As per a recent announcement, May 17th will now be known as Shohei Othani Day in Los Angeles. The Dodgers superstar has been given this award due to his gravitational pull as baseball’s biggest name and one of the most intriguing talents in MLB history. 

Othani, 29, left the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim last winter in free agency to sign with the premier Los Angeles team, the Dodgers, forming the final piece of an star-studded roster featuring an essential lineup of all stars with multiple different MVPs on the roster also. 

In typical Othani fashion, he brought his A-game after celebrating his day. He crushed a home run off Cincinnati Reds pitcher Frankie Montas in a 7-3 win for the Dodgers, capping off an excellent day for them, and one Angels fans probably will find it bittersweet. 

Othani had a ton of suitors this offseason as the man who most would view as the best player in the MLB due to his two-way style, being both a high-level starting pitcher and having one of the best bats in baseball. Even though Othani will not be pitching this season due to an elbow injury, he is still one of the most valuable assets in the league due to his insane power. Many figured that the most likely scenario would be that one that did happen: he would stay in Los Angeles with the twist of still leaving the Angels for the Dodgers. The city almost lost their second most gravitating star, though, only trailing LeBron James, to the Toronto Blue Jays. 

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Photo by MLB

It feels as though Othani was always meant to play for Los Angeles. His signing with the MLB sparked immense interest once the news broke, especially considering he began his career in his native Japan. He could be considered the most hyped-up overseas prospect in history. Many teams worked very hard for his services before he chose the Los Angeles Angels over many teams, specifically the New York Yankees, mainly due to his desire to be on the west coast of the USA. It was one of the reasons why expecting him to leave California for Canada always felt peculiar to many insiders. 

Othani has done more than just helping his team win through his on-field services, however. He also enticed fellow Japanese pitcher Yoshinobu Yammamoto to sign with the Dodgers despite his many suitors, once again mainly the New York Yankees. 

Othani’s career with the Dodgers has not come without some controversy, though. Before the season even fully began, Othani’s interpreter and best friend Ippei Mizuhara was arrested and put on trial for allegedly stealing millions from Othani to pay off gambling losses by illegally wiring money from Othani’s bank account into his own. This became a major scandal, and people still believe that Mizuhara is taking the hit for Othani, who may have made the bets, though all signs point to this being on Mizuhara. 

Othani is locked up with the Los Angeles Dodgers for the next ten years of his career, so he’ll need to sign a new deal to pull his career into his 40s.