Shohei Ohtani (29) unloaded his luggage into the locker at the LA Angels clubhouse. When traces of Ohtani disappeared even though the regular season had not yet ended, his fellow players were embarrassed, and local reporters reacted sharply to the Angels team’s public relations team. 스포츠토토
Major media outlets covering the scene, including the LA Times, announced on the 16th (Korean time) that Ohtani had removed his belongings from his locker in the Angels clubhouse. When reporters entered the clubhouse after the Detroit Tigers game that day, it was confirmed that Otani’s locker was empty.
The LA Times reported that ‘Ohtani’s shoes as well as small personal items he received from his friends and teammates were all gone. “All that was left was a bottle of perfume, two Angels shirts, an Angels toiletry bag, a double pack of Seattle All-Star games, and dust marks from items that had been in that location for a long time,” he said.
‘Reporters stayed at the clubhouse for 30 minutes to find answers. The Angels club added, “There was no comment other than that they would provide updated information tomorrow (17th).”
Japanese media reported the situation on the ground in a more realistic way. Japanese baseball media outlet ‘Full Count’ said, ‘It felt like a sudden breakup. After the game, bats, spikes, and other equipment from Ohtani’s locker disappeared. It was empty, as if the season had ended. “After an interview with Angels manager Phil Nevin, about 20 American and Japanese reporters gathered in the clubhouse were embarrassed,” he said.
Brett Phillips, an outfielder who was born at the same age as Ohtani in 1994, asked, “Where has Ohtani gone? “I don’t know either,” he said in embarrassment. The fall baseball season ended early for the Angels, who suffered a complete loss of 2-11 on this day, but with 14 games left in the season, everyone was in confusion over Ohtani, who was relieved of duty.
The reporters were also alert. ‘The Athletic’ Angels reporter Sam Blum said, “Ohtani is a superstar,” and there was tension as he demanded an accurate explanation from the Angels’ public relations team. In response, the club said, “We cannot explain at this time. He simply replied, “There will be an announcement tomorrow.” Ohtani reportedly left the stadium about 10 minutes before the clubhouse was opened to reporters after the game.
Ohtani’s last appearance was against the Oakland Athletics on the 4th. The next day, on the 5th, he injured his right side during batting practice ahead of the game against the Baltimore Orioles on the 5th, suffered a sprain, and missed 11 consecutive games. On this day, he trained in an indoor batting cage ahead of the game against Detroit, but was not in the lineup. Initially, he was expected to return early due to a minor injury, but it was postponed one by one, and it seems likely that he will be out of the season.
Ohtani’s season as a pitcher ended after he was grounded while pitching in the second inning of the game against the Cincinnati Reds on the 24th of last month, and damage to his right elbow ligaments was confirmed. I had my first Tommy John surgery in October 2018, but since the ligament area was different from back then, I am currently looking into a different type of surgery. Meanwhile, Ohtani continued to play as a designated hitter and showed his determination to complete the season, but after suffering a side injury, both pitchers were suspended.
Otani, who becomes a free agent after the season, is likely to transfer to the ‘winning team’. It appears that the six-year relationship between Ohtani and the Angels, who have been together since 2018, will come to an unfortunate end. During this period, Ohtani played a total of 86 games (481⅔ innings) over 5 seasons as a pitcher, 38 wins, 19 losses, an ERA of 3.01, 608 strikeouts, and a batting average of .274 (681 hits in 2,483 at-bats) in 701 games over 6 seasons as a batter, with 171 home runs and 437 RBIs. He performed well with 86 stolen bases and an OPS of .922.
Ohtani, who received the unanimous MVP award in 2021 following the American League (AL) Rookie of the Year award in 2018, was selected as an All-Star three times and a Silver Slugger once. He leads the AL in home runs (44) as a hitter this year. With 14 games remaining in the season, he is ahead of 2nd place Luis Robert Jr. (Chicago White Sox, 35) by 9 points, and is likely to become the first home run king. However, his relationship with the Angels came to an end after he had not experienced fall baseball for six years.