Major League Baseball’s (MLB) two-hit “superstar” Shohei Ohtani, 29, became the first player in big league history to be unanimously named the league’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) twice. But a puppy has been making waves in the U.S. and Japan since the award was announced.
According to the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) American League (AL) MVP voting results released on Sunday, Ohtani swept the 30 first-place votes, totaling 420 points. Ohtani received 24 second-place votes and six third-place votes, topping “runner-up” Corey Seager (Texas Rangers), who received 264 points.
Last year, Ohtani lost the MVP award to Aaron Judge (New York Yankees), who broke the 61-year-old American League record for most home runs in a season with 62. Ohtani was also a unanimous MVP winner in 2021. It was the first time a player had won the MVP award more than once in both major leagues.굿모닝토토 도메인
Ohtani celebrated his MVP win at home with his dog. After winning the award, Ohtani gave a video interview to MLB Network, and his appearance with his dog made a big splash.
Japanese media outlets such as Junichi Sports and Full Count reported a variety of reactions from fans who watched. “That puppy is so cute,” “Oh, so Ohtani has a puppy?”, “The first puppy to ever high-five a unanimous MVP in the major leagues,” “I want to be that puppy,” and “I want to be that puppy” were some of the reactions fans posted on social networking services (SNS) such as X (formerly Twitter).
USA Today wrote, “The real star of the night’s MVP presentation wasn’t Ohtani, it was the dog that joined him on the couch. “The real star of the night wasn’t Ohtani, it was the pet on the couch, and we have to talk about that adorable puppy,” reported USA Today, while KGET TV in California said, “If a team signs Ohtani in free agency this winter, they’ll be bringing this puppy along for the ride.
Japanese media outlets have expressed great interest in the mystery of the puppy’s identity, including its breed. “The breed of the protagonist who is making such a big splash seems to be a Kuikerhondze,” said Full Count. “The Kuikerhondze originated in the Netherlands and has been used for duck hunting since ancient times. It’s a rare breed. The dog’s personality is obedient to its owner, quiet and friendly. They are also playful, agile, and have good endurance.” In fact, because of their alertness, they are often used as guard dogs and are very popular as pets.
Otani’s dog’s doggy clothes have also garnered attention. According to Poolcount, Otani’s dog’s clothes cost 15,950 yen (about $138,000), and the knitwear he wears costs 74,800 yen (about $650).
Meanwhile, according to Japanese media outlets such as Sporchini Annex, Ohtani said after winning the award, “I wanted to win MVP last year, but Aaron Judge played so well. This season, both Seager and Marcus Semien did a great job, just like they did in the World Series. I wanted to keep up with (the competition), but it’s special for me personally to win MVP.”
Commenting on his performance this season, Ohtani said, “I think the two-hit balance was very good. I was performing at a higher level, and it was unfortunate that I couldn’t finish the season due to injury.” “I’m recovering well now. I hope to be ready for the start of next year’s season.”
In 2023, Ohtani appeared in 135 games as a hitter, batting .274 (151-for-497) with 44 home runs, 95 RBI, 102 runs scored, 91 walks, 143 strikeouts, 20 stolen bases, a .304 on-base percentage, a .654 slugging percentage, and a 1.066 OPS. His on-base percentage and OPS were career highs, and his 44 home runs were just two shy of his 2021 record (46). He led the major leagues in OPS and the American League in home runs.
On the mound, he went 10-5 with a 3.14 ERA in 23 games (23 starts). He also threw one complete game, the first of his career. In total, in 132 innings pitched, he allowed 85 hits (11 home runs), 50 runs (46 earned), 55 walks, 167 strikeouts, a batting average of 0.184 and a WHIP of 1.08. In his pitching career (five seasons), Ohtani is 38-19 with a 3.01 ERA. As a hitter (six seasons), he is batting .274 (2483-for-681) with 129 doubles, 29 triples, 171 home runs, 437 RBI, 428 runs scored, 351 walks, 755 strikeouts, 86 stolen bases, a 0.366 on-base percentage, a 0.556 slugging percentage, and a 0.922 OPS.
Ohtani suffered a torn medial collateral ligament (UCL) in his right elbow in late August, along with a side injury. He underwent elbow surgery in September, a near-elbow ligament splicing procedure (Tommy John surgery) under the care of Dr. Neil Elatrache. The surgery prevented him from finishing the season, but he still had a perfect season, winning the MVP award.
Ohtani is currently focusing on his post-surgery rehabilitation. If his rehab goes well, he could be ready to hit in next year’s season opener. “The final conclusion after discussions with Ohtani was to address the elbow issues, strengthen the ligaments and increase the longevity of the elbow,” said Dr. Neil Elatrache, who performed Ohtani’s surgery in September. “Ohtani should be able to hit on Opening Day in 2024 without any issues. He will be able to hit and pitch in 2025.”
There will also be a lot of interest in Ohtani’s destination this winter. Ohtani became a free agent when his contract with the Los Angeles Angels expired at the end of this season.