After his hot start in the league and seeming ability to actual do it all, the obvious joke is that we do not deserve Shohei Ohtani. He’s pretty great, as good as promised actually, and now it turns out he’s extremely good hearted as well.
Before the Angels’ game against the Royals on Thursday night, Ohtani took time to sign autographs for assembled fans who are already smitten with his two-way game. Not all baseball players do that between batting practice and game time, but it wasn’t entirely out of the ordinary.
What he did next was though.
You can see the entire story on the timeline of Yahoo’s Jeff Passan, but it all revolves around the utterly adorable 6-year-old Leo Gaustello.
This is Leo Guastello. He is 6 years old. And the story of how he got this bat is wonderful. pic.twitter.com/5Bo6RhnYYd— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) April 12, 2018
Throughout Ohtani signing autographs, Gaustello was asking him if he could have one of his bats over and over again. Once his translator let him know what was going on, Ohtani chuckled and signed a ball for Gaustello before heading back into the clubhouse to get ready for the game.
Except the ball wouldn’t be all Gaustello got, as Ohtani came back out and gave him a bat after all — complete with his name on it.
Not to get too sappy or earnest, but those are the kinds of memories that actually last forever. Ohtani might drop off (hopefully not, God willing) but once his career ends this kid will think back on how kind a player he was and how willing he was to engage with a young fan at this level, especially only a few weeks into the season in a new league and in a new home for him.
This is the kind of story that people tell at retirement ceremonies or Hall of Fame inductions. Ohtani seems to be committed to endearing himself of fans of all ages so far and he’s doing a great job of it.