A unicorn is usually defined as "a mythical animal generally depicted with the body and head of a horse with long flowing mane and tail and a single often spiraled horn in the middle of the forehead."
In this space, we're going to discuss (and try to analyze) what mind-boggling efforts and accomplishments the Los Angeles Angels' two-way star puts together on a week-to-week basis — because it's the right thing to do.
Yes, we must highlight the greatness that is unfolding before our eyes. The world doesn't deserve Shohei Ohtani, but he somehow exists — and we should be talking about him as much as possible.
What did Shohei Ohtani do on Monday? Deliver an entertaining Home Run Derby performance in a battle with Juan Soto
Considering that Ohtani was one of the favorites to win the Derby, his early exit at the hands of Juan Soto was disappointing, but the two of them put on a show nonetheless.
In typical dramatic Ohtani fashion, the unicorn roared back from a slow start to end the first round of his matchup tied with Soto with 22 homers. The two stars then tied AGAIN, moving to a sudden-death round, where Ohtani ultimately fell, 31 total homers to 28. Amazingly, Ohtani hit SIX 500-foot home runs and 15 475-foot home runs, both records in a single round since 2015 (H/T: CBS Sports).
— MLB (@MLB) July 13, 2021
Even with the loss, Ohtani's star power was in full effect throughout the entire event, with fellow players and big-name guests all lining up for pictures and to watch him perform.
What did Shohei Ohtani do on Tuesday? Get the W in his first All-Star game
The final stat line isn't anything to write home about. Ohtani had two at-bats, both scorching groundouts (he should've gotten a third at-bat, but that's neither here nor there). He started the game for the American League on the mound, delivering a 1-2-3 inning that included getting returning hometown hero Nolan Arenado to ground out (in an at-bat that featured two 100 mph offerings).
That might not seem like a huge deal, but consider that this was Ohtani's first All-Star Game, having to pitch against Arenado, Max Muncy, and Fernando Tatis Jr., the day AFTER he was in an exciting Home Run Derby matchup with Juan Soto, AFTER AFTER what was no doubt an exhausting first half of the season.
Just so we're clear, Shohei Ohtani in the last 24 hours:
• hit 28 HR in the HR Derby
• hit a 513-foot HR
• batted leadoff in the AS Game
• started the AS game on the mound
• threw 100.2-mph fastball
• 1 IP, 0 runs, 0 hits
• earned the win as the pitcher for the AL pic.twitter.com/IMXqlgw3Ej
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) July 14, 2021
(I'd be curious to know how much Ohtani has slept the past few weeks).
In the end, Ohtani can add an All-Star victory to a resume that seems to get more and more legendary by the day.
Well, unless Ohtani goes through a serious cold spell or Vladimir Guerrero Jr. turns things up a (huge) notch, we have officially reached the "There's no value anymore" stage of betting on the unicorn for the AL MVP.
At -350, you'd have to bet $350 to win $100. Guerrero is in second place at +220 (which is great value for the Blue Jays star who still has a shot at the Triple Crown).
To put things into perspective, you could get an Ohtani futures MVP ticket at +1400 odds back in April. Three months later, Ohtani has turned plus money into heavy chalk. In other words, oddsmakers are saying Ohtani is the lock for the award with a little over two months left in the regular season.
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