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American League MVP Shohei Ohtani: Myth in the Making



Baseball player batting

An All-Star at the plate and on the mound, American League MVP Shohei Ohtani was the biggest story in sports in 2021 (sorry, Brady), claiming AP Male Athlete of the Year and doing things on the diamond no one’s seen since Babe Ruth. Here’s why the Japanese phenom’s two-way domination is just getting started.

Those 46 Hours Weren’t Flukes

There are 30 MLB teams, with a total of 780 players active on Opening Day. Ohtani is one of just six to manage a 119-mph exit velocity for a home run, powering moonshots as far as 470 feet. Although eliminated in the first round in the 2021 Home Run Derby, he blasted six dingers over 500 feet, the most ever in a Derby.

Neither Were the 156 KS

As a pitcher, Ohtani averaged 10.8 strikeouts per nine innings thanks to a fastball that tops 101 mph and what might be baseball’s nastiest pitch, a splitter that opponents hit .087 against, going 11 for 127 while striking out 77 times in 2021. That’s a large enough sample size from which to draw conclusions of continued dominance.

TONY GUTIERREZ/AP (left); ASHLEY LANDIS/AP (right) / Shutterstock

Slump-Busting Speed

On the base paths Ohtani averages 28.8 ft/ sec., but accelerates to 30 ft/sec. to beat out infield hits, turn doubles into triples (he tied for the Major League lead in 2021) and even steal home. Meaning he’s one of baseball’s most powerful and quickest players.

Shohei Ohtani Is Built to Last

Ohtani has recently added muscle to improve durability. This led to Instagram videos of him deadlifting 495 pounds and Hall of Famer Chipper Jones declaring Ohtani has “one of the best baseball bodies I’ve ever seen.” “He’s Adonis,” Chipper added, before moaning and losing consciousness.

Trout’s Return

Why did anyone pitch to Babe Ruth when he hit 60 HRs in 1927? Because Lou Gehrig was behind him. In 2021, Ohtani lacked an Iron Horse. That’s about to change. After only 36 games in 2021, three-time MVP Mike Trout returns, meaning opponents might suddenly see Shohei as the lesser of two evils.

It’s Been Done Before

Negro League legend Wilber “Bullet Joe” Rogan’s stats are incomplete, but what we know is nuts. In 1922, Rogan reached double figures in wins (14), HRs (15) and steals (16) in 74 games while hitting .369 and posting a 2.83 ERA. Six seasons later he was still killing it at 10-2 on the mound and batting .348.

Ohtani Hitting 2021

Plate Appearances: 639
Batting Average: .257
On-Base Percentage: .372
Slugging: .592

Ohtani Pitching 2021

Batters Faced: 533
Batting Average Allowed: .207
On-Base Allowed: .286
Slugging Allowed: .351

Baseball player throwing pitch
ALBERT PENA/CSM / Shutterstock

Both Ways Broke Babe

Babe Ruth was a great pitcher and better hitter, just not simultaneously. In 1916, he led the AL with a 1.75 ERA but hit just three HRs. In 1919, the last season he regularly pitched, he drilled 29 homers, but his strikeouts dropped from 4.7 per nine innings to just 2 and he went from holding batters to a .201 average to .294. Where even the Bambino is overwhelmed, proceed with caution.

Injury Bug

In 2021, Ohtani made 23 starts as a pitcher. He managed only 17 his previous four seasons combined, including just five in his last season in Japan in 2017. In addition to Tommy John, he had surgeries on his right ankle and left knee. It may be a struggle just staying in the rotation.

Pitchers Will Avoid Him

At the 2021 All-Star break, Ohtani had 33 home runs. After: 13. Why? If a guy leads the Angels in homers and slugging percentage … maybe avoid pitching to him? That’s exactly what opposing pitchers did, with Ohtani tying an MLB record by walking 11 times in one three-game stretch.

Lack of Support for Shohei Ohtani

Ohtani led his team in HRs, RBIs, runs, total bases and walks as a batter, plus wins, innings pitched and strikeouts pitching. From this we conclude: 1. Ohtani had a helluva season. 2. Less so every other Angel. This team hasn’t made the playoffs since 2014. This should be helped by Trout’s return, except…

Trout Outs

Mike Trout has been the greatest player of his generation. His one weakness? Health. He played 36 games in 2021, knocked out by a calf strain. He hasn’t played over 140 games since 2016. He’s only 30, but injuries are increasingly a pattern for a guy who didn’t appear on the DL until his seventh season.

Losing Limitations

Ohtani stayed healthy in 2021 but the Angels shut down his pitching anyway. Why? Same reason Trout didn’t rush back to the lineup: no shot at the postseason, so no reason to take a risk. It’s not just about finally seeing Ohtani on baseball’s biggest stage; if the Angels don’t contend, he may not go on-stage at all.

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How to Explore the Best of West Virginia’s State Parks and Forests This Fall | Men’s Journal



How to Explore the Best of West Virginia’s State Parks and Forests This Fall | Men's Journal

2. Cacapon Resort State Park

West Virginia’s Eastern Panhandle remains a popular escape thanks to its epic scenery, historic points of interest, and convenient proximity to hubs like Baltimore and Washington, D.C. This captivating region is also home to Cacapon Resort State Park. Tucked away in a folded mountain ridge, this park encompasses more than 6,000 acres and tends to lure lovebirds, history buffs, daredevils, and families. A visit here is like a choose-your-own-adventure getaway. Whether you’re chasing a wild, untamed experience or seeking a more laid-back, restorative vibe, you’re bound to find it here. Bonus: It’s only about an hour from the Beltway.

What to do: For a rugged retreat, take advantage of the park’s challenging single-track biking trails, marked by mountain switchbacks and varying terrain. Hikers can take off on nine different trails that wind over 23 miles. Trek up to the Cacapon Mountain observation deck (one of the state’s most Instagrammable spots) to get jaw-dropping overlooks of West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania all at once. You can also explore the park on horseback. Triple-C Outfitters is a family-run riding stable that’s been offering guided tours in the region for more than two decades. Golfers flock to the park to play the 18-hole championship course, which features 73 sand bunkers and a commanding double green that’s over 100 yards wide. Designed by famed golf course architect Robert Trent Jones, Sr., it ranks among the top 130 best-designed courses in the country. You can also grab a few buddies for some friendly competition. Game courts for tennis, basketball, sand volleyball, and even wobble clay shooting are available.

Where to stay: Searching for a sophisticated stay? The recently renovated 124-room Cacapon Resort is the newest lodge in the West Virginia State Parks System. The luxury property offers indoor and outdoor dining plus the full-service Healing Waters Spa. Fun fact: The area is known for its rejuvenating mineral springs and the name “Cacapon” is derived from a Shawnee word meaning “medicine waters.” The park also has a collection of cabins in four different styles to customize your stay: Vacation, Legacy, Classic, and Economy. The advantages depend on which category you book, but they all offer the basics, like running water, electricity, fully equipped kitchens, and showers. There’s also The Old Inn, a palatial 12-room cabin that sleeps up to 32 people. Its impressive claim to fame is being the very first lodge in the West Virginia State Parks System.

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Best Adults-Only Resorts for a Kid-Free Getaway



Chatham Inn, Relais & Châteaux in Chatham, MA

[from $2,750 per night;]

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Chatham Inn

3. Chatham Inn, Relais & Châteaux in Chatham, MA

For another Relais & Châteaux jewel, head to Cape Cod. This 18-room, adults-only property is a postcard-perfect getaway. Spend relaxing afternoons strolling around the historic environs (the village of Chatham was established in 1712), scoping out lighthouses, hanging on the beach, and biking or boating the day away with your loved one. No trip to Chatham Inn is complete without a meal at Cuvée, run by 3 Michelin Star-awarded chef Isaac Olivo, for a tasting menu that melds together European technique with coastal flavor.

[from $349 per night;]

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Triple Creek Ranch in Darby, Montana
Triple Creek Ranch

4. Triple Creek Ranch in Darby, Montana

Head to the majestic Bitterroot Valley outside Darby Montana, to this adults-only ranch amid towering pines below a 10,000-foot mountain. There, you’ll stay in a private cabin as you indulge in fine wines and high-mountain fare (think Montana huckleberries, fiddlehead ferns, and rattlesnake sausage). Partake in hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, fly-fishing, panning for sapphires (yes, really), and other alpine adventures. Throughout the lodge and cabins, be sure to feast your eyes on the beautiful collection of Western paintings and sculptures. There are works by classic greats like Charles M. Russell and Frederic Remington, and contemporary standouts like William Matthews and Oleg Stavrowsky.

[from $1,300 per night;]

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