Despite Countless Injury Setbacks, Shohei Ohtani Displayed an Iron Will to Achieve His Ultimate Goal in 2021

Published 09/01/2023, 12:30 PM EDT

Follow Us

via Getty

Shohei Ohtani is possibly the greatest baseball player MLB has ever seen. But the road to greatness hasn’t been easy. Right when the Japanese superstar arrived in the States, he was diagnosed with a grade 1 UCL tear. He was fresh off his first season as a full-time two-way player in Japan and his body protested his talent at first. The Los Angeles Angels treated him like a china doll, easily breakable. Because of course, no one had truly seen what he was capable of yet.

America’s Favorite Video Today

The next season, the two-way experiment had to be put on hold as Ohtani struggled with his elbow and finally got Tommy John surgery. The two years that followed were unfortunately spent recuperating his arm. Ohtani could still not pitch but his hitting abilities proved he had been more than worth it. But what happened when 2021 came?

Shohei Ohtani, Like Always, Persevered

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

It’s impossible to survive as an athlete unless one has an iron will. There will always be someone better, on many levels, who will be hard to outshine. But there is also the matter of injuries which, for the most part, are out of an athlete’s control. Surviving an injury to make a comeback can be hard but Shohei Ohtani has done it time and again. The sheer amount of raw power his body holds doesn’t mean it’s always ready to bear the wear and tear.

2021 was the year when Ohtani was finally ready to pitch alongside his already spectacular hitting. He was poised at the edge of history, ready to surpass even the Babe. But what must have he been feeling, ready to do what he had come to the USA for after all these years? Jeff Fletcher writes about it in his book, ShoTime: The Inside Story of Shohei Ohtani and the Greatest Baseball Season Ever Played.

Trending

Get instantly notified of the hottest MLB stories via Google! Click on Follow Us and Tap the Blue Star.

Follow Us

“Spring Training in 2021 and said change had already begun. His mindset was new, and the way the Angels planned to use him was new. “It’s kind of how I felt in 2018,” Ohtani said. “Rather than have pressure, I just want to have fun and feel good out there, and just do my job when it’s given. Hopefully, I want to make [Manager] Joe [Maddon] use me as much as possible,” Fletcher writes on page 136.

And he did it in style, earning the title of AL MVP. 2023 looks much to be the same.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Ohtani and His AL MVP Rampage

Many things have changed in the last few years. The front office of the Angels looks different than it did two years ago and the roster has had some changes too. But if there’s one similar thing, it’s the fact that Ohtani has given a steady MVP-worthy performance each year. Aaron Judge stole the spotlight in 2022 when he broke the home run record for a single season in the AL. But injuries have detained him and Sho-time is a huge favorite to win the award in 2023.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Unfortunately, he is once again facing a UCL tear, in a different place than last time. But even though it seems like the baseball gods are out for vengeance, fans have no doubt that Shohei Ohtani will once again make a full recovery, even if he doesn’t play until some months.

WATCH THIS STORY – Shohei Ohtani Heeds Legendary Japanese Comrade’s Advice Amid Mid-Game Ailment

SHARE THIS ARTICLE :

ADVERTISEMENT

Written by:

Arunima Bhanot

1,105Articles

One take at a time

Arunima Bhanot is an MLB writer at EssentiallySports. Her tryst with MLB was accidental, but what followed was nothing short of a pursuit of excellence. Arunima's articles have been recognized as Editor's Picks on multiple occasions, highlighting her exceptional attention to detail and insightful coverage.
Show More>

Edited by:

Deepanshi Bajaj

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

EDITORS' PICK

America’s Favorite Video Today