>> We're more than three months away from Major League Baseball's opening day, but the signing of Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani by the Los Angeles Angels almost makes it feels as if the season has already begun. Few players of any sport have been as hotly pursued as Ohtani, an ace pitcher who's also a slugger at the plate.
That extremely rare combination drawing comparisons to Babe Ruth, the legendary power hitter who also pitched for the Boston Red Sox before switching to outfielder for the Yankees. At his signing over the weekend, Ohtani, who will likely bat as a designated hitter, flexed a healthy ego when asked what he was more excited for, his first home run or his first pitching win.
> Hopefully, I can maybe pull it off and get both of them in one game.>> While many fans in Japan were sad to see him go, some think his stateside moves sends a strong signal.>> It is good that by going out into the world, children in Japan can see that and have similar aspirations.
>> But the challenges for Ohtani, who's just 23, will be many. The intense media glare, the cultural differences, and ultimately his ability to live up to the hype. Training and proper rest are critical for elite pitchers. How to manage one who can also regularly hit home runs, puts the Angels in uncharted territory in today's game.
But one thing's for sure, Ohtani will no doubt give America's pastime a boost in ticket sales and TV ratings.