The Show is going Sho Time.
Los Angeles Angels superstar Shohei Ohtani will grace the cover of Sony's MLB the Show 22 video game following his historic 2021 season. Ohtani made history in the process, becoming the first Asian athlete to be featured on the cover of a video game in the United States centered around the four major sports.
Ohtani also became the first member of the Angels to be featured on the cover of of MLB: The Show.
"I was very excited about the possibility and it actually came true," Ohtani told ESPN through an interpreter. "This game has a lot of history. It's one of the only baseball games that has been out here, so it makes me want to get better on the field and live up to the hype."
Ohtani's 2021 season was formally recognized as "historically significant" when he received the commissioner's rare Historic Achievement Award this offseason, becoming the first two-way player in MLB history with more than 10 homers, 20 stolen bases while recording 100 strikeouts and more than 10 pitching appearances. Ohtani also earned the MVP award, becoming the first player in league history to be an All-Star as both a pitcher and a hitter, finishing the season hitting .257/.372/.592 with 46 homers, 100 RBIs and 4.9 bWAR as a hitter while tallying a 3.18 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 156 strikeouts in 130⅓ innings, a 9-2 record and a 4.1 bWAR as a pitcher.
Ohtani, 27, says he hopes that his presence on the cover helps bring fans to the sport.
"There's a few type of fans," Ohtani said. "I'm sure there are fans that love to play the video game, but don't actually watch the game. Then the opposite, people that watch the game but don't play the video game. I'm trying to bring back the popularity and set an example for those watching the game. Sony and San Diego Studios, they're going the other route by making a video game trying to get the game popular that way. It's a good combination, trying to bring the popularity back as a whole."
Ohtani said he was "honored" to be the first Asian athlete on the cover of The Show.
"I know I'm sure there's a lot of Asian people that don't know me yet," Ohtani said. "Hopefully by being on the cover of The Show, you get my name out there to those people who don't know me yet."
Cover stars of MLB The Show have included Miguel Cabrera, Josh Donaldson, Adrian Gonzalez, Bryce Harper, Ken Griffey Jr., Ryan Howard, Aaron Judge, Joe Mauer, Andrew McCutchen, David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, Yasiel Puig, David Wright, Javier Báez and Fernando Tatis Jr.