The Los Angeles Angels suffered a three-game sweep at the hands of the Cleveland Indians. L.A. mustered just two runs the entire series, and were shut out on Sunday during the fourth annual MLB Little League Classic.
Despite that, Shohei Ohtani did what he does best, as he put on a show for the Little Leaguers in attendance. The Angels two-way star reached base three times, going 1-for-2 with two walks and a stolen base.
A performance like that is par for the course this season for Ohtani. But to have that happen in front of a packed crowd of kids who came there in part to see him play live makes it all the more meaningful.
Joe Maddon spoke about the reception Ohtani received from this year’s crowd of Little Leaguers, and the atmosphere of the event as a whole, according to Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com:
“It’s wonderful,” Maddon said. “The kids are into it. They had their thundersticks, which I think we started in 2002 [with the Angels in the postseason]. And they were fun before the game. They came down for autographs and wanted pictures, that kind of thing. I love that stuff. When you see the kids and how eager they are and how much they enjoy being here, it’s pretty special.”
Indians acting manager DeMarlo Hale found the amount of Ohtani support funny, including the kids sitting right behind the Cleveland dugout.
“We had a group behind our dugout and they were cheering for Shohei Ohtani actually,” Hale said with a laugh. “I thought they were supposed to be on our side.”
At full strength, there likely isn’t a better team to represent MLB at the Little League Classic than the Angels. The superstardom of Ohtani and Mike Trout speak for themselves, and the rises to prominence from Jared Walsh and David Fletcher serve as a feel-good story for any kid hoping to make it to The Show one day.
Although the Angels fell to the Indians, everyone in attendance got to see Ohtani play his game, stealing the crowd in a way very few players can in a 3-0 loss.
CC Sabathia praises Shohei Ohtani
One of Ohtani’s biggest fans is not a kid or a typical fan, but rather former MLB ace CC Sabathia. One of Ohtani’s biggest supporters, Sabathia has — on multiple occasions — referred to the Angels star as the greatest baseball player of all time.