In a offseason that will always be defined by him signing a unprecedented 10-year, $700 million deferral-heavy contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Shohei Ohtani crossed another milestone in his MLB career when he accepted the 2023 American League MVP award on Saturday night — and delivered his acceptance speech in English.
It’s by far the most English that Ohtani has spoken in public since he moved to the U.S. to play at baseball’s highest level six years ago, when he signed with the Los Angeles Angels. Like most foreign-born MLB stars upon their arrival, Ohtani has almost always used an interpreter.
In fact, his interpreter Ippei Mizuhara has become a fan-favorite in his own right, and has also become close friends with Ohtani amid the now two-time MVP’s rise to two-way superstardom as a pitcher and hitter.
Mizuhara also joined the Dodgers after six years as an Angels team employee upon Ohtani signing with the defending National League West champions. And while Mizuhara will likely remain near Ohtani around Dodger Stadium, FOX Sports MLB analyst Ben Verlander pointed out that he must be beaming with pride watching his friend continue to develop his English skills.
Ohtani also posed with his dog, Decoy, and his new hardware. The dog’s name was a major source of speculation during Ohtani’s free agency when a rumor surfaced that it would give away what team Ohtani would sign with.
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