As the sweepstakes for Shohei Ohtani is starting to dwindle as the decision comes closer, there are a few things that are certain with his new contract. It will be the biggest in American sports history, the team that signs him gets the best player in the world on their roster, and reporters who cover him for their home country of Japan will have to move to wherever he lands.
The media in Japan have followed Ohtani closely, from his time playing there to his move to California to join the Angels.
“We need Ohtani,” Taro Abe, a reporter for Japanese newspaper Chinuchi Shimbun told the LA Times. “He’s not just a baseball player. He’s a rock star. Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber. Young, old, they love him. Everybody talks about Ohtani every day.”
For these Japanese reporters, not only will they have to move to Toronto or wherever Ohtani signs if it is out of the state of California. Reporters will have to get visas, which is a lengthy process that could take months to play out. Many of the reporters interviewed in the LA Times’ article mention that they have families, wives, and children, some of whom haven’t moved from Japan yet to be with their husbands. Others have children enrolled in school in the Los Angeles area. Not only could they move to a new country, but they may have to uproot their families too.
“I don’t know if I can live in Canada,” Nobuhiro Saito, another journalist said. “I’m not sure.”
Ohtani does so much for baseball and all that falls into that umbrella, but also for the economy of both the U.S. and Japan. It is estimated that he generated 1.7 billion yen last year from jersey sales, support tours, and appearing in commercials. It is estimated his whole economy is worth 45 billion yen.
“I talked to my boss and if Ohtani goes to Toronto or Chicago or another city, I think I’m going to move,” Abe said. “I’m 80 percent, 90 percent sure.”