The All-Star festivities in Denver, Colorado were among the most hyped and anticipated in recent memory, and much of it has to do with the involvement of Los Angeles Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani. By appearing in the Home Run Derby and in the All-Star Game as a pitcher and hitter, he certainly caught everyone’s attention, including MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred.
Manfred is one of many people who resorted to pure fandom instead of business when discussing Ohtani. This has become a theme throughout the season, as opponents will talk more highly about Ohtani than they will about their own teammates.
The Commissioner spoke about what Ohtani has done for the game, and what he remembered about him when the two-way star first was making headlines out of Japan, according to Jeff Fletcher of The O.C. Register:
“I literally can’t say another word that hasn’t been said or written about what Shohei Ohtani is doing. It just kind of speaks for itself. It is an unbelievable performance.”
“As a high school player, people were talking about what a great player he is going to be, and he sure has proven it,” Manfred said.
It’s very rare for an All-Star week to become all about one All-Star — as it’s usually a celebration of the best players the game has to offer — but it certainly felt that way on Monday and Tuesday. Of course, fans cheered for other All-Stars and other big moments, but no one got the applause that Ohtani did.
Manfred clearly wants to push Ohtani mania even further by talking about him in this way during All-Star week. It has long been said that baseball has issues marketing their best and more fascinating players, but they’ve done a remarkable job at turning that around this season with players like Ohtani, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., and Fernando Tatis Jr.
Ohtani secures win in All-Star Game
Guerrero Jr. took home the All-Star Game MVP award. However, Ohtani was the pitcher who got the win in the game, despite just one inning of work. He pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the first, and with Guerrero hitting a home run in the second and the American League not giving the lead back, Ohtani wound up the winner.