Ben Verlander So Excited About Shohei Ohtani That He Forgot About Jackie Robinson


Fox Sports baseball guy and Shohei Ohtani superfan Ben Verlander really stepped in it this time and probably deserves to take some crap but at the same time the human part of me feels pretty bad for him. While breaking down what Ohtani will mean for the Los Angeles Dodgers on his most recent episode of Flippin' Bats, the former Detroit Tigers prospect forgot that Jackie Robinson existed and said what happened earlier this month was the most important signing in Dodgers' history. Which, you know, can happen to the best of us even when not being actively held prisoner by the moment. The problem snowballed when the official MLB on FOX account promoted the breakout video, introducing it to a wider audience of Verlander skeptics.

It doesn't seem entirely productive to enumerate the many slings and arrows that have been trained in his direction since this caught some fire on our various brain-melting social media platforms. But it's all out there, pretty astounding in both volume and venom. And yeah, it's pretty bad. Ohtani could win seven World Series and singlehandedly save baseball and still not be as important as Robinson. Once a pundit reaches a certain level of visibility, they can't be making these types of mistakes.

On the other hand, it's the holiday season and everyone has a lot on their minds. Companies keep giving jobs to people who have little to no under memory or curiosity about what happened in the sports they covered before the year 2000 (or worse). So to me this was an error of omission, not intentionality. More funny than something to use as a thinkpiece.

Plus, look at the engagement numbers. In the end, isn't that what it's all about anyway? One could argue Verlander is breaking new ground. A pioneer not seen since, well, never mind.