I was driving home for a birthday dinner on Tuesday night and flipped the game on the radio. The first play I heard was Steven Duggar making a catch. Duggar? Took me a second to realize he’s an Angel and about the dozenth guy to play on the grass for us this year.
I’m not going to hate on the guy. He’s doing his job and hopes to improve on a forgettable first half of the year. But if you look at the current lineup full of waiver claims and “where’d he come from?” guys it is clear that right now the Angels are best described as Ohtani and a Bunch of Guys.
Fortunately, Ohtani is masterful and single handedly worth the price of admission. The bump in ticket sales when Ohtani is in town is growing and notable.
This week he joined Babe Ruth as the only members of the 10+ home run and 10+ wins as a pitcher club. The difference being Ohtani did it against the best talent in the world.
The game is so much more inclusive and international than in the Babe’s days. Ohtani passed the great Ichiro Suzuki for the second most home runs hit by a Japanese born player.
And for all the mentions of how Ohtani and Ruth are similar statistically, there’s a much more tangible connection between the two. Ruth’s tour of Japan in 1934 is really important in the Japanese love of baseball. Here’s some great footage of that tour.
It is rather interesting that a man who is the face of segregated baseball did so much that led to future integration of the game. Such as barnstorming with negro league All Stars.
So while I’ll never consider a man who played prior to integration, international talent, and formal minor leagues as the GOAT, I think we all owe him gratitude for working towards a more inclusive game and thus society.
Off my soap box and around the league…
When teams expect to improve but fall backwards, heads roll. Ask Al Avila, who was canned by the Tigers on Wednesday.
If Kyle Lewis could play against the Angels every day we’d be building his bust in Cooperstown. Unfortunately he can’t so he was optioned to AAA.
I link trades using BaseballTradeValues.com pretty often. How did the real deals stack up according to their valuations? Pretty well.