I hope everyone in Yankee Universe got the gift they wished for over the holiday weekend. Shohei Otani, the great Japanese two-way player you've read about here at BYB (Read THE NEXT BABE RUTH) got some nice ones this month, and one of them could lead to a Yuletide blockbuster the next time Santa's sleigh is dropping presents over the Bronx.
Since leading the Ham Fighters to his nation's version of a World Series championship last season, the slugging 22-year-old pitching ace has been selected to his league's All-Star team as both its starting pitcher and designated hitter.
He's also been named to the national team to play in what will likely be the final World Baseball Classic. Not only that, this past week he won his country's highest sports honor -- the Grand Prize at the annual Japan Professional Sports Awards, which has no rough equivalent in this country given the way every media outlet here flings out awards like drunks hurling cheap beaded necklaces at Mardi Gras. Read HERE and HERE and HERE.
However, when MLB recently ratified its new collective bargaining agreement, its terms appeared to drastically limit his earning potential in the States until he turns 25 in 2019; postponing every baseball fan's dream of seeing this latter-day Babe Ruth requesting a release from his team via the posting system to come pitch against the big boys on this side of the pond. But apparently either money isn't everything to this baby-faced stud or the CBA's terms aren't as airtight as some think. Why? Because a few weeks back his team let it be known they would be posting him, paving the way for him to pitch for some team next season.
Please let it be one that wears pinstripes and plays on River Avenue...
So if you're like me and struggle between being naughty and nice all year, let's all try extra hard for nice in 2017. And next Christmas, maybe -- just maybe -- Santa might reward us with a big hairy arm and a big hairy bat all wrapped up in one neat package.
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