tv 60 Minutes CBS June 20, 2021 7:00pm-8:01pm PDT
captioning funded by cbs and ford. we go further, so you can. >> when you first heard the word "guilty," you thought-- what? >> gratitude. humility. followed by a certain sense of-- i'll say satisfaction. >> tonight, the prosecutors in the george floyd murder trial tell us about the defendant, the jury we never saw, and the meaning of justice. you could've charged him with a hate crime under minnesota law, and you chose not to. ( ticking )
>> oath keepers! >> they were central to the violent january 6 attack on the u.s. capitol. >> we are in the main dome right now, and we are rocking it. >> but who are the oath keepers? >> i think what makes the oath keepers unique and challenging, beyond the fact that they are a formal group with chapters all over the country, is that a large percentage have tactical training and operational experience in either the military or law enforcement. >> we overran the capitol! >> we're in the ( bleep ) capitol, bro! ( ticking ) >> when we first met shohei ohtani, he was the most captivating player in baseball, who had yet to take his first swing-- or, for that matter, his first pitch-- in a major league game. a prodigious hitter and fearsome pitcher from japan, ohtani is now making a run for m.v.p. in the majors. not since babe ruth has the sport seen anything like him. watch this: batting lead-off, ohtani hit a homerun on the first pitch of
the game. then he threw eight shut-out innings, striking out ten batters with a 100 mph fastball. >> that's a comic book character. nobody does that. who does that? ( ticking ) >> i'm lesley stahl. >> i'm bill whitaker. >> i'm anderson cooper. >> i'm sharyn alfonsi. >> i'm jon wertheim. >> i'm scott pelley. those stories, tonight, on "60 minutes." ( ticking ) exexcept now y you have uncontrorollable bodody movemes called tarardive dyskikinesia -. and it c can seem lilike that's's all peoplple see. some mededs for mentntal healh can cacause abnormrmal dopamie signaling g in the brarain. whilile how it w works isis not fullyly understoooo, ingrezza i is thought t to rede that sigignaling. ingrgrezza is aa presescription m medicine used to trtreat adultsts withth td movemements in the f face and bobody. people t taking ingrgrezza can n stay on ththeir currenene of most t mental heaealth me. don'n't take ingngrezza if you'r're allergicic toto any of itits ingredieien.
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officer has been in jail since his conviction in april. it was shortly after the verdict that we first brought you our interview with the prosecution team-- including lead prosecutor, minnesota attorney general keith ellison. when you first heard the word "guilty," you thought, what? >> keith ellison: gratitude. humility. followed by a certain sense of, i'll say satisfaction. it's what we were aiming for the whole time. i spent 16 years as a criminal defense lawyer. so, i will admit, i felt a little bad for the defendant. i think he deserved to be convicted. but, he's a human being. >> pelley: somehow, i did not expect to hear from you a note of compasion for derek chauvin. >> ellison: i'm not in any way wavering from my responsibility. but... i hope we never forget
that people who are defendants in our criminal justice system, that they're human beings. they're people. i mean, george floyd was a human being. and so, i'm not going to ever forget that everybody in this process is a person. >> pelley: was there ever a time that you thought you could lose this case? >> ellison: i was never convinced we were going to win this case, until we heard the verdict of guilty. i remember what happened in the rodney king case, when i was a pretty young man, young lawyer. and i remember how devastated i felt when i heard that the jury acquitted those officers. whenever an officer is charged with an offense, particularly when the victim is a-- is a person of color, it's just rare that there's any accountability. and so, there was every moment of this case, i thought, "what are we missing? what haven't we done?"
>> pelley: 57-year-old keith ellison represented minneapolis in congress. he became attorney general in 2019. in the chauvin case, the governor passed over the local county attorney in favor of ellison, to give the prosecution independence. ellison's team of 14 attorneys worked 11 months to explain nine minutes and 29 seconds. >> ellison: we never thought we could play the video and sit down. we always knew we had to put on a full case and act as if we didn't have a video. we made sure that the witnesses could carry it. >> pelley: there were 45 witnesses over three weeks, including the minneapolis chief of police... >> medaria arradondo: it is not part of our training, and it is certainly not part of our ethics or our values. >> pelley: ...and a leading authority on the complexities of a simple breath. >> dr. martin tobin: that's the moment the life goes out of his body. >> pelley: which witness sealed
this case for you? >> ellison: i think it was mr. mcmillian. ( swearing in ) >> ellison: 61-year-old guy. didn't know george floyd. and he came in there and he cried on the witness stand. >> charles mcmillian: oh my god. >> pelley: charles mcmillian was among those witnesses who could plainly see the humanity that never seemed to register in the eyes of derek chauvin. as you looked on the faces of the 12 jurors during the more difficult eyewitness testimony, what did you see in their faces? jerry blackwell and steve schleicher presented the case. >> jerry blackwell: i saw a kind of empathy in their faces, that they could feel what the witnesses felt. they could feel the anguish, they could feel the pain, they saw the tears. >> pelley: during the trial, the dozen jurors were anonymous, socially distanced, and were
never seen on camera. >> steve schleicher: they were bright, and they were taking their responsibilities very seriously. and you could see that throughout the entire trial. they were leaned forward, engaged. >> blackwell: taking notes, lots of notes. >> schleicher: furious, yeah, furiously taking notes. >> pelley: several jurors had advanced degrees; one was a registered nurse. >> blackwell: they were overwhelmingly under the age of 40, which was unique. >> pelley: half were white, half, people of color. >> ellison: two, what i would call traditional african americans. you know, people like me. there were two african immigrants. there were two folks who were mixed race, who had, i think, an african-descendant parent and a white parent. and then, the white jurors were very diverse, too. you know, some of them were working class. others were very highly educated folks. >> pelley: the identity of the jurors is one of two mysteries of the trial.
the other is the motive for the murder. was this a hate crime? >> ellison: i wouldn't call it that, because hate crimes are crimes where there's an explicit motive, and of bias. we don't have any evidence that derek chauvin factored in george floyd's race as he did what he did. >> pelley: you could've charged him with a hate crime under minnesota law, and you chose not to. >> ellison: could have. but we only charge those crimes that we had evidence that we could put in front of a jury to prove. if we'd have had a witness that told us that derek chauvin made a racial reference, we might've charged him with a hate crime. but i would have needed a witness to say that on the stand. we didn't have it. so we didn't do it. >> pelley: the whole world sees this as a white officer killing a black man because he is black,
and you're telling me that there's no evidence to support that? >> ellison: in our society, there is a social norm that killing certain kinds of people is more tolerable than other kinds of people. in order for us to stop and pay serious attention to this case and be outraged by it, it's not necessary that derek chauvin had a specific racial intent to harm george floyd. the fact is, we know, that through housing patterns, through employment, through wealth, through a whole range of other things-- so often, people of color, black people, end up with harsh treatment from law enforcement. and other folks, doing the exact same thing, just don't. if an officer doesn't throw a white neurologist in eden prairie, minnesota to the ground and doesn't sit on top of his neck, is he doing it because this is a fellow white brother?
no. he's doing it because he thinks, "this is an important person, and if i treat them badly, somebody's going to ask me about this. this person probably has lawyers. he probably knows the governor. he probably knows-- he has connections. i can look at the way he's dressed and the way he talks, that he's probably, quote- unquote, 'somebody'." and so, that's really what it's about. >> pelley: why would this officer assault george floyd? >> ellison: well, that's a question we spent a lot of time asking ourselves. and all we could come up with is what we could divine from his body language and his demeanor. and what we saw is that the crowd was demanding that he get up. and that he was staring right back at them, defiantly. "you don't tell me what to do. i do what i want to do. you people have no control over me. i'm going to show you." >> pelley: and what he showed
them, he showed to 13 video cameras. could you have won conviction without the bystander video? >> ellison: i don't know. if it was just the witnesses' statements, i have to say to you that it was-- i think it was an indispensable piece of this case. >> pelley: the first public statement that the minneapolis police department made, hours after mr. floyd was killed, was that "the police had been involved, and someone had died of a medical emergency." do you think we ever would've known the truth without the video? >> ellison: you know, i have real doubts of-- that we ever would. >> pelley: why would derek chauvin commit murder, or even assault, if he knew he was being recorded? >> ellison: i think that if he looks at history, he has every reason to believe that he would never be held accountable.
there's never been anyone in minnesota convicted-- any police officer convicted of second-degree murder, in the history of our state. so, this was precedent-setting in that way. so, history was on his side. >> pelley: does george floyd bear any responsibility, in your view, for what happened that day? >> ellison: no, he doesn't. >> pelley: if he'd gotten in the car, he'd be alive today. >> ellison: the fact is that police officers are paid and trained to deal with people who are having problems. and, if they're allowed to use deadly force on people who are just having a bad day, then we're going to be in a very, very lethal situation. we need officers who have the judgment and the ability to discern what somebody is going
through, so that people survive these encounters. george floyd was not armed. he never threatened a soul. he never struck out on-- against anybody. he did everything the officers said, except he had claustrophobia and anxiety, and couldn't bring himself to get in that car. how could chauvin justify being on him three minutes after he had no pulse? how could he justify not rendering c.p.r.? how can he justify not heeding george floyd's 27 requests to be able to breathe? "i can't breathe," he said, 27 times. how can he just ignore that? so i'm hard-pressed to find how george floyd bears responsibility for what happened here. >> pelley: jerry blackwell and steve schleicher presented the closing arguments, but they're not career prosecutors. they were recruited by the attorney general from big law firms because of their talent. both volunteered to work this case for free. >> blackwell: it meant a lot to me, personally.
i mean, i have had my own experiences of being stopped by the police for no reason, being harassed for no reason. and i wanted to do my part, just as a citizen, to say that the rule of law matters. >> pelley: what does this verdict change? does it change anything? >> schleicher: well, we won't know, right? we're in the middle of history right now. and so, that's yet to be seen. but the rest of it is really up to the world, whether it changes, what it changes, to what extent. we're in the middle of this story. >> blackwell: i don't think that there are any inevitabilities in it, because we don't make progress on the wheels of inevitability. in fact, i think progress rolls like a brick. ( laughs ) and so each one has to be flipped each time. so when people talk about inflection points and so on-- i'm not really a subscriber to inflection points. there's no reason to believe that things are easier going forward than they were to get
here. and i think we have to make a consistent effort every day to protect the vulnerable and then to work to reform ourselves, which, if we don't do, there won't be any lasting change anyway. if each person doesn't work to make the change. >> pelley: three other former officers will go on trial, together, next year. 45-year-old derek chauvin is scheduled to be sentenced by the judge this week. george floyd's family can make a statement at that hearing, and so could chauvin, if he chooses. he faces a maximum of 40 years. a maximum sentence would send what kind of message? >> ellison: i think it is important for the court to not go light or heavy. i don't know if it's right for a judge to send a message through a sentence, because the sentence should be tailored to the offense, tailored to the circumstances of the case. look, the state never wanted revenge against derek chauvin. we just wanted accountability.
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>> alfonsi: nearly 500 people have now been charged in one of the most complex investigations the department of justice has ever faced: the january 6 attack on the capitol. the f.b.i. has called it "an act of domestic terrorism," and one group has grabbed investigators' attention for their role: the oath keepers. the f.b.i. describes them as an "anti-government militia movement." among them: current and former military and law enforcement. their name is a reference to the oath they took to defend the
u.s. constitution. but as we first reported this past april, unlike most other militia groups, the oath keepers haven't been hiding. they've been armed and in plain sight, broadcasting plans to mobilize. >> rioter: pull! pull them this way! >> alfonsi: if you were looking for a roadmap to january 6... >> rioter: they're storming the ( bleep ) capitol now! oh. my god! >> alfonsi: ...all you had to do was listen. >> zello: okay, guys, we're on an open channel here now. >> alfonsi: these are the voices of far-right extremists communicating with each other in real-time from homes across america, and on the ground in washington... >> zello: godspeed and fair winds to us. >> u.s.a.! >> alfonsi: ...as some of them made their way to the capitol. >> jess watkins: trump's been trying to drain the swamp with a straw. we just brought a shop vac. >> zello: stop the steal! >> alfonsi: they were talking on a phone and computer app called zello. it's un-encrypted, like a walkie-talkie, and has an international user base of
around 150 million. it's popular with truckers, disaster relief groups, activists, and extremists. >> zello: be safe, be alert, and stay in groups. >> alfonsi: anyone can listen to zello, and micah loewinger did. loewinger, a wnyc radio reporter, started working with the online extremist research group militia-watch to understand how militia groups liked to use zello to recruit and communicate. >> micah loewinger: leading up to january 6, we uncovered examples of militias saying things like "revolution or bust." that they were using zello to plan their travel to washington, d.c. that they were going to have separate channels for people gathering intel and separate channels for boots on the ground. >> alfonsi: and they did. on january 6, micah loewinger found an open "stop the steal" conversation going on among 100 people on zello, and started
recording. >> loewinger: it wasn't until a couple days later that i started to realize how much planning must have gone into this event. and that's when i heard this mysterious woman narrating her march to the capitol and eventually inside. >> watkins: we have a good group. we've got about 30, 40 of us. we're sticking together and sticking to the plan. >> alfonsi: that mysterious woman is jessica watkins, a 38-year-old army veteran. she's the leader of a self- described ohio militia group and member of the oath keepers. >> watkins: we're moving on the capitol now, i'll give you a boots-on-the-ground update here in a few. >> oath keepers! >> alfonsi: that's watkins with the goggles, and here with nine other oath keepers in battle gear. they move in a "stacked" military formation, methodically working through the crowd up the capitol steps towards the doors, just as the capitol doors are breached.
on zello, others cheer her on... >> zello: you are executing citizens' arrest! >> alfonsi: ...as she offers a play by play. >> watkins: we are in the main dome right now. we are rocking it. they're throwing grenades. they're freaking shooting people with paint balls. but we're in here. >> zello: get it, jess. do your ( bleep ). this is what we ( bleep ) lived up for. everything we ( bleep ) trained for. >> donovan crowl: overran the capitol! >> watkins: we're in the ( bleep ) capitol, bro! >> alfononsi: for weekeks, extrt watchdogs like the anti- defamation league, national news outlets, and journalists like micah loewinger had been warning of possible violence on the 6. >> loewinger: if they had been paying attention to the whole network of far-right groups online that were extremely vocal and very public about what they wanted to happen, i don't believe we would have seen so many people break into the capitol. >> watkins: police are doing nothing, they're not even trying to stop us at this point. >> alfonsi: members told us at least 40 oath keepers were at
the january 6 rally, with some, seen here, providing security to trump associate roger stone. 18 people associated with the oath keepers have been charged with federal crimes, including jess watkins, who has pled not guilty. the zello recordings are helping prosecutors make their case. zello has since deleted 2,000 of these extremist channels. >> javed ali: that is just a small demonstration of capability, that luckily didn't turn into a more lethal threat. >> alfonsi: javed ali is a former n.s.c. senior director, and was a counterterrorism official at the f.b.i. under the trump administration. >> ali: i think what makes the oath keepers unique and challenging, beyond the fact that they are a formal group with chapters all over the country, is that a large percentage have tactical training and operational experience in either the military or law enforcement. that at least gives them a
capability that a lot of other people in this far-right space don't have. >> alfonsi: the story of oath keepers is very much the story of this man. >> stewart rhodes: hoo-ah! all right. i am stewart rhodes, i am the founder of the oath keepers. >> alfonsi: in 2009, in lexington, massachusetts, where the first shots were fired in the revolutionary war, stewart rhodes founded the oath keepers in response to the election of barack obama. >> rhodes: there is no expiration date on that oath. it is for life. >> alfonsi: rhodes enlisted in the army at 18, and was honorably discharged at 24. he went on to graduate from yale law school and became a constitutionalist. later, warning america was on the brink of government tyranny. in 2010, he told bill o'reilly that it was up to current and former members of the military and police-- who took an oath to defend the constitution-- to stop that tyranny. >> bill o'reilly: the commander in chief is the president, by our constitution. if he issues an order, are you
telling people not to obey the order if they don't like it? >> rhodes: if it's unconstitutional, yes. >> o'reilly: so each soldier makes up his mind whether the order he's given is constitutional or not? >> rhodes: it's a heavy burden to meet. but if you obey an unlawful order, you can also be in trouble. >> alfonsi: the group recruited thousands, opening up chapters across the country. they formed a board of directors and ten orders to live by, elevating themselves to "guardians" of the republic and the constitution, vowing to protect against mass gun confiscation and a marxist invasion. in 2014, they took their fight to the nevada desert. rhodes sent armed oath keepers to defend the rancher cliven bundy, who was in a 20-year battle with the federal government about public land use. and in 2015, months after the police shooting of michael brown in ferguson, missouri, oath keepers arrived with ar-15- style weapons, saying they were there to protect businesses. but in 2016... >> u.s.a.! u.s.a.!
>> alfonsi: the oath keepers believed they finally had an ally in the white house. >> trump: we will build a great wall along the southern border! ( cheers and applause ) >> alfonsi: when president trump warned of an invasion of undocumented migrants, the oath keepers called on members to patrol the border. and this fall, when president trump warned of election fraud, founder stewart rhodes appeared on "infowars," conspiracist alex jones' talk show, setting the stage for what was to come on january 6. >> rhodes: we have men already stationed outside d.c. as a nuclear option, in case they attempt to remove the president illegally. we will step in and stop it. it's either president trump is encouraged and bolstered and strengthened to do what he must do, or we wind up in a bloody fight. we all know that. the fight's coming. >> alfonsi: but for some oath keepers, the rhetoric was too much. former board members told us rhodes adopted a more violent, militia-style ideology, and it was tearing apart the group. chapters in virginia and north carolina broke ties with
national well before the 6, citing a departure from the original mission. others distanced themselves after the insurrection. >> jim arroyo: please rise for the invocation. >> alfonsi: including the country's largest chapter in arizona, where jim arroyo is vice president. while arroyo doesn't think the election was legitimate, he doesn't think anyone should have stormed the capitol. >> arroyo: i want to congratulate stewart rhodes and his ten militia buddies for winning first place in the ultimate dumbass contest, because that's what it was. that goes against everything we've ever taught, everything we believe in. it was pre-planned. it was pre-staged. ten guys go and do something stupidid, and suddddenly, we'r'e devil. >> black l lives matteter! >> alfonsi: in september, some arizona members showed up armed at a black lives matter protest in prescott. jim arroyo told us law enforcement coordinated with him to help keep the peace. the local sheriff's department told us, they didn't ask for their help. the critics of your presence there say, like, these are just a bunch of guys who
are wannabees, and they can't wait to get dressed up and play the role. >> arroyo: our guys are very experienced. we have active-duty law enforcement in our organization that are helping to train us. we can blend in with our law enforcement and, in fact, in a lot of cases, our training is much more advanced because of our military backgrounds. there's nothing i love more than my ar-5 and my chainsaw, and i don't know which one i like more! ( laughter ) >> alfonsi: jim arroyo invited us to a meeting to see for ourselves. the crowd, mostly retirees, meet twice a month... >> arroyo: see how warm that is? >> alfonsi: ...to talk about how to survive disasters like forest fires... >> arroyo: these things are great. >> alfonsi: ...attacks on the power grid, and civil war. >> arroyo: so that's why we talk about civil unrest, civil war. it's not a joke. this can happen, and we need to be ready for it. >> alfonsi: yesterday, jim said "do you think we're in a civil war?" and everybody nodded their heads and said yes. cathy york, gary harworth, and mike rice are members. do you all think that we are in
the middle of a civil war? >> cathy york: i think that we are. you've got good versus evil right now going on in our country. >> alfonsi: who do you view as evil? >> york: anybody that doesn't support our constitution and follow it. they're trying to change it. >> gary harworth: this country is divided right down the middle, and you're on one side or the other. people have to realize that when things go crazy, things get a little chaos-y around you, you have to be able to take care of yourself. defend yourself, protect your family, those you love. that's part of the constitution. >> alfonsi: so on january 6, when you see these people wearing that same emblem storm into the capitol, what was your reaction? >> york: some of those people with oath keepers could have been b.l.m. they could have been-- >> mike rice: it could have been a false flag, as far as i'm concerned. >> alfonsi: you don't think they were oath keepers? >> harworth: well, we don't know. >> york: it could've been.
we don't know. >> rice: we don't know. >> harworth: we weren't there. >> yok: they're stupid people. it's stupid. we don't do that. that's not oath keepers. >> rice: how are you going to take an oath to defend the constitution and then try to disturb a-- a session of congress during what's supposed to be one of our most precious political things, you know, the transfer of power? how are you going to do that? >> arroyo: i haven't had contact with stewart rhodes. he refuses to talk to us. >> alfonsi: why is that? you're the biggest oath keepers group. why wouldn't you be talking to him? >> arroyo: we have made multiple attempts through national. my honest opinion is, if there's any honor left in this organization at the upper levels, they will deal with it. >> alfonsi: photos and phone records place stewart rhodes on the capitol steps on january 6, communicating with oath keepers before they breached the doors. but, no charges have been brought against him. rhodes declined to speak with "60 minutes" to tell his side of the story. he did appear again in march on "infowars," this time from his car, saying he didn't order
oath keepers to enter the capitol, but defended the members who are now in jail, and criticized those who put them there. >> rhodes: they are criminalizing patriotism. >> alfonsi: one oath keeper has pled guilty and agreed to cooperate in the ongoing investigation. evidence suggests members stashed weapons at a nearby hotel as part of a "quick reaction force"-- evidence a federal judge says "is among the most troubling he has seen." sources tell us prosecutors are looking to build a case against stewart rhodes, and possible separate charges against the national organization. federal prosecutors are currently working on informal plea negotiations with some of the oath keepers who've been charged. trials are expected to begin sometime in the fall. ( ticking )
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creating opportunity and a better planet. now, that's making a difference. ( ticking ) >> wertheirm: later this summer, thousands of athletes will converge on tokyo to compete in the summer olympics. but the most compelling story in sports right now might involve a japanese athlete currently competing here. we speak of shohei ohtani of the los angeles angels, who uses his alloy of size, speed, and strength both in the batters' box and on the pitchers' mound. a 26-year-old pitching slugger-- or slugging pitcher? ohtani is not only the first major leaguer to moonlight since a guy named babe ruth; he is doing so to blazing effect. a solid m.v.p. candidate this season, ohtani has, rightly,
become a fan favorite wherever he plays. he is fulfilling the promise he first showed as an intriguing, almost mystical prospect, playing in the japanese baseball league. in 2017, when ohtani was only 22, we wanted to see this phenom, and phenomenon, for ourselves. we traveled to japan to meet ohtani for what was his first interview with an american television network. but, we first laid eyes on him in arizona, where his team at the time had come for spring training. ( bat cracks ) this sliver through the fence of a batting cage made for a fitting introduction. we found dozens of japanese outlets angling for a slice, any slice, of ohtani in action. cameras follow him to the exclusion of every other player on the field. and, so do the fans. we met supporters who traveled 5,000 miles to the desert southwest just to watch him train. having glimpsed the ohtani
phenomenon on the road, we were eager to explore it on his turf. our search to find what all the fuss was about took us here, to hokkaido, japan's northernmost island. it's home to the national champion baseball team, the nippon ham fighters. it's also home to the sport's most intriguing prospect. shohei ohtani looms large in the snowy hokkaido town of sapporo. if tokyo is a fastball, sapporo is a curveball. japan's fifth-largest city feels not unlike a laid-back ski village. but this is a baseball town. and this is the home stadium, the sapporo dome. it's here we sat down with ohtani. we broke the ice with a question about what we'd heard was his favorite local fast food. very important question-- in'n'out burger or captain kangaroo burger? >> shohei ohtani ( translated ): ( laughs ) captain kangaroo.
>> wertheim: better? towering and affable, ohtani is working on his english, but felt more comfortable using a translator during our interview. i want to ask you about coming to the majors. but should we say, "if," or should we say, "when"? >> ohtani ( translated ): that's a tough one. i mean, nothing is for certain, so, i guess it's "if." >> wertheim: despite that cautious response, ohtani eagerly revealed which major league players he looks most forward to facing-- no less than m.v.p. hitter bryce harper and star pitcher clayton kershaw. >> ohtani ( translated ): i watch bryce harper, clayton kershaw. >> wertheim: a pitcher and a hitter. >> ohtani ( translated ): yeah, unlike me, kershaw is a lefty. >> wertheim: you see a little of yourself in both kershaw and harper? >> ohtani ( translated ): i actually do see myself. and i actually try throwing lefty sometimes. >> wertheim: how do you think you'd do against kershaw? >> ohtani ( translated ): just thinking about facing him makes me really happy and excited. i could just tell he's such a great pitcher through the tv
screen. >> wertheim: how would you pitch to harper? >> ohtani ( translated ): i would have to go with my best pitch, which is the fastball. i want to see how my best pitch fares against one of the best hitters. >> wertheim: likely quite well. throwing his dancing fastball, ohtani strikes out batters at a higher rate than kershaw. unfurling his violent, yet somehow elegant swing, he hits home runs at a higher rate than harper. there are days ohtani makes baseball look almost laughably easy. consider this performance last summer. on the very first pitch of the game, ohtani, batting lead off, hit a homerun. he then pitched eight shutout innings and struck out ten batters. >> ohtani! shohei! >> wertheim: at six-foot-four, the designated hitter-turned- pitcher reliably brings the crowd to its feet. when he threw the fastest pitch, breaking his own record, even
opponents looked on in astonishment. last year, you threw a pitch, 165 kilometers an hour, more than 102 miles an hour. how much faster can you throw than 102.5? >> ohtani ( translated ): i don't have an exact answer for that. but i'm still young. i'm still 22. i think there's more room to grow. >> wertheim: as seasons go, 2016 will be hard to top. the hokkaido nippon ham fighters took the japan series. ohtani was his league's m.v.p. ♪ ♪ ♪ about that name-- the fighters are owned by nippon ham, makers of japan's best- selling sausages. and while, yes, the name resists serious treatment, the team itself is widely regarded as the most innovative in the league. manager hideki kuriyama leads the fighters-- also the former team of yu darvish, now an ace for the texas rangers. can you compare this to anything you've seen? >> hideki kuriyama
( translated ): no. never seen anything like it. never. >> wertheim: what's it like having a player who's your best pitcher and also your best hitter? >> kuriyama ( translated ): he's so talented. it's really tough to use him the right way, with the right balance. >> wertheim: if you thought "moneyball"-- the practice of using baseball data over intuition-- contorted a manager's conventional thinking, try overseeing a two-way player. kuriyama's formula? he pitches ohtani on sundays, then bats him the rest of the week, with a day or two off before each start. distractions are to be kept to a minimum. ( cheers ) same goes for praise. shohei ohtani may be the star of the team, but kuriyama doesn't exactly coddle the guy. >> ohtani ( translated ): last year, when we won the championship, it was the first time he gave me a compliment. and he said, "that was great pitching." >> wertheim: never complimented you before that? >> ohtani ( translated ): ( laughs ) not once.
he always says, "you've got to get better." >> wertheim: and kuriyama has his reasons. >> kuriyama ( translated ): i truly believe he's a lot better than where he is at right now. >> wertheim: the crowd at the sapporo dome is less stingy with its praise. you don't get a lot of quiet time here. no peanuts and cracker jacks either, but plenty of the local beer. a college football-style atmosphere pervades. ♪ ♪ ♪ the caliber of play is considered one level below the major leagues in america. top japanese players, names like ichiro and matsui, aspire to compete against the very best in the u.s. even amid such company, shohei ohtani sticks out. ex-pat john gibson has reported on japanese baseball for 20 years. what's it like, covering this guy? >> john gibson: you think about a guy who throws 101 and then a guy who hits homeruns, and that's a comic book character. that's not somebody you're thinking about in real life.
you know, nobody does that. who does that? >> wertheim: we had hoped to leave the sapporo dome with ohtani, get to know the mortal behind the comic book character. >> ohtani: thank you. >> wertheim: domo. but he politely declined our invitation. not even a quick captain kangaroo burger. so we invited a couple of his teammates instead. brandon laird and luis mendoza are two of the team's gaijin, or foreign players. laird saw action as a yankee. mendoza once pitched for the rangers and the royals. sapporo is not a bad place to be a gaijin. >> luis mendoza: how you doing? good? good to see you. >> wertheim: over dinner at their favorite spot in town, laird told us that ohtani is the most talented teammate he's ever had. this, from a guy who played with derek jeter and alex rodriguez. >> brandon laird: some pitchers can hit, but, i mean, he actually does it in a game. like, he's in our lineup, you know? and it's impressive. >> mendoza: watching him hit the ball-- i mean, it's like, miguel
cabrera, you know, power-- kind of power, you know. >> wertheim: he reminds you of cabrera? >> mendoza: yeah. definitely. >> wertheim: you guys been out with him? >> laird: no. i mean, he doesn't really do anything. he just, mellow kid. just goes back to the dorms. >> wertheim: yes, the biggest star in japanese baseball, with a reported salary of roughly $2 million, apart from not owning a car, lives in these minimalist team dorms. ohtani confirmed to us that he seldom leaves the facility. not that it keeps fans from waiting for him outside. even from a distance, plenty of observations can be made about the pitching slugger... or the slugging pitcher. he is meticulous, stopping mid-pitch to adjust his form; open to advice from his batting coaches. even baseball tedium provides a source of enjoyment. this is someone who plays baseball, but has always worked at it, too.
ohtani grew up in a small, industrial town on japan's mainland. his father, once an amateur player himself, coached his son's little league teams. shohei ohtani showed promise as a hitter, but drew more interest as a pitcher, occasioning stealth visits from american scouts while he was still in high school. at age 18, he held a press conference to announce his major league intentions and went so far as to tell japanese teams not to draft him. but the nippon ham fighters, again, known for doing things their own way, drafted him nonetheless. >> ohtani ( translated ): every other team besides the fighters was looking at me as a pitcher. but the fighters were going to allow me to do both pitching and hitting. honestly, i wasn't even thinking about doing both on a professional level. but they approached me in that way and i wanted to take the chance. >> wertheim: that's your fastball grip? >> ohtani: fastball. splitter. >> wertheim: so you have a splitter?
true to their word, the fighters have cultivated ohtani as a hitter as well as a pitcher. we asked him about his forebear. people have compared you to babe ruth. what do you think about when you hear the name babe ruth? >> ohtani: babe ruth! >> ( translated ): he's like a mythical character to me. because it's such a long time ago and he was god to baseball. i shouldn't be compared to him, at least not right now. >> wertheim: but maybe someday soon. the fighters have said they'll permit ohtani t negotiate with major league teams after this season. hideki kuriyama says the time is right. >> kuriyama ( translated ): for our team, we're all for him going to the states. >> wertheim: best player on the team, this amazing two-way talent, and you're okay with him going to the major leagues? >> kuriyama ( translated ): yeah, as a manager, it's going to hurt. it's tough that way. but more than that, i want him to succeed. >> wertheim: back in the u.s., news of ohtani's imminent
arrival was a hot topic at spring training-- though, wary of tipping their hand, execs we approached would only talk off-camera. dave defreitas was a scout for the yankees and the indians. he watched ohtani come of age in japan. now independent, he produces scouting reports for the website 20-80 baseball. >> dave defreitas: everybody is interested. scouts are going over there all year this year to watch him. i think if a team tells you they're not interested, they're probably lying to you. you're talking about a young kid that's one of the best talents in the game, on the planet. >> wertheim: ohtani told us he doesn't have an agent yet. but he's going to need one. his path to the majors won't exactly be straightforward. a new collective bargaining agreement caps at $6 million-- what teams can pay any foreign player under the age of 25-- even those who, ritually, send balls dinging into the outfield seats. by coming before he turns 25, ohtani could be leaving tens,
if not hundreds of millions of dollars on the table. the timing of when you come to the majors could make a big, big, difference in terms of salary. does that concern you? >> ohtani ( translated ): personally, i don't care how much i get paid, or how much less i get paid because of this. >> wertheim: this may be the rare case where it's not about the money. rather, the deal with ohtani may hinge on which team will let him keep pitching and hitting. you think he's in a position now where he can say to teams, "listen, if you're not going to play me both ways, i'm probably not your guy." >> gibson: i think he won't even talk to them if they don't. >> wertheim: really? >> gibson: i think he won't even have a meeting with them. >> wertheim: no matter where he ends up, it's hard to root against the great ohtani experiment. here in sapporo, where his departure will be bittersweet, they'll be cheering the loudest. ( ticking ) yes!s! therere you go.. ♪ ♪ r run wild, r run free ♪
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