Shohei Ohtani seen as international superstar on social media



Dodgers P/DH Shohei Ohtani is baseball’s “first superstar of the digital era,” as how he is perceived has been “shaped by the videos, GIFs and pictures of him that have spread around the internet during the last six-plus years,” according to Dylan Hernández of the L.A TIMES. These images have “transformed him from a baseball player to celebrity — even outside his home country.” Ohtani does not speak English publicly, communicating with American audiences “through an interpreter.”

But social media content can “say for him what he won’t say himself.” These candid and behind-the-scenes moments are “reaching more people now that Ohtani is with the Dodgers.” The Dodgers have 3.8 million followers on Instagram and 2.4 million on X.

The Angels have 1.3 million followers on Instagram and 1.3 million on X. The Dodgers also “boast more fan groups with popular social media accounts that further boost the spread of Ohtani GIFs.” The team posted a 20-second video at the start of spring training that began with Ohtani approaching RF Teoscar Hernández from behind and “placing his chin on Hernández’s shoulder.”

Hernández said in Spanish, “Tell them Buenos días.” Ohtani repeated the phrase “enthusiastically and smiled.” Ohtani spoke to reporters later that day after taking live batting practice for the first time, but he “shared more of himself in that 20-second video with Hernández than he did in the question-and-answer session” (L.A. TIMES, 3/12).


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