Angles' star Shohei Ohtani donates $150,000 from Home Run Derby earnings to team staffers


Fox News 17 July, 2021 - 03:17pm 11 views

Who won the Home Run Derby?

If Pete Alonso has a rough second half, don't blame the Home Run Derby. Pete Alonso won his first Home Run Derby as a rookie in 2019. Heading into the All-Star break that year, he was sitting on an even 30 home runs with a .634 slugging percentage and 1.006 OPS. New York Daily NewsIf Mets' Pete Alonso struggles, don’t blame Home Run Derby

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Shohei Ohtani donated his winnings from this week's Home Run Derby to members of the Los Angeles Angels' support staff, according to multiple reports Friday.

The news was first reported by the Orange County Register.

Ohtani donated the $150,000 he received to more than a couple of dozen people, including clubhouse staff, trainers and members of the media relations department, the reports said. The two-way Japanese sensation handed out the checks before the Angels' game Friday night against the Seattle Mariners.

Besides becoming the first Japanese player to participate in the Home Run Derby, Ohtani was the first one in All-Star Game history to be selected as both a pitcher and a hitter. He threw a perfect first inning and was 0-for-2 in the AL's 5-2 victory on Tuesday.

Ohtani was the top seed in Monday's derby but was eliminated in the first round after he lost a swing-off to Washington's Juan Soto.

Pete Alonso of the New York Mets won the derby and took the $1 million prize. Baltimore's Trey Mancini was second and took home $500,000.

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Shohei Ohtani donates $150,000 Home Run Derby winnings to Angels staffers

Yahoo Sports 17 July, 2021 - 07:01pm

Dan Wetzel, Pat Forde, Pete Thamel

The Los Angeles Angels phenom failed to make it out of the first round of the Home Run Derby, losing a multi-round swing-off to Juan Soto, but he still received $150,000 for participating. According to the Orange County Register's Jeff Fletcher, Ohtani decided to give the money away.

Ohtani reportedly distributed checks to around 30 Angels support staffers — including trainers, clubhouse workers and media relations personnel — to thank them for their work on Friday.

What's more, the 27-year-old reportedly planned to do this no matter how the Derby played out, which means he would have been giving out $1 million had he won on Monday.

Ohtani entered the Derby as the betting favorite, having hit 33 first-half home runs to become the No. 1 seed, but only mustered 22 home runs in the first round to tie Soto. A one-minute swing-off kept the count tied at 28, leading to a three-swing tiebreaker that Soto won.

New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso ended up winning the event, defeating Salvador Perez, Soto and Trey Mancini for his second straight win.

That wasn't the end of the All-Star break for Ohtani, though, as he also started the All-Star Game on the mound while batting lead-off for the American League. Even though he only went 0-for-2 at the plate while throwing a scoreless inning, he still clearly made his presence felt.

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Shohei Ohtani's MLB All-Star jersey draws $111,000 bid – a six-figure edge over next player

USA TODAY 17 July, 2021 - 07:01pm

MLB s auctioning the game-worn jerseys of 65 All-Stars, the proceeds going to MLB Charities, and Ohtani is lapping the field there, too.

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MLB legend David Ortiz joins sports seriously to explain what makes Shohei Ohtani so special. He has no doubt the Angels' player will be MVP. USA TODAY

If money talks, then the message is loud and clear: Shohei Ohtani’s marketing appeal is undeniable.

Ohtani made history at Tuesday’s All-Star Game in Denver, pitching a scoreless inning to earn the victory for the American League while grounding out twice as designated hitter – the first player to earn election to the Midsummer Classic as a pitcher and batter.

Major League Baseball is auctioning the game-worn jerseys of 65 All-Stars, the proceeds going to MLB Charities, and Ohtani is lapping the field there, too.

As of Friday morning, the top bid on his No. 17 jersey was $111,050, a six-figure edge over the second-highest bid – $3,600 for NL MVP frontrunner Fernando Tatis Jr.’s jersey.

It's also the largest bid for a game-used jersey sold via auction, according to MLB.

Game MVP Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is third at $3,010, and those three are the only players with bids higher than $2,000. The auction expires July 21.

Ohtani has dazzled the masses all season with his hitting prowess (33 homers at the All-Star break) and dominant pitching (63 strikeouts in 51 2/3 innings). Yet as he was by far the most in-demand player during an All-Star week in which he also slugged 28 home runs in the Home Run Derby, his stardom was questioned by ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith, who wondered if baseball was ill-served to have its most prominent star not use English as their primary language.

Smith came under heavy criticism and eventually apologized, and the top jersey bids seem to significantly refute his point. Ohtani conducts interviews via interpreter (and Derby catcher) Ippei Mizuhara, while English was also the second language for Tatis and Guerrero, natives of the Dominican Republic and perhaps the biggest stars in their respective leagues this side of Ohtani.

Tatis conducts interviews in English and Spanish while Guerrero usually uses an interpreter.

Not that it particularly matters. Talent, production and charisma remain louder than words.

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The new face of baseball: Shohei Ohtani accounted for 28 percent of All-Star Game merchandise sales

Yahoo Sports 17 July, 2021 - 07:01pm

Dan Wetzel, Pat Forde, Pete Thamel

As if it wasn't clear at the Home Run Derby and the All-Star Game, Ohtani was the main attraction for fans over the All-Star break. Viewers couldn't wait to see him pop massive home runs Monday and then throw 100 mph fastballs — and hit leadoff — Tuesday.

But in case you needed additional evidence Ohtani captivated fans, take a look at how much Ohtani merchandise sold at the event.

Ohtani didn't disappoint at either event. After a slow start in the Home Run Derby, he forced a triple-overtime against Washington Nationals slugger Juan Soto. Though Ohtani lost, he still hit some moonshots and created one of the best head-to-head matchups of the evening. Ohtani failed to get a hit in his two at-bats at the All-Star Game, but he looked strong on the mound, throwing a perfect first inning while hitting 100 mph with his fastball and featuring some nasty offspeed pitches. 

It's probably foolish to focus too much on a singular face of baseball. There is so much young and elite talent around the game that you would do it a disservice to only focus on one player. Trout may be hurt and Betts may be having a down season, but deGrom is still the best pitcher on the planet. On top of that group, you still have All-Star Game MVP Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Fernando Tatis Jr., Ronald Acuña Jr., Juan Soto, Tim Anderson and many, many others. 

At this point, however, you have to include Ohtani in that group. His performance this season — which resulted in All-Star nods as both a hitter and pitcher — is historic. Does that mean Ohtani needs to be the singular face of the game? No. 

But he deserves to be in that group, and baseball fans clearly agree. 

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Hok Talk: Things are about to get tense

Royals Review 17 July, 2021 - 11:00am

That was a very relaxing week. Now let’s turn up the Hot Stove. (As opposed to the Cold Stove, I guess)

First of all, it was awesome to have Salvador Perez represent the team as a starter again. It can be really easy for Royals fans to dismiss him as over-hyped; familiarity breeds contempt and all that. But the voting for Salvy outside the Kansas City market shows that he, at least, is well-regarded by other fans outside KC. And whether he crumbles in the second half or not, I can’t think of anyone on the team who deserves that recognition more.

Watching him in the Home Run Derby was also really cool. The entire concept of the Home Run Derby just doesn’t really jive for me as a spectator competition. There are three aspects of a home run that make them an exciting play during the course of a game: the runs scored, the majesty of the ball soaring through the sky, and the ridiculous numbers that we can associate with them, such as distance traveled, exit velocity, etc. The Derby eliminates the first two. I know many people were excited for this year’s change that saw no attempt to prevent pitchers from throwing balls before the last one had landed, and while I applaud that from a competition standpoint, I think it was a detriment to the viewing aspect. I can’t really watch that last ball fly out of the park because I have to watch the hitter’s next swing. As for the other, when every competitor is going to hit 20+ of these, the value of an individual home run is diminished compared to what they’re worth in a single game. The Home Run Derby is Inflation for Dummies.

The Statcast Derby broadcast on ESPN 2 did at least maintain the final aspect that makes the dingers fun, and I was grateful for that. I was additionally grateful for the show Salvy put on. I sort of assumed he would be completely outclassed in a field that had Shohei Ohtani, Peter Alonso, Trevor Story, and Joey Gallo. But it turns out he was among the best out there; he just had a bad first-round matchup. I can’t get too upset, though, because I know Salvy did something no one else did; he went into the bonus minute needing 18 bombs and still found a way to put up 11. That’s a home run nearly every 5 seconds, and it was pretty cool.

Not every All-Star appearance can stand as the most memorable of all time. That’s just how reality works. That said, I thought it was cool of AL Manager Kevin Cash to attempt to show him off and smart of MLB to bend the rules for Shohei Ohtani in the All-Star Game. In the same way Patrick Mahomes has reshaped the idea of what an NFL quarterback can be, Shohei Ohtani is reshaping the landscape of what MLB can be. Neither one of them is opening a floodgate of people who can do the same thing and have been held back, but they’re still redefining the sport in a really cool way. MLB has a long history of getting in its own way when its stars begin to redefine the sport in a positive way, so it was nice to see them let Shohei do his whole thing on a national stage.

I feel like almost every year around this time, we start hearing, “This team could look very different in two weeks!” and then it never does. So now seems like an excellent opportunity to label some buckets and throw some names in them based on how we’ve seen the Royals operate in the past.

Salvador Perez, Whit Merrifield, Adalberto Mondesi, Bobby Witt Jr. Anyone not listed below.

Michael A Taylor - He offers any contender some speed and defense off of the bench along with some power potential. He was hot headed into the All-Star Break, and that might make someone decide to take a gamble they can keep him there.

Greg Holland - He’s not adding enough to the Royals to justify keeping him, but he could be a good help for another team that can afford to keep him lower on the depth chart and use him less often to fill in some gaps.

Carlos Santana - I can see the Royals hanging on to him and hoping to use his on-base skills to compete next year, but I can also see a contender deciding to part with a prospect or two (depending on how much salary the Royals will eat) to add a proven depth bat.

Jarrod Dyson - Like Taylor, Dyson offers speed and defense. Unlike Taylor, he doesn’t have the pop in his bat, and he’s older now, so teams might trust him less on the basepaths. Moore may want to keep him for sentimental reasons over trading him for cash, too.

Mike Minor - He’s under contract through next season and has been awful in his last few starts

Scott Barlow - He’s got tons of value on the open market, but if the Royals have taught me anything, it’s that they never deal guys at the height of their value.

Danny Duffy - The Royals probably should be trying to trade him, but I think he might have been serious when he said he wanted to be buried a Royal, and he has his 10-5 rights so he can reject any trade.

The young pitching - This is the wrong time to trade any of those guys

Jorge Soler - No one is going to pay for what he has to offer. That said, he’s probably going to be cut at some point near the deadline barring a hot streak. The Royals could trade him off of waivers for a bag of balls.

Andrew Benintendi - I fully expect the Royals to extend him this off-season. Something about his easy, calm demeanor reminds me of Alex Gordon, and I think Moore and the Royals will want to keep in left field for a long time to come now that the real Alex Gordon is finally retired.

Ervin Santana - Some team might want him for some extra pitching depth, but I doubt anyone wants him badly enough to trade for him.

As for the coaches, I expect them to all stick around to the end of the season and for Terry Bradshaw and Cal Eldred to need new jobs the day after the World Series ends. Moore has had plenty of opportunity to fire one or both of them. Since he’s gone this long without doing so, I expect him to wait until the season is complete. The one caveat is if the team comes out of the break and looks as bad or worse than they did going into it. They might find themselves on the chopping block by early August if Moore feels like he needs to do something to shake up the team.

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