While it was Shohei Ohtani who won his second unanimous American League MVP Award on Thursday, it was his dog who stole the show.
The 29 year old Japanese superstar's dog — which appears to be a beagle — remained on his lap throughout the entire MVP Awards broadcast, and even received a high-five and some well-deserved treats as Ohtani's 2023 MVP was made official by 1993 MLB Hall of Fame inductee Reggie Jackson.
The MVP and Shohei Ohtani ? pic.twitter.com/MZIVBCKOd9
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) November 16, 2023
Although we don't know the name of Ohtani's dog, no name was needed for this well-behaved puppy to go viral across social media. ESPN personality Mina Kimes — whose dog Lenny was perhaps the most famous pupper in sports media until Ohtani's dog gave Lenny some competition — quoted a picture of Ohtani and his dog and wrote, 'DO WHATEVER IT TAKES @Mariners'.
— Mina Kimes (@minakimes) November 16, 2023
There was little competition in the way of Ohtani winning his second MVP in three seasons. Despite missing the final month of the season due to an oblique injury, Ohtani still hit .304 on the year (batting over .300 for the first time in his career) with 44 home runs (which lead the AL), 20 stolen bases, 102 runs scored and 95 RBIs in 135 games. His .412 on-base percentage, .654 slugging percentage, 1.066 OPS, and 325 total bases all lead the American League, as well.
Not to mention what Ohtani accomplished on the mound. Despite his last pitching performance being on August 13th (because of what we now know is a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, which required surgery and will keep Ohtani off the mound until 2025), he still went 10-5 with a 3.14 ERA and 167 strikeouts in 132 innings.
Mina Kimes' telling the Mariners to do whatever it takes to sign Ohtani (and his dog) is, of course, a reference to Ohtani being the most desired free agent in MLB history — and is currently being courted by just about every MLB team. Kimes' beloved Mariners are one of those teams rumored to be interested, but don't appear to be a major player in the Ohtani Sweepstakes at the moment.
While Ohtani's ultimate free agency destination will be his decision, perhaps his beagle will get a say, as well. Then again, it seems that the only place where that beagle wants to be is on its owner's lap.
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