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[ODDS and EVENS] For Shohei Ohtani, Winning is the Only Priority

A $700 million contract would give anyone some peace of mind, but Shohei Ohtani says he joined the Los Angeles Dodgers because of their passion for winning.



Shohei Ohtani
Los Angeles Dodgers owner Mark Walter (left) and president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman introduce Shohei Ohtani at an introductory press conference at Dodger Stadium on December 14, 2023. (Kirby Lee/USA TODAY SPORTS)

Read the full story on SportsLook - [ODDS and EVENS] For Shohei Ohtani, Winning is the Only Priority

Shohei Ohtani woke up on Thursday, December 14 with the following task on his to-do list:

Sharing his thoughts with the world on a life-changing decision involving a $700 million USD (¥99.1 billion JPY), 10-year deal, the biggest player contract in sports history. 

Imagine starting your day knowing that's something you'll need to do. I can't imagine what that would be like.

Ohtani made it quite clear that it wasn't all about the money. He spoke at Dodger Stadium before an assembled throng of more than 300 media members along with curious onlookers from around the world. (Watch the press conference on the Dodgers' YouTube channel.) 

"I'm not sure how long I'm going to be able to play the game," said the two-time unanimous American League MVP, who turns 30 in July 2024. "So I did prioritize winning."

The press conference, which got underway at 3 PM (8 AM JST on Friday), underscored Ohtani's commitment to winning. 


Joining the Los Angeles Dodgers after six winless seasons with the Los Angeles Angels, Ohtani spoke about his overall impressions of his new team's high standards.

"One thing that really stands out in my head," he said, according to The Associated Press, "when I had the meeting with the Dodgers, the ownership group, they said when they looked back at the last 10 years, even though they made the playoffs every single year, won one World Series ring [in 2020], they considered that a failure. And when I heard that, I knew they were all about winning, and that’s exactly how I feel."

Shohei Ohtani (KYODO)

Years with the Angels: Ohtani Established Himself as an MLB Superstar

There was plenty of individual glory for Ohtani during his six seasons with the Angels, including an AL-leading 44 home runs in 2023 and an array of titanic blasts while he donned his former club's jersey.

And despite his injury setbacks as a pitcher, Ohtani has demonstrated that it's possible to thrive as a two-way player in the modern era. He's an exceptional pitcher who was 34-16 as a starter over the past three seasons.

Shohei Ohtani
Shohei Ohtani led the American League in home runs (44) in 2023. (KYODO)

As he embarks on the next chapter of his professional career, Ohtani exuded class in looking back on his six-year run with the Angels. He didn't bash the club for its shortcomings or perennial failure to reach the playoffs. 

Instead, Ohtani was filled with gratitude.

"I would like to thank the Los Angeles Angels organization. It was great, it was a fun ride, a great ride, for the last six years," Ohtani told reporters at Dodger Stadium. 

Continue reading the full story on SportsLook.



Author: Ed Odeven

Find Ed on JAPAN Forward's dedicated website, SportsLook. Follow his [Japan Sports Notebook] on Sundays, [Odds and Evens] during the week, and X (formerly Twitter) @ed_odeven

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