It didn't take long for Shohei Ohtani to make his mark in a much-anticipated face-off between the last two American League Most Valuable Players.
In a red-letter series on the MLB schedule, Ohtani, the 2021 MVP, led his Los Angeles Angels into Yankee Stadium to face 2022 MVP Aaron Judge and the New York Yankees.
Ohtani drew first blood in the top of the first inning. He slammed a 2-0 offering from starting pitcher Clarke Schmidt 391 feet over Judge's head and into the bullpen in right-center field to give the visitors a 2-0 lead.
The MLB Twitterverse went over the moon with Shohei Ohtani's fourth homer of the season that left the bat at 116.7 mph as the Yankee Stadium crowd sat in sheer awe.
With Ohtani's impending free-agency after this year, the Yankees are one of baseball's fan bases with realistic hopes of bringing the pitching/hitting phenomenon to their team next season.
Ohtani's prospective free agency is one of the most compelling stories in baseball history. The superstar remains absolutely mute on his preferences on where he wishes to play next season.
Among the Yankees' main competitors in possibly procuring Ohtani are the crosstown New York Mets. You can be certain that there were more than a few Mets fans keeping an eye on Ohtani's exploits against the New York Yankees this season.
The Mets are pinning their hopes of obtaining Ohtani in the free-spending ways of owner Steve Cohen. Cohen has committed roughly $364 million to their team's payroll for 2023 in hopes of bringing a World Series championship to Queens.
It has been suggested that Ohtani could become baseball's first $500 million man this coming offseason. However, if he produces another MVP season in 2023, it's possible that number could go even higher.
It's a financial stratosphere that few MLB owners dare reach. Cohen is one that just might.
In his sixth season since joining MLB after playing professionally in Japan, Shohei Ohtani continues to seize the imagination of baseball fans wherever he travels. Wherever he plays going forward, that team will be drawing in fans from far and wide to watch the once-in-a-lifetime superstar.
Yankee Stadium is even selling Shohei Ohtani jerseys in the team store this week.
Shohei Ohtani chasing a first-ever .300 in MLB in 2023
Ohtani lifted his batting average to .310 with the first-inning homer. A .268 MLB hitter, he has never hit .300 in an entire a season.