Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani (27) reacts as he runs the bases after hitting a home run during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles on July 2, 2021 in Anaheim. David Fletcher also scored. Ohtani, the Angels’ two-way superstar, is the winner of The Associated Press’ Male Athlete of the Year award. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

By HIKARU ITO

After a historically significant 2021 season, Shohei Ohtani will appear on the cover of “MLB The Show 22.”  

This marks the first time that an Asian athlete will appear on the cover of the over 20-year-old franchise. It is also the first time in history that an Asian athlete has appeared on the cover of any major American sports video game.  

In addition, this is the first time any Angels player has appeared on the cover of “MLB The Show.”

Ohtani, 27, had an incredible 2021 season, with 100 RBI, 46 home runs, and 156 strikeouts in 130.1 innings. No other player in history has accomplished 100+ strikeouts and 10+ home runs in a single season.  

Ohtani is also the first player ever named to an All-Star team as both a hitter and a pitcher, and has proven himself to be the most successful two-way athlete since the legendary Babe Ruth. 

His 46 home runs this season along with eight triples put Ohtani in league with American greats Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Jim Rice, and Jimmie Foxx as the only players in history to accomplish that task in a single season. 

“[He] was the only obvious choice to grace the cover of ‘MLB The Show 22,’” said Ramone Russell, brand strategist at Sony’s San Diego studio in an interview with XBox.  

Ohtani told reporters that he was “honored” to be the first Asian to grace the cover of “MLB The Show 22.” He also said that he hoped that his presence would bring fans to the sport. “I’m trying to bring back the popularity and set an example for those watching the game. Sony and San Diego Studios, they’re going the other route by making a video game trying to get the game popular that way. It’s a good combination, trying to bring the popularity back as a whole.”

“MLB The Show 22” will be available April 5, on PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and, for the first time ever, Nintendo Switch.

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