The Point

The Point

The Point

A New Age in the MLB

How Recent Signings have Impacted the Asian-American Community

In a groundbreaking turn of events in December 2023, Major League Baseball’s landscape witnessed a seismic shift. 

Specifically, many Asian players shattered records and ascended to unprecedented heights in terms of salaries and recognition. 

Among the notable signings were Shohei Ohtani’s staggering $700 million contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Yoshinobu Yamamoto becoming the highest paid pitcher in MLB with a monumental $325 million deal, and Jung Hoo Lee securing a substantial $113 million contract with the San Francisco Giants.

These are some major developments for the MLB, and for baseball players of Asian descent. These developments represent more than just impressive numbers on contracts. 

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“When I heard Ohtani had signed with the Dodgers, I thought it was awesome,” said freshman Lucas Kim. 

“Everyone was talking about it, including my close friends and family, and I saw him on everyone’s stories on social media. Not only was it very exciting, but I felt it was also a big stepping stone for the Asian American community.”

This sentiment is echoed by many, with news sources highlighting this as a significant milestone. 

“The fact we’ve had someone become the face of MLB is an incredible move forward for the Asian and the Asian American community,” Stanley Thangaraj said, an authority on the impact of sports on Asian Americans and the author of “Desi Hoop Dreams: Pickup Basketball and the Making of Asian American Masculinity.”

The significance of these record-breaking contracts extends beyond the realm of sports. 

It signifies a crucial step forward in breaking down barriers and challenging preconceived notions about Asian players in professional baseball. 

The MLB has always looked globally to find talent, including many Latin American countries such as the Dominican Republic and Venezuela. 

However, it is only recently that MLB ams have allocated more resources to scouting talent at a younger age in Asia. 

With such young Japanese stars as Roki Sasaki, Munetaka Murakami, and others expected to join the MLB in the near future, such investments appear to have been wise. 

The surge of acceptance and recognition prompts a reflection on the evolving dynamics within the sport. 

This event serves as the biggest among many stepping stones for the Asian American community. 

As the achievements of Ohtani, Yamamoto, and Lee continue to reverberate, they may just be the tip of the iceberg, signaling a promising future where talent knows no boundaries, and diversity in baseball becomes the norm rather than the exception. 

Looking ahead to the upcoming season, December 2023 will undoubtedly be remembered as a transformative month. 

The historic contracts signed leave people pondering broader implications. 

“Could this newfound recognition and acceptance pave the way for increased opportunities for homegrown Asian American ball players?” junior Kate Fukushima said. 

Only time will tell, but one thing is certain: the landscape of MLB is changing.

About the Contributor
Hailey Kim, Social Media/Reporter