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Shohei Ohtani doesn’t play for the New York Yankees. The Yankees say they know this.
You can decide for yourself whether to believe them.
But you should be aware that while Ohtani doesn’t play for the Yankees, the Yankees have made his jersey available in their own store of official Yankees merchandise, located inside the stadium.
Ohtani, of course, is a star with the Los Angeles Angels. So with the Angels in town, the Yankees probably figured … why not? We might be able to make some money off the other guy.
The Yankees are selling Shohei Ohtani jerseys inside their own team store. I’ve never seen this before. https://t.co/ORCXufn9Nh
— Soto ⚾️ (@SotoP_23) June 1, 2022
So what’s the real strategy here? Darryn Alpert of Larry Brown Sports did a nice job of trying to explain it this way:
Ohtani’s popularity obviously transcends all borders and team boundaries. The Yankees also have a strong contingent of fans from Japan, owed in part to the Japanese players they have rostered over the years like Hideki Matsui, Ichiro Suzuki, and Masahiro Tanaka. But it is still pretty odd to be selling an opponent’s jerseys at your own team store, especially while playing a series against said opponent.
That’s the most logical philosophy. Another is (drumroll, please) that this may be the Yankees’ way of trying to recruit the guy.
After all, if there’s a star playing for another team, the Yankees long for him. That’s nothing new. It’s just the Yankee Way, and it’s been that way since the beginning of time (or at least since the beginning of baseball).
So this just may be a way to get an early start on the recruiting process. In that sense, maybe it’s not such a terrible idea. Unless, of course, everyone shows up to the game wearing a jersey that represents the other team.