The New York Yankees didn’t get their man in Shohei Ohtani. But the last person to blame for that is Ohtani himself.
Let me just come out and say it. We, as New York Yankees fans, are spoiled.
We’re used to getting what we want. We’re used to success and won’t settle for anything less. So when Shohei Ohtani was rumored to be posted for the MLB, naturally we assumed he would choose us. Because, why not?
We want everything. Giancarlo Stanton is the home run leader? Bring him up to the Bronx! Bryce Harper is a great player on a lackluster team? Send him a plane ticket to New York. And guess what? We’re all guilty of it.
The Yankees are possibly the greatest franchise in the history of sports. We have 27 rings to show for it and are well on our way to no. 28.
But ever since Ohtani determined the Yankees were not on his short list, fans have turned their backs and made it about how he is soft. About how he doesn’t want to win and how he is too “chicken” to handle the spotlight that comes with playing in the Bronx.
No, the problem here isn’t Ohtani. The problem here is us.
For numerous days, we sat and praised Ohtani and his potential to play in the major leagues, all because we assumed that he would make the “right” choice. Minutes after he made an educated decision based on his wants and needs, the entire Yankees fan base turned on him.
The problem is that fans didn’t just turn on the guy they spent years fawning over. No, some fans went completely all out to defame his character and define him in a certain way, although we literally know nothing more about him besides his 100 MPH fastball and monster home runs.
Guy, this is a problem. A 23-year-old Japanese player is moving to an entirely different country to play the game he loves. Are we that blind to assume that whipping out a credit card one time would entice him enough to come play for the team in the Bronx? And if that doesn’t work, we automatically assume that something is wrong with him and his character?
That is how spoiled we’ve become and it’s not the first time. Remember when we celebrated after snagging Masahiro Tanaka from the other side of the world? Or when we dished out a monster contract to Alex Rodriguez? Or when we stole Jacoby Ellsbury from the Boston Red Sox (which has been biting us in the butt lately)?
The best of the best come to the Bronx. Even as a kid, I got used to seeing this. It’s actually become immune to me. When a big-name player is on the market, you can guarantee they will want to play in pinstripes.
But that is the problem. We’re spoiled and when something like Ohtani’s situation happens, we become sore losers. It almost becomes offensive when a player doesn’t want to come to the Bronx and the defense mechanism is to trash them.
We have to change that. As fans, we should be better than that. So what if Ohtani didn’t choose to meet with the Yankees? We still have Aaron Judge launching home runs (imagine a home run derby featuring Judge, Stanton and Ohtani!). We still have Luis Severino putting up Cy Young-worthy numbers. We still have a rocking bullpen featuring Aroldis Chapman, David Robertson and Chad Green.
Ohtani made his choice and we just have to get over it. Sure, it’s upsetting, but this is about Ohtani, not about us. It was his decision to make and he is welcome to make his own decisions about it.
We’ll likely see Ohtani at some point this season, probably on the West Coast. He won’t be wearing pinstripes but that doesn’t make him a villain.
We can support our own team without crushing the dreams of another player. Trust me, it’s possible. As fans, we have to be better than we’ve been lately.
So we’re spoiled but it’s not all our fault. It’s just what we’re used to. We can’t change that but we can change our attitudes in regards to Ohtani and any future situations. Now it’s time to take the sour attitude and focus our energy on the team we have now. Because that’s honestly the only thing that matters.