Japanese Baseball Star Joins American Team

Category: Sports


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. sign with (someone/something) / saɪn wɪð / (idiom) – to agree to join or work for an organization by signing a contract

    The university’s star player signed with the national team as soon as he graduated.

  2. coveted / ˈkʌ və təd / (adj) – very much wanted or desired

    They finally won the coveted championship trophy.

  3. pursue / pərˈsu / (v) – to put efforts to achieve something

    He pursued his dream to be an international baseball star by moving to the United States.

  4. party / ˈpɑr ti / (n) – a person or group of people involved in a contract

    The athlete’s party explained their demands to teams who wanted to recruit him.

  5. assimilate / əˈsɪm əˌleɪt / (v) – to follow the ways of another culture in order to belong

    If you wish to assimilate into another culture, you have to learn their language and practices.


Read the text below.

Japanese baseball star Shohei Ohtani has signed with the Los Angeles Angels.

The coveted 23-year-old athlete is a two-way player who can pitch and bat, a rare talent in the sport. With his skills and records, he has been compared to 1936 Baseball Hall of Famer Babe Ruth.

As a pitcher, Ruth had a 2.55 earned run average (ERA), while Ohtani has 2.52. The ERA measures the efficiency of a pitcher, and a lower score means better performance. In addition, Ruth scored 40 home runs as a batter, while Ohtani has 48 under his belt.

Several teams pursued Ohtani. To help with his decision-making, Ohtani’s party set some conditions and requested the teams to create presentations that explain their philosophies and how they are going to use Ohtani’s talents. They also asked teams to share what they would do to help Ohtani assimilate into American culture and what facilities they would use for major league, minor league, and spring training.

It has always been Ohtani’s goal to play for the American Major League Baseball (MLB). Now, the Japanese prodigy is close to living his dream, but his pay will not be as much as what many people expect based on his abilities. This is because the MLB imposes a limit on the amount of money teams can offer to players younger than 25 years old. In an interview, however, Ohtani said that he does not care much about his pay. He also said that he chose the LA Angels because he felt a connection with them.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• If you were Ohtani, what conditions would you set for the teams pursuing you? Discuss.
• Do you support Japanese athletes playing for other countries? Why or why not?

Discussion B

• What are the difficulties of assimilating into another culture? Discuss.
• How can someone assimilate more easily into your country’s culture? Give suggestions.