Why too much is being asked of baseball’s Japanese superstar
scotsman.com -- Jul 28
Baseball is back and it’s in full swing, even if the fans aren’t in the stands. The first weekend would have to be deemed a success and, after all the work it took to get the players back on the diamond, it was great to sit back and enjoy the sound of bat on ball.

With that in mind, maybe Major League Baseball should revaluate their stadium speakers’ fake crowd noise. While other sports around the world have settled on television companies adding crowd noise, MLB has distributed effects from MLB The Show 20, a video game, to sound engineers. The engineers then play the sound through the speakers – often with little relation to what’s happening on the diamond.

Also over the weekend the sport had it’s very first base runner start on second base in extra innings, one of the new rules introduced for the shortened season. In baseball, there are no ties, with the longest ever game lasting 26 innings, nearly the length of three whole games.

With a base runner starting on second base – halfway home – the idea was that it would result in games being over in a far more timely fashion. MLB will be happy, then, that it did indeed work as Oakland Athletics overcame Los Angeles Angels in the tenth inning, the first of the extra innings.

The first player to ever appear on second base was Shohei Ohtani for the Angels, surely a future trivia quiz answer. The designated hitter chose to run on a ground ball hit to the right and Athletics’ first baseman Matt Olson decided to throw to third instead of taking the easy out to his left. Ohtani was caught and never made it any further. Meanwhile, Olson became a bigger hero by hitting a grand-slam in Oaklands’ half inning to win the game 7-3.

But Ohtani’s terrible series didn’t end there.

The Japanese superstar is entering his third season with the Angels and when he came across from Japan, he was set to change the game. In his native land, Ohtani had established himself as a great pitcher capable of fastball pitches of over 100mph as well as being an outstanding hitter of the ball. A rare skillset in a sport where pitching is a specialised skill.

In game two of the series, Ohtani started as pitcher, his first start in over a year due to surgery on his right elbow and the heater didn’t record one out. In his appearance, the pitcher threw 30 pitches, and allowed three hits, while also allowing another three men to walk to first through inaccurate pitching.

The Angels management quickly pulled the Japanese player from the game and the team never recovered, eventually losing 6-4 with five of those runs being attributed to the starter.

News source: scotsman.com
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