Shohei Ohtani has won numerous awards this year, including two in the company of a furry friend that made its national television debut with a flourish.
When he earned his second career MVP honor, Ohtani was sitting with his beloved dog, who stole the show as his superstar owner was announced as the winner. And as Ohtani prepared to comment on his Players Choice Awards nod, a black cat spontaneously hopped into the room through the half-open Dutch door behind him.
Mid-sentence, Ohtani turned around, saw the feline fan and began to laugh. Later, the cat was brought back into the room to officially meet the planet’s greatest baseball talent. The cat certainly seemed a bit starstruck, but it did manage to embrace Ohtani with its right paw.
Other winners of this year’s Players Choice Awards, which carry particular distinction because they are voted on by the winners’ peers, include Ronald Acuña Jr. (Overall Player of the Year and NL Outstanding Player), Gerrit Cole (Outstanding AL Pitcher), Blake Snell (Outstanding NL Pitcher), Gunnar Henderson (Outstanding AL Rookie), Corbin Carroll (Outstanding NL Rookie), Liam Hendriks (AL Comeback Player) and Cody Bellinger (NL Comeback Player).
Perhaps in the future, an additional category will be added -- maybe “Outstanding Animal Companion,” or something of that nature.