The Angels practically knocked over the rest of baseball Friday when they stunningly won the race to sign Japanese two-way sensation and rock star-like royalty Shohei Ohtani. Still, that wasn’t even the most dramatic reaction. Because Ohtani’s potentially franchise-altering decision to join the Angels literally KO’d Billy Eppler, the team’s general manager ending up on the floor. “I whiffed on the chair,” he explained Saturday, “and fell all the way to the ground.” Eppler was standing when he took the call from Ohtani’s representatives, before quickly phoning Angels owner Arte Moreno with the good news of historic proportions. Outside the office, on the other side of a closed door, several members of the Angels’ front office staff had gathered and begun cheering. Soon enough, Eppler would be opening that door and walking into a hallway full of hugs and high-fives. The Angels as a franchise, in a way like never before, would be standing taller than all of baseball. But, right now, Eppler was flat on his fanny, the chair rolling backward and crashing into a window, the scene such a spectacle that Eppler called it “a circus.” Here was baseball’s suddenly most powerful executive, the man who had beaten out only everyone for the player only everyone wanted, powerless to stop himself from going – buns-first, no less – splat.
Shohei Ohtani signing made Angels GM fall out of his chair
Orange County Register | Dec 10