to go along with 46 home runs, 103 runs, and 100 RBIs, Ohtani was more than just that. He was voted by his peers as the fastest baserunner in the American League as well, proving that he's by far the most dominant offensive threat in baseball.
The crazy part of course is how that's only half of what he brought to the table in 2021. He also started 23 games as a pitcher, recording a 3.18 ERA, 1.090 WHIP, and 141 ERA+. He also plays the field, hitting the outfield for seven games with the Halos.
In order to really grow this game back to what it used to be and currently should be, baseball needed something they hadn't seen before. After all, nothing changes if nothing changes. Baseball got the EXACT thing they were looking for, in Ohtani reviving the two-way player and having the greatest season in baseball history.
Baseball will be back in no time. It's already heading that way as long as Ohtani is being Ohtani.