Shohei Ohtani, Dodgers, Overcoming the “Ippei Mizuhara Shock” and Achieving the “Greatest Achievement of the Century | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Shohei Ohtani, Dodgers, Overcoming the “Ippei Mizuhara Shock” and Achieving the “Greatest Achievement of the Century

The biggest challenge is not to worry with the support of his new wife and new interpreter!

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On April 1, Ohtani hit a double against the Cardinals with a velocity of 186 km/h, the fastest ever hit by a baseball player. If he can get the ball up in the air, he will be ready for home run production.

Two weeks have passed since the tragedy that rocked Japan and the United States. Shohei Ohtani, 29, is still suffering.

Ippei Mizuhara, 39, his interpreter and close friend, stole as much as 680 million yen from his bank account to pay off a debt he had incurred through illegal gambling. Even Otani, who has overcome many adversities, would not be at ease in the face of such a major incident. Although he completely denied involvement in gambling at a press conference on March 26 (Japan time), investigations by MLB and U.S. investigative agencies are continuing. Until everything is clarified and the investigations are settled, he will not have the mentality to perform at his best. ……” (U.S. local media reporter)

Perhaps it is a blessing in disguise that the new interpreter, Will Iaton (35), has a good reputation. Having played for the Philippines in the WBC in the past and worked for Yoshimoto Kogyo as an employee, he is an excellent interpreter.

At the press conference, he used formal English appropriate for the occasion to express Otani’s sorrowful Japanese. I think he conveyed Otani’s sincere personality better than Mr. Mizuhara, who often abbreviated or translated his remarks. He has also served as an interpreter for Kenta Maeda (Tigers, 35) and should be able to support Otani without any problems.

His wife, Mamiko (27), whom he announced his marriage to in February, has also been devotedly supporting her husband by attending every game. Even so, since the start of the season, Otani has yet to hit a home run (as of April 2), a feat that has become synonymous with him. Is the “Ippei shock” causing his slump? Nachi Tomonari, a Major League Baseball critic, shakes his head and says, “April is usually like this.

In April of 2010, he hit .247 with four runs, and in 2011, he hit .292 with seven runs. Ohtani is the type of hitter who gets going in late May. Last year, he peaked in June, hitting .394 with 15 runs and winning the monthly MVP award. Then, in the first half of the season alone, he produced a total of 32 home runs. This season will be no different, and I’m sure he’ll gradually step it up a gear.”

Last year, Ohtani had a very successful first half, but in July and August he became fatigued and played only 135 games due to muscle spasms and an elbow injury.

He is unlikely to miss any games due to fatigue since he will not pitch this year after his surgery. Also, the Dodgers have a stronger batting lineup than the Angels, so he will probably get fewer walks and more hits. Last year he had 497 hits, but this year he may have about 630. Assuming that Ohtani hits a home run every 11 at-bats as he did last year, he will hit in the low 50s, which is a realistic line for the home run king for the second year in a row.

Matt Olson (30) of the Braves, who won the home run crown in the National League last season, has 54 home runs, and even in the National League, which is crowded with strong hitters, Otani’s achievement is quite possible.

On the 4th (Japan time), Ohtani hit his long-awaited first homer of the season. After overcoming the despicable betrayal by his ally, a new legend awaits him.

His English has improved so much that he can communicate with his teammates on the bench without the need for an interpreter.

From the April 19, 2024 issue of FRIDAY


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