shohei ohtani
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees welcomed Shohei Ohtani and the Los Angeles Angels to town for a three-game set starting on Tuesday night. Clarke Schmidt immediately surrendered a two-run homer to Ohtani in the first inning, which sparked an eventual 5-2 win for the visitors.

We’ve spent a lot of time in recent days talking about how the Mets are seen as a favorite to land Ohtani next winter in free agency. Heck, one Mets fan already had a custom jersey made for when the news becomes official (which is a stretch).

However, the two-way superstar told the Yankees back in 2017 he couldn’t see himself playing in New York. And while part of that may still be true, it sounds like his stance on the East Coast has softened. That’s good news for the Mets, but also for the Yankees.

It feels unlikely that general manager Brian Cashman and owner Hank Steinbrenner would be comfortable with whatever Ohtani’s free-agent price tag would be. But if he becomes available at the trade deadline? You better believe they’ll be kicking the tires on a potential deal. One thing they won’t have to worry about is whether or not the 2021 AL MVP likes playing at Yankee Stadium.

In a rare postgame interview with reporters on Tuesday night, Ohtani discussed how much he enjoys playing in the Bronx (quotes via

It’s a beautiful field with passionate fans. I always look forward to playing here. I’ve had some really fun times.

This is interesting because when looking at Ohtani’s numbers at Yankee Stadium, they’re not great. He’s hit four homers as a batter, but it includes a triple slash of .154/.250/.487. He’s also made two starts on the mound, which has led to 11 runs allowed on 10 hits (three homers), five walks, and three strikeouts in 3.2 innings.

When reminded of his numbers (like he needs to be reminded — baseball players remember just about everything), he said this:

I don’t really follow my numbers on each stadium, so I didn’t have a bad impression about this field. I’m glad we got the first win in the series. I just want to turn the page and get another one tomorrow.

Ohtani chatting with the media was rare because he typically only speaks after he pitches. So why did he break his own protocol? Randy Miller of shared what one of the Japanese members said about it:

Ohtani’s in a good mood because he likes Yankee Stadium.

So, read into these comments as you will. While it’s now well-established that Ohtani enjoys playing in the Bronx, what about the rest of New York? The man hasn’t experienced one bit of it:

I actually haven’t stepped outside of a hotel in New York, so I can’t give you an answer.

If he’s still playing for the Angels, Ohtani will come back to New York in August to face the Mets. That’ll be his first time playing in Queens, so we’ll see what he thinks of Citi Field and its monstrous new scoreboard.

You can reach Matt Musico at You can follow him on Twitter: @mmusico8.

Matt Musico is an editor for ESNY. He’s been writing about baseball and the Mets for the past decade. His work has been featured on numberFire, MetsMerized Online, Bleacher Report, and Yahoo! Sports.