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Bambino 2.0

The last person to do what Shohei Ohtani is scheduled to do on Monday night was Babe Ruth . . . 100 years ago

April 26, 2021

When Shohei Ohtani first signed for the Los Angeles Angels as a mythical two-way player from the Far East with an ace arm and parking-lot power, baseball fans couldn’t help themselves. Faced with something the modern game had never seen, we were forced to look back for precedent, and when we did we all saw the same guy:

Babe Ruth.

It was (and remains) an absurd comparison. The two might as well play different sports. Ohtani would mop the floor with Ruth in 10 of 10 athletic scenarios, and Ruth did more for the game of baseball with the point of his index finger than Ohtani could ever hope to over the course of his entire career. And yet, despite all that, on Monday night Ohtani will take the mound as the starting pitcher against the Texas Rangers while simultaneously leading the MLB in home runs, and in the entire history of professional baseball, there is only one other man who did the same.

Can you guess who that was?

The comparison is still ridiculous. Any sports comparison that spans two months short of century is. But it gets less ridiculous with every Rawlings-sized hole Ohtani punches in the ozone layer. He’s up to seven on the year now, and will have to go on the tear of all tears if he wants to get to 19 by June 13th. If he somehow gets there (or even close), however, and finds himself in line for another start, get ready. Bambino 2.0 might have finally arrived.