Shohei Ohtani’s Babe Ruth impression is the only way I watch baseball. It rules.
I used to be a baseball fan. Hell, I used to play the sport (albeit, kind of poorly).
Now though, I cannot even recall the last televised game I watched. Baseball isn’t a part of my life, with one massive, glaring exception: viral clips of Shohei Ohtani.
But first, let’s backtrack. More than a decade ago, during the Jimmy Rollins-Chase Utley-Ryan Howard era of the Philadelphia Phillies, I lived and died with the team. I, a millennial with an attention span no longer than this sentence, followed baseball religiously. What a world.
As time passed, however, I kind of just gave it up. There’s too much stuff to do. Too many things that need my limited attention and time. And baseball was kind of boring. I’ve got reality TV to watch, dammit. Sure, I’ll still go to a baseball game, but that’s more about hanging out in the sun, having a couple beers, and eating a hot dog.
So yes, that’s all to say I don’t really care about baseball anymore. Or at least I didn’t. Enter Shohei, the grim reaper of baseballs.
I will watch any and all viral Shohei Ohtani clips. If you don’t know who he is, picture a vengeful demigod swinging a Louisville Slugger. Try to grasp the vast power of the ocean concentrating on hitting a silly little ball. Imagine an axe chopping softened butter.
Why am I wasting my time trying to describe it. Watch this.
Hear the violent sound this ball makes, as if it briefly came to life, only to immediately wail for mercy.
Here is our hero, a 26-year-old Japanese murderer of baseballs, hitting his 30th home run, most in the league. Notice how his bat cuts downward, slicing into the ball like a scythe whipping through long grass, searing the ball to the opposite side of the field.
He hits a ball like it he is ordering it to never stop its flight.
Oh and in case this all wasn’t enough: He’s a freaking dominant pitcher. Nobody — and I mean nobody — does that anymore. It’s unheard of in the modern era. It is not possible. Nobody pitches and plays the field — let alone do both at an All Star level.
The only comparison is Babe Ruth. Literally. That’s it. We’re only halfway through the season and Ohtani has already blown past the all-time high for homers the Great Bambino hit in a season where he also pitched a significant number of games.
So, no, I will not watch a full baseball game. But I will search Ohtani’s name on Twitter and see the latest feat completed by the giant of a man. I cannot tell how many times I’ve been sucked down this rabbit hole. Ohtani did what? OMG look at that. Holy hell how does he swing so hard. Etc. Etc.
And honestly, this feels like the ideal way to take in baseball. I don’t have to sit for freaking four hours and cheer for the long relief pitcher eating innings. I just spend 30 seconds of my life watching baseballs get ground into a fine powder. Not to go all they should make the entire plane out of the black box…. but they should make all baseball out of Shohei dingers and splitters. It’s kind of what I’ve done for myself.
Leave sacrifice bunts for the purists. Being a diehard is for the birds, baby. I’m here to watch viral clips of a man who seems like he was dropped on this Earth to exact vengeance on puny white baseballs.
But, in all seriousness, this does feel like one small, good thing the internet can do. I can appreciate Ohtani, and see stuff that makes me genuinely giddy, on command. No watching a whole-ass game. No thanks. As long as we’re all being drenched with the internet’s permanent waterfall of hate spew, we might as well portion ourselves a bit of joy as well.
I find supreme joy in watching Ohtani disregard the laws of the baseball gods. He makes anything possible on the diamond, the laws of physics and man be damned.
It is the only way I watch baseball: thirty seconds at a time and absolutely slack-jawed. And it rules.