Explosion of curses at Shohei Ohtani explained as “a crime of passion” by Red Sox reliever Adam Ottavino
Before Shohei Ohtani came to the United States, Red Sox reliever Adam Ottavino spent his free time on YouTube, searching for the latest videos of the two-way player’s dominance in Japan.
Ottavino considers himself a “big fan of Ohtani”, which made it even stranger to see him mock Ohtani after registering the final of a Red Sox victory over the Angels last Monday.
With the run equal to second and the winning run to first, Ottavino induced a sharp ground blow in the shift to get Ohtani out for the game final.
The NESN show caught Ottavino lagging behind Ohtani, waving him goodbye and appearing to say, “Happy birthday, (expletive).”
Ottavino admitted he was caught up in when he was asked about it on Saturday.
“I feel like I’m guilty of a crime of passion over there,” Ottavino told the Herald. “It’s not a Shohei thing… A huge fan of him.” But in this match, I didn’t pitch very well. I went out and didn’t do what I had to do. I walked the first batter on tight pitches. I was frustrated with the referee, then I was frustrated with myself, and frustrated with the change, then I found myself in the only situation I told myself not to access, which was the in-game match with striking Ohtani.
“At that point, I had to take a deep breath and go to a dark, deep place and dig. It was a place of anger to go into that. I knew it was his birthday, and I knew everyone wanted him to have a hit. My attitude was, “I’m not kidding his birthday and I’m going to bring him out.” Everything I said was not intended for him. I was just screaming in nowhere country. And somehow they read my lips.
Video clips Ottavino’s shouting at Ohtani were broadcast on social media this week, especially after Ohtani returned to pitch seven solid innings for the win the following night and then hit a key home run in another Angels win the next day. .
When asked if he had contacted Ohtani, Ottavino replied, “No, because I’m not sorry. It really wasn’t directed at him. No one heard me. He didn’t hear me. It was just the fact that we now have detectives on the Internet reading people’s lips.
“But I say crazy stuff all the time. It’s just trying to get into a mental zone to do my job. I certainly didn’t mean to disrespect. I guess it was disrespectful, so I felt a little bad. But at the same time, I was doing whatever I had to do to get it out of myself and get the job done for my team.
Red Sox fans tend to love it when their players show passion on the pitch. Ottavino said it was something new for him. At 35 and in his 11th major league season, he has learned to channel his anger.
“If you look at my career, I really never show any emotion,” he said. “It’s probably the first year that a lot of things have come out of me, due to some circumstances with how I ended up here (via trading with the Yankees) and the role I’m in now. I’m just trying to learn from my past mistakes by being too kind and a little too passive.
“This year I’d rather lean on the side of being meaner and dig a little deeper and try to get things out of me that maybe weren’t there before. It’s just me trying to get started and do my job. It really is that simple.
It has worked so far, as Ottavino ranks near the top of almost every major StatCast category. When it comes to inducing weak contact, arguably no reliever in baseball has been better.
After the Yankees traded him to rivals as part of a pay cut, Ottavino has a 2.75 ERA and seven saves in Boston.
“I haven’t started very well all season,” he said. “I thought at first I was a little ugly. Then I picked up the pace and been good enough to limit my damage ever since. Could still be better.
“I made some adjustments. I throw harder because of some mechanical strength training adjustments during the offseason. I throw a different type of fastball sometimes, and a four-seam ball that I haven’t had for a few years and it gave me a different dimension. I am able to try several different strategies. So I think I made some progress in the offseason, but I’m looking to be better in the second half.