The Los Angeles Angels are the smartest dumb organization in all of sports. In so many ways, they are incompetent. They are on the verge of wasting probably the two most talented baseball players in the last 20 years. They haven't won a playoff game since 2009, yet they are extremely viable from a business standpoint. I mean, who wouldn't pay to see Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani play on the same team? And I know that Mike Trout is injured right now, but the principle remains the same. They put butts in seats. From a business standpoint, that makes complete sense, so I can't be angry at the Los Angeles Angels for deciding to hold on to Shohei Ohtani. I think there are maybe two or three teams with the system to be able to make a fair trade for somebody like that, and while I understand it from the Angels' perspective, I can't help but acknowledge that it's terrible for baseball.
This is a problem that plagues baseball and only baseball. I know the Lakers didn't make the playoffs this year, but basically every season of LeBron James his career, he's not only been in the postseason but also in the finals. Steph Curry rarely has to worry about playing for a 30-win basketball team. Tom Brady hasn't had many five-win seasons in the NFL. In other sports, the best of the best end up getting their rings. That's not necessarily the case in baseball. But I'm not asking for a player like Shohei Ohtani to go somewhere and create a dynasty. Baseball is a team game. Even when talking about a player who's as good as Ohtani, one player can't carry you to World Series. I'm not asking for multiple rings, but a small part of me desperately wanted Ohtani to be traded at the deadline. It is simply better for the sport when the best players in the world are on the best teams in the world, and while I completely understand the rationale behind the Angels' logic, as somebody who is a massive fan of the sport, I hate that we have to deal with this. I know it's very hip and trendy to hate on a team like the Yankees, and I'd be lying if I haven't partaken in that bashing in the past, but Aaron Judge's potentially 60+ home run season hits a lot differently when you know that he's playing for a team that's going to win 100 games and at worst lose in the American League Championship Series.
Shohei Ohtani is incredible, and Shohei Ohtani is marketable. But marketability doesn't mean much if the squad you're a part of plays golf when October rolls around. It won't surprise me if we see Ohtani get traded sometime in the next calendar year. Unlike Mike Trout, who is sadly stuck in Anaheim due to his list of injury history and massive contract, the Angels will have options with Ohtani. He's had an incredible impact on the sport of baseball, and he deserves all the credit for that, but I can't help but wonder what kind of impact he'd have on the world of sports if he played for the Astros, Dodgers, Mets, Yankees, or Padres. The time will come in when he'll be a headliner for a team that's playing for something, but for the time being, we'll be stuck wondering what could've been. Then again, "What could've been" might as well be the slogan for the Los Angeles Angels at this point.