Los Angeles Angels two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani was named the cover athlete for MLB The Show 22 on Monday morning. While the news was unsurprising given his historic 2021 season, it still serves as an incredible testament to Ohtani’s greatness last season.
For starters, Ohtani is the first pitcher to ever be the cover athlete for MLB The Show. He is also the first Asian player to be given this honor. Even amid a lockout multiple months after the conclusion of the 2021 season, Ohtani continues to break records for excellence.
Ohtani shared his excitement over being named the cover athlete and the motivation it gives him moving forward, according to Joon Lee of ESPN:
“I was very excited about the possibility and it actually came true,” Ohtani told ESPN through an interpreter. “This game has a lot of history. It’s one of the only baseball games that has been out here, so it makes me want to get better on the field and live up to the hype.”
Ohtani credited Sony and San Diego Studios for their approach to MLB The Show and why the game can be such a success. He also felt honored to be the first Asian cover athlete and hopes that it will expand baseball’s popularity along with his own.
“There’s a few type of fans,” Ohtani said. “I’m sure there are fans that love to play the video game, but don’t actually watch the game. Then the opposite, people that watch the game but don’t play the video game. I’m trying to bring back the popularity and set an example for those watching the game. Sony and San Diego Studios, they’re going the other route by making a video game trying to get the game popular that way. It’s a good combination, trying to bring the popularity back as a whole.”
“I know I’m sure there’s a lot of Asian people that don’t know me yet,” Ohtani said. “Hopefully by being on the cover of The Show, you get my name out there to those people who don’t know me yet.”
The Angels star skyrocketed in popularity this season when it was clear that something special was taking place. After winning rookie of the year in 2018, injuries derailed his 2019 and 2020 campaigns, and it began to soften the hype surrounding Ohtani.
He came storming back in 2021, consistently saying that all he needed was health and a long leash to play as often as he felt necessary. He was absolutely right, and his face gracing the cover of MLB The Show 22 is the ultimate proof of that and his returning global popularity.
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