It’s possible to undervalue the role of the leader in professional sports.
Before a game, a true leader’s words or gestures can occasionally alter the approach, plan, and level of motivation on his team.
A few days before the MLB season began in 2023, the World Baseball Classic was where Los Angeles Angels star Shohei Ohtani made the transition from outstanding player to undisputed leader.
Before the decisive match between Japan and the United States, Ohtani’s pregame address in which he claimed they couldn’t defeat the Americans if they admired them allowed us relive that moment thanks to Talkin Baseball.
This is what transpired.
According to Japan manager Hideki Kuriyama, before playing the US in the championship game, Ohtani translator Ippei Mizuhara provided Mike Trout-signed balls for the players.A participant requested one. For everyone, Trout signed. Then Ohtani delivered his you can’t beat them if you admire them statement, according to a tweet from Talkin Baseball.
Japan manager Hideki Kuriyama says Ohtani translator Ippei Mizuhara brought Mike Trout signed balls for players before facing US in the final, per @kokonoshima
A player asked for one. Trout signed for everyone. Then Ohtani said his “you can’t beat them if you admire them” speech pic.twitter.com/7jPu3SVlgc
Talkin Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) May 9, 2023
Ohtani, the tournament MVP, had a spectacular relief appearance and ended the game by striking out Trout.
The Japanese players paid attention to their captain at that point in the speech, ceased emphasizing a signed ball, and entered the final with the desire to win and give their nation its third WBC trophy.
They succeeded in doing so, defeating a group of stars, MVPs, and players from the big leagues.
That was the day Ohtani’s legacy reached a new height.
He demonstrated to the entire world not only why he is wonderful.
He had a fantastic World Baseball Classic, is having a fantastic major league season, and will receive a huge contract after the World Series.
Everything was earned.