The good news is that of all the things Shohei Ohtani – the 23-year-old Japanese star who can throw 100 mph and hit long home runs – can see upon coming to America, the one thing he wants to see most is right in Philadelphia. And it’s one of the things we hold dearest: The Rocky Balboa statue.
Seriously. How cool is that?
Ah, but wait. There’s bad news, too.
In an interview with Jon Paul Morosi of MLB.com in February, Ohtani talked about his favorite players, the hype surrounding him, and what he hopes fans learn about him. And here’s the money quote, at least for Phillies fans:
MLB.com: What cities are you curious about and would like to see?
Ohtani: The Rocky Balboa statue, I want a picture of that.
MLB.com: Philadelphia has a baseball team, you know.
Ohtani: No, I just want to visit there.
Yikes. That escalated quickly.
Maybe there’s a silver lining here. If he loves Rocky so much, maybe we can convince him to become our second coming of Rocky. Maybe we take him on the Rocky workout tour. Maybe Frank Stallone can fly in and serenade him with “Take You Back.” No, wait, on second thought …
Okay, it’s now pretty likely that Ohtani is not going to be playing for the Phillies. We had a shot, though – a real long shot.