Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
Back in November when he was a free agent, Shohei Ohtani announced on Instagram that he intended to donate around 60,000 baseball gloves to elementary schools in the country.
It was a grand gesture as there are approximately 20,000 elementary schools in Japan, sending about three to each school.
The baseball gloves arrived earlier this month, but not were not immediately delivered to the students. Instead, mayor of Beppu Yasuhiro Nagano put some on display at the municipal office.
This decision drew widespread criticism on social media, via The Japan Times:
A municipal government in Japan has been criticized on social media for having displayed youth baseball gloves donated by Shohei Ohtani at its office instead of delivering them to elementary school children as he had wished.
Nagano said he didn’t send the gloves to the elementary schools because he wanted the citizens of Japan to see Ohtani’s gift in person:
Yasuhiro Nagano, mayor of Beppu in southwestern Japan, told a news conference on Wednesday that he “wanted to make citizens and children happy” by displaying the gifts from the major league superstar.
Due to the disapproval, the city’s government agreed to shorten the period that the gloves were displayed and distributed them to the schools last Friday:
Given the criticism, the municipal government has shortened the period that the gloves will be displayed for and will distribute them to schools in the city on Friday.
Ohtani said his motive for donating the gloves was to make the children happy and grow the game of baseball in his native Japan.
The two-time American League MVP has given back to the community on several occasions, including during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic when he donated supplies to hospital workers.
Ohtani also donated his $150,000 earnings from the 2021 Home Run Dery to Angels employees.
Shohei Ohtani thanked Dodgers during 2023 AL MVP Award speech
Ohtani accepted his 2023 AL MVP Award at the annual Baseball Writers’ Association of America dinner in New York over the weekend and alluded to the Dodgers in his speech.
“I’m looking forward to this next phase in my career,” Ohtani said through interpreter Ippei Mizuhara.
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