Shohei Ohtani

Shohei Ohtani had a clear message for his Japanese teammates Tuesday night before their World Baseball Classic championship game against Team USA.

In short, he told them to play their game and don’t be awestruck by a team that features superstars such as Mike Trout, Trea Turner, Mookie Betts and Nolan Arenado.

“Let’s stop admiring them. … If you admire them, you can’t surpass them,” Ohtani said. “We came here to surpass them, to reach the top. For one day, let’s throw away our admiration for them and just think about winning.”

That admiration goes both ways, of course. How many Team USA players were thinking about Ohtani before the game and dreading facing him at the plate or on the mound in crunch time?

Baseball fans, even those pulling for Team USA, loved Ohtani’s speech.

[Dylan Hernandez; Photo Credit: Dylan Hernandez]

About Arthur Weinstein

Arthur spends his free time traveling around the U.S. to sporting events, state and national parks, and in search of great restaurants off the beaten path.