The NY Post ran a story in their sports pages early last week touting what I’d been hoping for. Two-way Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani would start for the Angels the day before Memorial Day at Yankee Stadium against countryman Masahiro Tanaka.

Ohtani had been on a pattern of starting most Sunday games. His numbers are great. Seven starts. 40.1 innings pitched, 52 K’s and a WHIP of 1.07.

I’d been watching the ticket prices climb steadily on the resale market and decided last Wednesday night to shell out $53.22 (with fees) to get a standing room only ticket via Stub Hub.

The next morning I woke up – and just for the heck of it checked the ticket prices again. They had plummeted by more than half. The Angels had announced that Ohtani would not start Sunday as expected. Citing “workload management,” the 23-year-old MLB rookie would get more than the usual six days between starting pitching assignments. I was a little aggravated but still got up early (for me) on Sunday morning to get to the Stadium in time for batting practice.

Heavy rain that morning led to the cancellation of BP – but I was glad to see Ohtani’s name in the Halos lineup – batting cleanup. A chilly, stiff wind blew straight in. It misted during parts of the game. For Ohtani’s first at-bat I stood on the field level concourse about even with the bag on the third base side. Tanaka had struck out Trout during a 10-pitch at-bat two batters earlier – and battled beautifully against Ohtani to get the K to end the inning. There were lots of Japanese fans in the house.

Ohtani came into Yankee Stadium batting .319. After going 0 for 9 with four walks in the three-game series, he left the Bronx with a .291 average.

The new Yankee manager Aaron Boone brought in Chappy an inning early to face Ohtani in a big spot in the Friday night game. I watched it on TV from the job. Chapman was throwing 100 mile an hour stuff up and down – and Ohtani didn’t appear the least bit phased. He ended up grounding out but has great plate discipline. Reporters say Ohtani put on a really big power display during BP on Friday night.

During all interaction with opponents he appears to show great respect – not with a bow but with a clear nod and smile. He’s 23-years-old and he’s playing at a high level both as a pitcher – and a hitter.

The only thing he’s not doing is manning the field.

Those espousing conventional baseball wisdom via the airwaves and in print are saying Ohtani won’t likely be able to continue both as a hitter and pitcher at the major league level long term. This assertion – to me – is unfair. Why can’t he do both – given what we’ve seen so far?

His decision to forgo an estimated $200 million in salary had he simply waited two years to be set free from rules governing contracts for international players – and his insistence on hearing organizational views about incorporating two-way status into a season-long program – shows that we could be looking at a once-in-my-lifetime kind of player who must be encouraged to live this dream. It’s really quite exciting.

It’s Sho – Time !

A Joe Crowley campaign worker rang my apartment door buzzer Monday night. He handed me a flier and asked if I’d support the 10-term Queens congressman in the upcoming Democratic Party primary.

The young man’s visit couldn’t have been more timely. I told him I was deeply upset Crowley and the Queens County Democratic Party machinery he presides over had that very day endorsed the re-election of Jose Peralta in my state senate district.

The machine’s move is especially outrageous because Peralta isn’t a Democrat. He publicly defected from the party as Trump entered the White House a year ago January. Peralta’s move – seen as financially motivated at the time because of a stipend boost – set off a constituent reaction here in Jackson Heights rarely seen at street level.

Shifting neighborhood dynamics coinciding with Trump’s first eighteen-months of folly have emboldened locals with a political pulse to seek out more active resistance to game-playing and acquiescence by the Dem establishment. When Peralta turned traitor – it was all the talk on 37th Avenue. Peralta got howled out of a community meeting in which he attempted to justify his switch. And then he shriveled from the scene – doing photo ops only on friendly turf.

Enter stage left: a legitimate party primary opponent making an honest, grass-roots run. Jessica Ramos has clear enthusiastic support from those who will not forget Peralta’s betrayal.

With the sight of Ramos campaign signs in apartment windows on the street he lives on, Peralta has now suddenly brokered a return to the Democratic Party with help from the Governor. Only those who slept through Peralta’s well-publicized switch to a caucus room full of republicans will accept the machine’s confounding thumbs-up. Worse, Crowley is badly compromising his own precious credibility on a traitor.

Crowley’s call to crank up the party machine’s power behind Peralta instead of Ramos stinks like Flushing Bay on a summer morning at low tide. All I can guess is that Crowley himself is afraid of the “same old blue just won’t do” movement that’s catching fire here thanks to Cynthia Nixon, Jumaane Williams and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Perhaps Crowley sees a Ramos endorsement as a split from his typical all-out brute muscle given to incumbents no matter their intra-term actions. More likely Crowley sees Ramos using the same policy playbook as his own opponent, which makes him nervous.

Ocasio-Cortez is running against Crowley. She’s not at all afraid of a massive Crowley war chest made fat by contributions from corporations like Honeywell, Aetna, Wal-Mart, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, News Corp, Morgan Stanley – and yes – even my union – the Machinists.

Normally unopposed, Crowley is being pulled to the left by an articulate candidate who is among a wave of young, fresh faces inspired in part by Bernie’s platform.

Unfortunately, the party’s primary elections for Congress and state offices are conducted on different days three months apart. That’s two separate trips to the booth in the summertime that some won’t bother to make although I get the sense the machine’s baked-in get-out-the-vote advantage will be offset by the true blue’s energy level fueled by Peralta’s antics and Cynthia Nixon’s dynamic campaign.

-One aside, just for the record since I was glancing at campaign finance reports while writing the above. My union – the IAM – doles out a lot of campaign dough – much of it to candidates and causes on the left. But they also gave five grand in the last cycle to John Faso – a Hudson Valley republican who takes big checks from the NRA. They also gave five grand to Pete King, a guy who wouldn’t get a cent of my dough if given a choice.

-I took the train down to Philly Saturday for the sold out Hop Along show at Union Transfer. The crowd’s sing along on Well Dressed was stirring. One of my favorite New York bands Nervous Dater played in the slot before and was giddy as they gazed into a room that had at least 800 or 900 people in it.