Major League Baseball has been fortunate to have a star such as Shohei Ohtani, it’s even more special for the Los Angeles Angels because of the dedicated fans who consistently support the two-way phenom.
Ohtani is the clear leader with his fandom reach, and his 5.9 million Instagram followers clear all other big league players by a fair margin. Without the hype of his following, there isn’t much support for the Angels when the team isn’t playing overly well.
Mike Trout being out doesn’t help that, but Ohtani’s loyal fan base have made quite the impression whether on the road or at Angel Stadium, per Sarah Valenzuela of the L.A. Times:
“They’re even down there when he’s not, like in case he’s down there,” Angels pitcher Patrick Sandoval said.
Ohtani’s performance in the 2023 World Baseball Classic was about as good as it gets, and his eventual championship crown in the WBC happened against Trout and Team USA. That moment attracted global fans, and for Team Japan, a picture perfect moment:
“His play is really fun. It’s so exciting to watch his games,” said Yuka Yonetani, a 51-year-old Ohtani fan visiting from Japan during an Orioles-Angels game on Sept. 10. “Every game [of his] is fantastic, but sometimes [the Angels] win, sometimes they lose.”
His time in MLB has developed new fans, new rules, and the respect of his peers. Ohtani’s reach is impossible to ignore, and his pure dedication to the game of baseball is what players around the league have come to appreciate and admire.
Mike Trout unsure if Shohei Ohtani will stay with Angels
Despite the injuries, Ohtani is still the clear favorite to win American League MVP honors. And while he is unlikely to pitch next season after undergoing elbow surgery, the 29-year-old will have no shortage of suitors in free agency.
Trout admitted he has not heard from Ohtani on whether he will re-sign with the Angels or continue his career elsewhere. If Ohtani stays, L.A. can continue trying to build a winner around him through free agent signings and trades.
But the pair of Trout and Ohtani is possibly on their last leg without much positive to cling to with how low the franchise bar is in terms of their farm system.
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