World Baseball Classic Pushes Angels Shohei Ohtani’s Instagram Followers Over 4 Million
Baseball: World Baseball Classic - Championship
Mar 21, 2023; Miami, Florida, USA; Japan designated hitter Shohei Ohtani (16) celebrates in the clubhouse after winning the 2023 World Baseball Classic at LoanDepot Park. Mandatory Credit: Alex Trautwig/Pool Photo via USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Angels two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani has become the most followed Major League Baseball player on Instagram.

Prior to the World Baseball Classic, Ohtani’s following on the popular social media platform hovered around 1.9 million, since then he’s more than doubled his following.

The wildly popular tournament and his success leading throughout Team Japan’s run culminated in a championship and a firm hold on being the most popular MLB athlete.

Ohtani’s popularity amongst sports fans grew to unprecedented heights with the international tournament. Early on in pool play, the two-way phenom launched a towering three-run homer against Team Australia, the first mark in his final .435/.606/.739 slash which included eight RBI and 10 walks.

The explosion in Ohtani’s Instagram following after adding roughly 2.1 million new followers, according to The Sports Daily, which doubles his follower count above his current Angels teammate Mike Trout, who has the next-highest following.

The WBC’s return after a six-year set record numbers in terms of viewership, merchandise, and attendance. Putting the sport’s most-prolific star on display in front of a global audience served as one of the best moves for the growth of the game at a time when the next big icon needed to grab a foothold.

Shohei Ohtani nabs championship and takes home All-WBC and WBC MVP honors

Going undefeated through the seeding portion of the bracket, Japan leaned on their incredible plate discipline which allowed them to earn walks and drive in runs with base hits. Their young pitching staff anchored by Ohtani kept them in every game long enough for them to make a number of comeback pushes.

In addition to his performance at the plate, Ohtani made two starts prior to the final game, allowing two runs over 8.2 innings pitched, but his third appearance came in the ninth inning on Tuesday.

After Yu Darvish gave up a solo home run in the top half of the eighth inning, Japan’s manager Hideki Kuriyama called upon Ohtani to nurse a 3-2 lead which ended in a strikeout of Trout on a perfectly spotted slider on the outer half of the plate, earning him the save and securing a title and a tournament MVP award.

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