Shohei Ohtani signing affects more than his new team


Shohei Ohtani Signing Affects More Than Just His New Team

As the anticipation builds and the decision draws closer, the sweepstakes for Shohei Ohtani, the Japanese baseball sensation, have started to dwindle. While the excitement surrounding his signing is primarily focused on which team will secure his services, there are several other aspects to consider. In particular, the impact on the reporters who cover Ohtani from his home country of Japan.

One thing is certain with Ohtani’s new contract – it will be the biggest in American sports history. The team that signs him will have the best player in the world on their roster, but it also means that Japanese reporters will have to relocate to wherever he lands.

The media in Japan has closely followed Ohtani’s career, from his time playing in Japan to his move to California to join the Los Angeles Angels. Ohtani’s popularity in Japan extends beyond baseball; he is considered a rock star, with fans of all ages idolizing him. His name is constantly on everyone’s lips, from youngsters to adults.

“We need Ohtani,” says Taro Abe, a reporter for Japanese newspaper Chinuchi Shimbun. “He’s not just a baseball player. He’s a rock star. Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber. Young, old, they love him. Everybody talks about Ohtani every day.”

For these Japanese reporters, covering Ohtani’s journey will require them to uproot their lives. If he signs with a team outside of California, they will have to move to Toronto or wherever he chooses. This means obtaining visas, a lengthy process that could take months to complete. Many of the reporters interviewed in a recent LA Times article mention the challenges they face, such as having families, wives, and children who haven’t yet joined them in the United States. Some have children enrolled in school in the Los Angeles area, adding an additional layer of complexity to their potential relocation.

“I don’t know if I can live in Canada,” says Nobuhiro Saito, another journalist. “I’m not sure.”

Ohtani’s impact goes beyond the realm of sports. He plays a significant role in the economy of both the United States and Japan. Last year, he generated an estimated 1.7 billion yen from jersey sales, support tours, and appearing in commercials. His entire economy is estimated to be worth 45 billion yen.

“I talked to my boss, and if Ohtani goes to Toronto or Chicago or another city, I think I’m going to move,” says Abe. “I’m 80 percent, 90 percent sure.”

While the focus remains on which team Ohtani will choose, it’s crucial to recognize the ripple effects of his decision. The Japanese reporters who cover him will have to make significant adjustments to their lives, potentially uprooting their families and children. Ohtani’s impact stretches far beyond the baseball field, and his influence on both the U.S. and Japan is immeasurable.

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