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Angels’ Shohei Ohtani bluntly addresses Stephen A. Smith’s controversial comments

Angels, Stephen A. Smith, Shohei Ohtani

Back in July, Stephen A. Smith made comment on Los Angeles Angels superstar Shohei Ohtani hurting baseball’s impact by using an interpreter. It’s a controversial comment, to say the least, one that garnered tremendous criticism from almost every corner of traditional and social media. The reaction to Smith’s hot take was so intense, he was forced to backpedal.

Several months later, Ohtani has finally addressed Smith’s comments, not only as a superstar Japanese export but also as the reigning American League MVP. In a lengthy profile by GQ’s Daniel Riley on the Angels pitcher/designated hitter, Ohtani reveals his takeaway from Smith’s wild take.

“I mean, if I could speak English, I would speak English,” he says in Japanese. “Of course I would want to. Obviously it wouldn’t hurt to be able to speak English. There would only be positive things to come from that. But I came here to play baseball, at the end of the day, and I’ve felt like my play on the field could be my way of communicating with the people, with the fans. That’s all I really took from that in the end.

Ohtani may not be fluent in speaking English, but he sure can let his game do the talking for him. Last season with the Angels, he hit .257/.372/.592 to go with 46 home runs — third overall in the AL.