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Baseball Phenom Shohei Ohtani Sits Down for Exclusive Interview With FOX Sports' Ben Verlander

Baseball Phenom Shohei Ohtani Sits Down for Exclusive Interview With FOX Sports' Ben Verlander

The special premieres Tuesday, Oct. 18.

FOX Sports' award-winning baseball personality and star of the podcast FLIPPIN' BATS, Ben Verlander, sits down with international baseball phenom and Los Angeles Angels pitcher/designated hitter, Shohei Ohtani, for an exclusive all-access interview and in-depth conversation about Ohtani's unique path to superstardom, the network announced today.

SEARCHING FOR SHOHEI: AN INTERVIEW SPECIAL, a 60-minute special feature produced for FOX Sports Films by award-winning sports media company Religion of Sports, premieres Tuesday, Oct. 18, on FS1 following the network's live MLB Postseason coverage, and will be available across FOX Sports' digital platforms, including FOXSports.com and the FOX Sports app.

"FOX Sports Films is excited to showcase Shohei Ohtani's incredible story and authentically celebrate the impact he's making on the game of baseball around the world," said Barry Nugent, Vice President, Development and Original Programming, FOX Sports. "This project is special because it's the result of a great relationship that's been built over the years between Ben and Shohei culminating in this one-of-a-kind interview."

"Red Sox fan first. Shohei fan forever," said Gotham Chopra, Religion of Sports' co-founder. "This is not just a baseball player. This is an icon. Working with Shohei and Ben is everything RELIGION OF SPORTS is about and we couldn't be more thrilled to be collaborating with him on this special project."

Chronicling Ohtani's upbringing in Japan and continuing through present day as Major League Baseball's reigning American League MVP, SEARCHING FOR SHOHEI intimately details Ohtani's origin story and unique path to becoming one of the game's biggest stars. Throughout the interview, Verlander, in parallel with his one-on-one discussion with Ohtani, shares his own first-hand experience from a 10-day visit to Japan where he takes in the culture and disciplined lifestyle that shaped Ohtani into THE PLAYER he is today: MVP, All-Star, Silver Slugger and former Rookie of the Year.

"One thing that surprised me from my sit down with Shohei was how he actually never thought being a two-way player at the highest level was even an option," Verlander reveals. "At 18 years old he thought he was going to be a pitcher - but then the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters came along and pitched him the idea of being a two-way player. Thus, the legend was born."

Verlander, who joined FOX Sports in 2020 as an MLB analyst for FOXSports.com after five years as a professional baseball player in the Detroit Tigers organization, is currently in his second season as host of the award-winning FLIPPIN' BATS podcast, where he frequently champions and admires Ohtani's abilities as a two-way star at baseball's highest level.

FLIPPIN' BATS features a weekly segment titled This Week in Ohtani News, which incorporates Japanese subtitles into each video and is consistently ranked as the No. 1 baseball podcast in Japan. Since FLIPPIN' BATS' debut, Verlander has earned a Cynopsis Media Award as 'Best Host' and has been nominated for multiple Hashtag Sports Awards and received Cynopsis Sports Media recognition for the podcast's live, on-site coverage of the 2021 World Series.

SEARCHING FOR SHOHEI is executive produced by FOX Sports' Eric Shanks, Mark Silverman, Barry Nugent, Charlie Dixon and Michael Bucklin alongside Gotham Chopra and Ameeth Sankaran from RELIGION OF SPORTS and Nick Trotta from Major League Baseball, and is directed by Bradley Jackson, who recently directed the SXSW official selection "Facing Nolan" about the life and career of former MLB pitcher Nolan Ryan.

FOX Sports Films is dedicated to presenting captivating global longform sports storytelling through an unconventional and entertaining lens. Working with FOX Sports' league and conference partners, the brand produces original programming, connecting live sports events to sports culture.

Additional clips and highlights from Verlander's trip can be found on FLIPPIN' BATS' social media accounts @FlippinBatsPod, as well as @MLBonFOX social channels, the FOX Sports app and FOXSports.com.



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