Something Beautiful. Something Special.
Also: Tesla Elon turns out to be the same guy as Twitter Elon. Shocker.
1. The One
All week I’ve been begging you to care about Shohei Ohtani for two reasons. The first is that we do not have a reference point for what he is doing in baseball. Or rather: We only have one reference point and it’s Babe Ruth and what Ohtani is doing is even crazier. But the second reason is that we all need more joy in our lives.
So let me give you two stories today.
The first came last night in Detroit. The Angels played a double-header. Ohtani started game 1 and . . . pitched a complete game, 1-hit, shutout.
Here’s your box score.
Then, in game 2, Ohtani went 2-for-3 at the plate with 2 HRs.
Nothing to see here, folks. Just a pitcher with a 3.43 ERA on track for 18 wins who is also leading the league in home runs, is on pace to break Aaron Judge’s record, and has an OPS of 1.070.
We are all witnesses to something that is going to be talked about in baseball for the next hundred years. Take a moment to drink it in.
Here’s the second thing to make you smile:
If you read Ohtani’s origin story piece I linked to yesterday, you are familiar with his time playing for the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters. This is what he looked like back then:
Mentioned in that piece is that Ohtani was originally going to be a normal pitcher. He had been a good hitter in high school, but no one projected him to be a legendary bat. But the Ham Fighters are kind of like the Tampa Rays—an organization willing to try unorthodox things.
In 2022 the Ham Fighters named a new manager: a beloved retired player named Tsuyoshi Shinjo. He is . . . eccentric.
How eccentric? So much so that he goes by the name “BIGBOSS” (ALL CAPS in the original). By which I mean that BIGBOSS is his officially registered name with the Nippon League.
Also, BIGBOSS is interested in style. So the Ham Fighters let him design the team’s uniforms for this season. Glance back up at that picture of Ohtani from 2013. And now feast . . . your eyes . . . on this . . .