Shohei Ohtani, aka "Shotime," never fails to make headlines.
On August 1, Hiroyuki Sanada, the Japanese actor and martial artist, attended the Los Angeles premiere of his action comedy "Bullet Train." In an interview over the phone, Hiroyuki Sanada had only good things to say about the two-way baseball phenomenon Shohei Ohtani. Ohtani currently plays with the Los Angeles Angels as pitcher, designated hitter, and outfielder.
Shohei played in Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters from 2013 to 2017. He signed with Los Angeles Angels and moved over to U.S. Major League Baseball on December 8, 2017. He currently ranks among the MLB's most recognizable players.
"With his 118th home run, Shohei Ohtani passes Ichiro Suzuki for second-most home runs in MLB by a Japanese-born player!" - Los Angeles Angels
Hiroyuki Sanada feels Shohei is a classic role model for the youth.
"He has a great talent, of course. And then he has a great manner, in the stadium or off or with fans. He’s very polite and a good model for the young generation."
"Hiroyuki Sanada, the Japanese actor, martial artist and sword master, has sliced and diced his way through “Mortal Kombat,” “Westworld” and “Avengers: Endgame” and made it look easy." - The Japan Times
It is not the first time somebody has complimented Shohei for his behavior. He has a solid reputation for being a polite and humble person.
Apart from complimenting Shohei Ohtani, Hiroyuki Sanada opened up about his love for baseball
During the phone interview, Hiroyuki Sanada also openly professed his love for baseball as a child. Hiroyuki revealed that he played as a catcher in Japan when he was eight years old.
"I started baseball when I was 8 or 9 and mostly played catcher."
Sanada's childhood experience may contribute to his admiration of the current-day superstar. Last year, Shohei Ohtani won the American League MVP unanimously, and he is expected to repeat the feat in 2022.
"The only way to close out a historic season. Shohei Ohtani is your unanimous 2021 American League MVP." - MLB
If he wins the American League MVP twice in a row, Ohtani will see sizeable offers from various MLB franchises when his current contract expires.
In 2022, Shotime will obtain a base salary of $5.5 million. However, as his contract with the Angels ends in 2023, he is set to become a free agent and can sign with any MLB organization.