The game of Major League Baseball has been in existence for 148 years.
It is the eldest of all the major professional sports in the North American continent. The history of the sport is deep and the traditions of the game will always be here, for the most part.
The sport is ever-evolving though, as it needs to undergo a metamorphosis in order to adapt to the demands of the fans. The millions upon millions of supporters are what powers the sport and breathes life into it. If you cannot appease them, then you are endangering the future of the game and its essence. The NFL is currently trending down that road by following the almighty dollar instead of doing what is right.
In recent days, a bombshell was dropped by the Shohei Ohtani camp, stating that they want to go to a smaller-market team instead of searching for a larger payday. They also indicated a preference to come to the West Coast. With that, the San Diego Padres are now squarely in the middle of this whole situation.
Locally, things have been getting very exciting, but most Padre fans know better than to get too optimistic at this point. There have been numerous letdowns in the history of this franchise, and educated fans are certainly wary of any positive talk about their Friars.
The fact he spurned New York, Boston, and all of the East Coast teams does tell you that Shohei Ohtani is a man of integrity. He already left hundreds of millions of dollars on the table to come to the U.S. two years early. Ohtani could have played out his contract in Japan and been declared an open free agent after the 2019 season. He would have clearly cashed in and could have hand-picked which team to go to, much like he is doing now, but with a much larger payday.
In searching for a new employer, he has every right to be picky. He has every right to make sure that his selection is a place where his talents can be cultivated and he can be revered by the fans. Ohtani does not want extra pressure on his shoulders as he plans on attempting to be the first two-way player in MLB in almost 100 years. Babe Ruth pitched quite effectively early in his career, but he was not subject to playing the field all that often. After he was dealt to New York, the only numbers he put up were offensive, as he gave up on pitching. Rick Ankiel pitched and played outfield for the Cardinals, but he did not do both at the same time. Doing what Ohtani is attempting to do will be very difficult. Almost impossible. He has to be sure that the franchise he chooses will be supportive in every way.
The San Diego Padres will support him. San Diegans are very passionate about their sports. Extremely fickle at the same time, but very passionate. The citizens that walk the streets of San Diego cannot stand people who are not genuine. The Japanese native is indeed sincere. He knows what he wants, and perhaps the city of San Diego and the fresh start it would provide, is what he craves.
Currently the Padres are the only major sports franchise in the city of San Diego. If he wants the support of the whole community, he will get that in San Diego. The Padres’ farm system is growing with multiple young, talented players. Ohtani would be right in the middle of an excellent young, developing team with money to spend. Not only would he be the face of the franchise, he would be allowed to grow up with all the “kids” in the Padres’ system. Instead of going to a veteran-like, established team with the pressures to succeed, he will be allowed to develop and have fun. That is what it is all about, isn’t it? The game of baseball is just that – a game.
Shohei Ohtani choosing the San Diego Padres would be great for Major League Baseball. After seven straight losing seasons, the Padres are trending upwards. The team is close to being competitive and his signing would thrust the franchise into the spotlight. MLB preaches about making the competitive level equal for each of the 30 teams. A signing like this would give a lot of hope to the small market teams out there that have an uphill battle to compete with the giants of the league.
People who talk about a lost marketing opportunity for major league baseball if Ohtani goes to San Diego, either have no vision or are bitter about him spurning their team of choice. Doing what he is attempting to do will be special. If he is able to have moderate success, his marketing value will not be limited by where he plays. The money he gets in his contract is irrelevant at this point. He will earn plenty of cash via endorsements. However, if he is not comfortable and unable to achieve success in the game, they will dry up. His team of advisors are wise. They realize that his comfort and development is the key to everything. He needs to go to an organization where he can grow while making the same mistakes that every other major league baseball rookie makes.
Shohei Ohtani to the San Diego Padres would prove once again that Major League Baseball is indeed the best sport. The ability for a franchise to turn itself around with the commitment of quality ownership, should be commended. MLB surely enjoys their relationship with the city of San Diego and a signing like Ohtani to the Padres would help eliminate all the years of bad owners and horrible baseball decisions that have plagued this franchise. The sweepstakes will come to an end shortly, and if indeed the Padres are the winners, this is a great thing for MLB as it signifies a growth in the sport of baseball.