Is it okay for Mariners fans to root for Shohei Ohtani?
Heading into the 2018 season, Mariners fans were getting excited. A young phenom was set to come to the MLB. Someone who could pitch at a Cy Young level and hit with average and power, all the while with great speed on the bases as well. His name was Shohei Ohtani, and many a fan thought he was going to end up in Seattle. Instead, he ended up with a division rival and signed with the Angels.
Now, 6 seasons later, Ohtani is arguably the greatest player in the sport of baseball. A true unicorn that we haven't seen in the MLB since Babe Ruth. He might be the most well rounded and complete player to ever don a uniform. He's likeable, fun, respectful, and just seems like a joy to be around. All of this begs the question... Is it okay to root for Shohei Ohtani as a Mariners fan?
Can Mariners fans root for Shohei Ohtani?
Sorry, but I don't think we can. It's the same thing that you see with a guy like Trout. Likable, great for baseball, and an incredible player. However, he's on a division rival. It would make it easier to root against them if they had ever made the playoffs. The Angels massive failure to build around him and Trout for so long (although 2023 might be their best squad yet) isn't an excuse to root for him.
Ohtani success is Angels success, and that's something that we just can't root for. Every time he comes up to the plate, you should want to see him get out. Every time he's on the mound, you should be hoping for a line of 4 IP and 6 ER. I'm a firm believer that for anyone in your division who day in and day out can have an affect on you making the playoffs isn't someone that you can root for.
Well, there are actually a few games a year you can. Whenever he is pitching against a team that the Mariners are chasing in the playoff race, or whenever it's against the Astros. I don't ever want to see that team win a game.
So, sorry Mariners fans. You shouldn't really ever be rooting for Shohei Ohtani to do wild and amazing, incredible, never before seen things. Well... until he signs with the Mariners in the offseason and, alongside Julio Rodriguez, helps lead them to 3 World Series berths and 2 World Series rings over the next decade, that is.