The Dynamic Duo of the MLB


Courtesy of Twitter

Being together for more than 7 years, the pair has grown an inseparable friendship that will most likely last outside of Ohtani’s baseball career.

Katelyn Ruggles, Photojournalist

Baseball fans worldwide are witnessing history as they have the privilege of watching Angels star Shohei Ohtani have one of the most remarkable seasons yet. Being not only halfway into the 2021 Major League Baseball season, but two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani is also attracting attention around the world and getting more and more people involved in baseball. Singing with the Angels in 2017, Ohtani won Rookie of the Year for his 2018 season and is currently having one of the most impressive seasons a player has ever had. Shohei amazes fans with his unhumanlike talent, executing the difficult task of being a starting pitcher and power hitter with ease. He is currently the 3rd leader for most home runs in the league and has an average of only giving up about 3 runs. He continues to amaze fellow players in the league as they are able to understand how difficult it is to accomplish these records. 

One of the most fascinating things about Shohei Ohtani is that he was born and raised in Japan and could not even speak English when he first came to the U.S. to pursue baseball. Camille Khong (10) comments on the international baseball player saying that “representation means everything for those kids watching at home”. This caused him to need an interpreter to help him connect with his teammates and coaches. Lucky for him, Ohtani had previously worked with a translator named Ippei Mizuhara while on his old team, the Nippon Ham Fighters, a Japanese baseball team Ohtani played on for 5 seasons. Moving to the Anaheim Angels, Shohei specifically requested that Ippei accompany him. 

This move was no problem for Ippei as he has lived in Riverside for about 10 years, moving there when he was only 6 years old. Being only 15 minutes away, Ippei visited the Angels stadium many times as a kid. Growing up playing soccer and basketball, Ippei was not able to provide Ohtani with much baseball help at first, but over the years has picked up on the sport and even helps Ohtani warm up by playing catch and doing other drills. In Japan, it is normal to get a driver’s license when in college, but Ohtani was never able to do this as he focused all his time on baseball, so Ippei also is responsible for driving Ohtani to all his games, practices, events, and all other places he goes to. 

Due to the language barrier, Ippei is the main person Ohtani talks to during games and practices. Spending so much time together, Shohei and Ippei have created a strong friendship. Many photos have captured their bond and the many times they are laughing and joking around with each other. When Ohtani hit his first career hit as an Angels, he signed his batting gloves and gave them to Ippei jokingly as if he was his number one fan. 

If you are a baseball fan or just a sports fan in general, there is no doubt that you have not heard of the name Shohei Ohtani. Considerably the best and most exciting player to watch in the MLB right now, more and more people are tuning into Angels games or checking the internet after his games just to watch him and hear the things he does. With Ohtani’s growing fandom, many people are becoming familiar with Ippei as well since they are almost always together. The pair is gaining a fandom for being a dynamic duo.