Shohei Ohtani wants to win
Just how badly?
His epic bat flip after hitting a game-tying, two-run home run late for the Angels in Monday night’s game against the New York Yankees says it all.
Take a look:
What a thing of beauty, rotating vertically at least five times before finally hitting the ground. That bat toss for the ages didn’t appear to be ego driven.
Home runs flying off Ohtani’s bat are a common sight at Angels games. The two-way star has hit an MLB-best 35 homers this season, already more than the 34 he hit in all of last season and is closing in on the 46 he hit during his American League most valuable player season in 2021.
Not-so-much a common sight lately: Angels wins. Ohtani and company entered Monday’s game at Angel Stadium with only two victories in their previous 13 outings. They trailed 3-1 when Ohtani came to the plate to face reliever Michael King with two outs and one runner on in the seventh inning.
The home crowd — including singer Gwen Stefani, who grew up in Anaheim — went nuts after the Japanese superstar launched a 1-2 pitch to dead center field for his 19th home run in his last 31 games. The blast tied the game at 3-3 and gave his team a chance for an elusive victory.
Hence, Ohtani’s bat flip, which Angels manager Phil Nevin later told reporters was the most emotion he’s ever seen displayed by Ohtani. And King didn’t mind the theatrics, telling reporters, “If you’re going to tie the game that late, you can do whatever you want.”
“He wants to win in the worst way,” Nevin said after the Angels’ 4-3 win over the Yankees in 10 innings. “It’s just been frustrating for him the last two weeks as it is for everybody. He wants to win and he wants to win here.”
Of course, Ohtani is set to become a free agent this offseason. He wants to play for a winner. The Angels’ recent slump has set off speculation that he could be on the move before MLB’s Aug. 1 trade deadline.
But this post isn’t about any of that. Let’s just sit back and enjoy that sweet bat flip again and again.