From his Kyle Higashioka-aided trip around the bases, to his predictable two-run shot off Clarke Schmidt in the first inning, to his jersey, which was (somewhat inexplicably) hanging in the Yankee Stadium store, Shohei Ohtani had a profound impact on an otherwise-dull 5-2 Angels win over the Yankees on Tuesday.
Naturally, his star turn -- and, hell, even his arrival in the Bronx earlier in the day -- prompted delusions of grandeur. Just like in Boston, his previous stop on the road trip, media members descended to speculate about what it might be like to cover Ohtani on a grander stage.
At Fenway, hordes flocked to the gates just to see him, which, among the masses, quickly became a reason he should team with Masataka Yoshida and join the Red Sox. Certainly, he'll make his decision based on more than just a cluster of fans, though ... right?
At Yankee Stadium, such a welcoming gesture probably would have even less of an impact. Why? Because Ohtani ruled the Yankees out of his last free agent pursuit quicker than he eliminated any other team.
Forget the Yankees' payroll commitments. Forget the near-impossibility of Hal Steinbrenner winning a bidding war with Steve Cohen (something he regularly avoids) and the Dodgers. It's hard to believe a reversal that thorough would take place on Ohtani's end.
Shohei Ohtani eliminated Yankees in 2017. Why would 2023 be different?
Brian Cashman's intention, back in 2017, was clearly to sign Ohtani. He'd put all his ducks in a row. He'd made his opinion plain. Even unrelated stories, at the time, were framed as the Yankees moving money around for Ohtani; fans on Twitter snarked that, when the Yankees acquired Michael King from the Marlins, they were really acquiring international bonus money for Ohtani.
Then, in a blink, it was over. In an almost-comical scene, Cashman rappelled down from a building and informed the gathered media that Ohtani wasn't even considering the Yankees for Round 2.
Surely, this scene couldn't get more embarrassing. Well ... we'll let the New York Post's George A. King take it from here:
"“We have been informed [Sunday] that we have been eliminated from the Ohtani sweepstakes,’’ Cashman said after repelling down 22 stories dressed as an elf."- George A. King
Don't get your hopes up. Not sure we can stomach a repeat of that.
At least Ohtani eliminated the Red Sox at the very same stage in 2017, so that didn't linger. Still, it was a great embarrassment for Cashman, who didn't get past the "Powerpoint submission" stage in a race where he'd previously been the industry favorite, and believed Ohtani had eliminated New York on sight because of the market size.
Perhaps he enjoys playing in New York more than he thought he would. Considering the way the last chase ended, though, it's hard to imagine he's done a complete 180, no matter how many Angels jerseys the Yankees sold.