Shohei Ohtani, America’s favorite baseball player, is set to make history as the first Asian athlete in the U.S. to be featured on the cover of a video game.
The 27-year-old baseball superstar, who has just completed a historic 2021 season, will be the cover star of the “MLB: The Show 22” video game, reported ESPN.
— MLB (@MLB) January 31, 2022
Produced by Sony’s San Diego Studios, “MLB: The Show” is the only Major League Baseball simulation video game on the market. Ohtani’s appearance on the cover is also historic for his team, as this will be the first time a Los Angeles Angel has ever landed on the game franchise’s cover.
“I was very excited about the possibility, and it actually came true,” said Ohtani to ESPN via an interpreter. “This game has a lot of history. It’s one of the only baseball games that has been out here, so it makes me want to get better on the field and live up to the hype.”
The 2021 American League Most Valuable Player (MVP) awardee said he hopes the sport will generate more fans through his “The Show” cover.
“There’s a few type[s] of fans,” Ohtani noted to ESPN. “I’m sure there are fans that love to play the video game, but don’t actually watch the game. Then the opposite, people that watch the game but don’t play the video game. I’m trying to bring back the popularity and set an example for those watching the game.”
Ohtani considers being the first Asian athlete on the cover of “The Show” an honor and sees it as an opportunity for other Asians to get to know him.
“I know I’m sure there’s a lot of Asian people that don’t know me yet,” Ohtani was quoted as saying. “Hopefully by being on the cover of The Show, you get my name out there to those people who don’t know me yet.”
Ohtani’s “The Show” cover comes after a stellar performance throughout the 2021 season, hitting 46 home runs with 100 runs batted in (RBI) and going 9-2 with 156 strikeouts as a starting pitcher.
Ohtani was named 2021’s “Player of the Year” by Associated Press, Baseball Digest, Baseball American and Sporting News. He was also last year’s most searched Baseball-Reference player page in nearly half of the United States, as NextShark previously reported.
Previous “MLB: The Show” cover stars include Fernando Tatís Jr. (2021), Javier Báez (2020), Bryce Harper (2019) and Aaron Judge (2018), among others.
“MLB: The Show 22” will be released on April 5, 2022 for the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5, as well as Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S and, for the first time in the franchise, the Nintendo Switch.
Featured Image via Playstation