My Letter To Mr. Shohei Ohtani – Please Play For The Seattle Mariners

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Dear Mr. Ohtani,

Congratulations on your decision to play Major League Baseball. You have certainly had a great career as a Nippon-Ham Fighter, so it’s easy to understand how you had every major league team knocking at your door.  I see that you recently sent 23 teams packing and are now down to your final seven.  However, once you have a chance to closer evaluate the seven finalists on your list, I think you will see the decision is a far more-simple one than you could have anticipated. Let’s go through each team, from worst option to best.

Chicago Cubs

You may be attracted to their young, talented core of players and recent phase of success. But let me assure you, you don’t want to go there. First off, they play in the National League. So yes, you would get to hit on days that you pitch, but the rest of the time? Maybe one at-bat per game as a pinch hitter. If they offer to play you in the outfield, you should know something: the wall is made of brick. Looks cool, but doesn’t feel so great (I’ve been told). Speaking of the wall, one time a nice, friendly fan tried to catch a foul ball near this wall, which prevented a Cubs outfielder from potentially making an out. Cubs fans threatened his life and drove him to hide in Florida for the next decade. Can you imagine what they would do if you got into a slump? Looking at Yelp.com, local Sushi restaurants include Rollapalooza and Kitchenette. Can you feel the authenticity? It’s been made clear you want to be on the West Coast and in a small market. Chicago is neither of those, so let’s continue your search…

Los Angeles Angels (Of Anaheim?)

No disrespect to you, but the best player in the world has played here for the last seven years. And guess what? Nobody in Los Angeles really cares. He will be gone soon. Disneyland may seem like a fun off-day activity, but trust me, the lines suck and people have died there. The only Japanese player to spend more than one season here is Shigetoshi Hasegawa in the late 1990’s. Were you even born yet?  Steer clear of the palm trees and take your talents somewhere that will appreciate you.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Dodger fans hate starting pitchers so much, they don’t show up until the third or fourth inning. Can you believe that level of disrespect?  Like the Cubs, they are in the National League, so you can forget about being the DH on days you don’t pitch. As I’m sure you are aware, Los Angeles in in California, which has this crazy thing called a state income tax. Roughly 10 to 12% of your pay will be lost right off the top. The area has also had a history of earthquakes, fires, a mud-slides. Very dangerous. Think about how worried your family will be!

San Diego Padres

I understand you are looking for a small market on the west coast, but the Padres would be taking that a little too far.  Do the Padres know they’ve made this list? Certainly, their dozens of fans don’t.  San Diego is a livable city, but not if you’re a baseball player that wants to win.

San Francisco Giants

A one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco is going to cost you $3,350 per month (rentjungle.com). Factor in the income-tax we discussed, and you’re basically playing for free. And again, National League = less hitting for you. Speaking of hitting, have you seen the wall you have to hit it over in right field? The only person to routinely do that was juiced out of his mind and had to testify in front of congress because of it. That’s not a position you want to be in.  Outside of AT&T Park, one of the Giants current best players, Hunter Pence, can tell you all about the rampant crime in this town. He had his scooter stolen in 2016 while parked at the San Francisco office of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Even if you become a great player and do charitable work here, the fans will steal your ride to work.  You deserve better!

Texas Rangers

Like the Cubs, the Rangers are nowhere near the West Coast. In July and August, temperatures average 95 degrees. If that’s not enough to make you sweat, if you decide to live here you have a 1 in 25 chance of being a victim of violent or property crime. Plus, they recently traded away Yu Darvish. Also, did you know that Arlington is the largest U.S. city without a public transportation system? If you decide to walk somewhere, watch out for snakes! Texas is rampant with deadly insects, snakes, and gators. You don’t need that in your life.

Seattle Mariners

Ichiro. Iwakuma. Sasaki. Kawasaki. Johjima. Just ask your fellow countrymen who have played for the Mariners. It’s a place unlike any other for a Japanese superstar. You can go about your daily life with nobody in Seattle bothering you or knowing who you are. But when 7:10 rolls around, fans will go ape-shit at the turnstiles for a limited edition Oshei Otani Oven Mitt. You will receive an awesome nickname (Big Unit, Gar, The Kid, Big Maple, The Bear), your own cheering section (Area 51, King’s Court, Maple Grove), and a sushi roll named after you. If the team is good, fans will care about the team and root you on. If the team is bad, they won’t care. This is way better than a place like New York, where fans care no matter what and want to blast you in the tabloids. No death threats, no stolen scooters, no worries. It’s a win-win situation here in Seattle!  With only two retired jerseys, you can pick almost any number you want. Unfortunately, I see that you recently wore #11, which happens to be one of the numbers that is retired. Well, the guy that wore that will be your hitting coach and is the best designated hitter in the history of baseball, and should get into the baseball Hall of Fame this year. On days you aren’t pitching, he will teach you the art of hitting a double, shooting the shit with your teammates for an hour, and then hitting another double.

Aside from what goes on at Safeco Field, the weather is nearly identical to that of Tokyo, Uwajimaya is headquartered here, and there’s a 3.5 acre Japanese Garden that receives a 4.5/5 rating on Google. In addition, Bekins.com recently named Seattle the #1 city in America for sushi lovers. #2 on the list? Portland, Oregon, just a short drive away. The SeaTac airport is just a short jaunt across the Pacific for your family and friends to come see you play. Currently, there is no income tax in Seattle (please ignore the current blue-shaded government trying to change that), but even if there was, you could live somewhere like Bellevue.

So, Ohtani-san, I think it’s clear there’s really only one places that deserves to be your U.S. home. Steer clear of state income taxes, the National League, disinterested franchises, and deadly snakes.  Instead, come to a place where the sushi is great, Ohtani oven-mitts are possible, there are minimal threats to your safety, and you can help the franchise reach the playoffs for the first time in nearly two decades. Don’t worry about the logistics on the day you want to announce your decision. I’ve already reserved a local Boys and Girls Club and contacted Jim Gray.

See you soon,

David

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About Author

David Bigelow

David grew up in Gig Harbor, WA before heading to Spokane to pitch for the Zags. Over four seasons he reached second on the Gonzaga all-time saves list. He was also the closer for the Bellingham Bells of the West Coast League, helping them claim their first ever WCL Championship in 2014. Now living in Kirkland, WA, David and his wife enjoy hiking in the Cascades, watching sports (Go Zags, M’s, and Hawks), and exploring the coast. They have two cats, Rocco and Stu, who keep them busy and make for great entertainment. Aside from writing, other hobbies for David include coaching high school basketball and baseball, mountain biking, and counting down the days until the next Zags Baseball Alumni Weekend.

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