MLB makes Shohei Ohtani the face — and voice — of opening week

Angels' Shohei Ohtani runs the bases after hitting a home run.
Angels’ Shohei Ohtani runs the bases after hitting a home run during the fifth inning of a spring training game against the Dodgers at Angel Stadium on Sunday.
(Ashley Landis / Associated Press)

Shohei Ohtani, the face of baseball? Of course.

Shohei Ohtani, the voice of baseball? Here we go.

After a season of unrivaled accomplishment of pitching and hitting, Major League Baseball is deploying the Angels star as its marquee pitchman. In a 30-second ad saluting the start of the new season, the league features such stars as Ohtani, Mookie Betts and Trea Turner of the Dodgers, Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees and Juan Soto of the Washington Nationals.

Only one player speaks in the ad: Ohtani, in English.

The league also produced versions of the ad for Spanish-speaking and Japanese-speaking audiences. According to the league, the Japanese version uses subtitles — so, even there, Ohtani would be heard speaking English.


The ‘Shohei Ohtani rule’ will benefit teams beyond just the Angels and their two-way star. Here’s a look at all the new rules coming to MLB this season.

Ohtani captivated fans around the world last season, in particular taking center stage at the All-Star game. He hit and pitched in the first inning, then stayed in the game to hit — a rule adjustment so popular it now has been memorialized in his name.

Ohtani is scheduled to serve as the Angels’ starting pitcher and designated hitter Thursday, when the Angels open their season in Anaheim, against the Houston Astros.