tv 60 Minutes CBS April 9, 2017 7:00pm-8:01pm PDT
captioning funded by cbs and ford. we go further, so you can. >> how many silicon valley insiders are there speaking out like you are? >> not that many. >> tristan harris was a google product manager and is one of the only silicon valley insiders to publicly question the engineering behind our smartphones, apps and social media platforms. he says they're built to be addictive, and warns of long term consequences for us and our families. >> never before in history have a handful of people at a handful of technology companies shaped how a billion people think and feel every day with the choices they make about these screens. >> the most beautiful thing. i love innovation, i love competing. i hate my competitors.
>> you hate your competitors? >> of course, i do. i want to beat them up. >> you want to make dannon yogurt and yoplait suffer? >> back to-- france. ( laughter ) >> he is the billionaire creator of chobani yogurt, and a reminder that foreigners don't always take jobs from americans, sometimes they create them-- a lot of them. >> hey brother, how are you doing? >> it's the first week of the major league baseball season. and the sport's best story is unfolding an ocean away. the most prolific hitter in japanese baseball is a 22-year- old named shohei ohtani. and the most fearsome starting pitcher is a 22-year-old named shohei ohtani. not since babe ruth has the sport seen anything like him. watch this-- batting lead off, ohtani hits a home run on the first pitch. then he throws eight shut-out innings, striking out 10 opposing batters with a 100-mile an hour fast ball. >> that's a comic book character.
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that the companies responsible for programming your phones are working hard to get you and your family to feel the need to check in constantly. some programmers call it brain hacking, and the tech world would probably prefer you didn't hear about it, but tristan harris openly questions the long term consequences of it all, and we think it's worth putting down your phone to listen. >> tristan harris: this thing is a slot machine. >> cooper: how is that a slot machine? >> harris: well, every time i check my phone, i'm playing the slot machine to see, "what did i get?" this is one way to hijack people's minds and create a habit, to form a habit. what you do is you make it so when someone pulls a lever, sometimes they get a reward, an exciting reward. and it turns out that this design technique can be embedded inside of all these products. >> cooper: the rewards harris is talking about are a big part of what makes smartphones so appealing. the chance of getting likes on facebook and instagram.
cute emojis in text messages. and new followers on twitter. >> harris: there's a whole playbook of techniques that get used to get you using the product for as long as possible. >> cooper: what kind of techniques are used? >> harris: so, snapchat's the most popular messaging service for teenagers, and they invented this feature called "streaks," which shows the number of days in a row that you've sent a message back and forth with someone. so now you could say, "well, what's the big deal here?" well, the problem is that kids feel like, "well, now i don't want to lose my streak." but it turns out that kids, actually, when they go on vacation, are so stressed about their streak that they actually give their password to, like, five other kids to keep their streaks going on their behalf. and so, you could ask when these features are being designed, are they designed to most help people live their life? or are they being designed because they're best at hooking people into using the product? >> cooper: is silicon valley programming apps or are they programming people? >> harris: inadvertently, whether they want to or not, they are shaping the thoughts and feelings and actions of
people. they are programming people. there's always this narrative that technology is neutral, and it's up to us to choose how we use it. this is just not true. >> cooper: technology's not neutral? >> harris: it's not neutral. they want you to use it in particular ways, and for long periods of time, because that's how they make their money. >> cooper: it's rare for a tech insider to be so blunt, but tristan harris believes someone needs to be. a few years ago, he was living the silicon valley dream. he dropped out of a master's program at stanford university to start a software company. four years later, google bought him out and hired him as a product manager. it was while working there he started to feel overwhelmed. >> harris: honestly, i was just bombarded in email and calendar invitations, and just the overload of what it's like to work at a place like google. and i was asking, "when is all of this adding up to, like, an actual benefit to my life?" and i ended up making this
presentation, it was kind of a manifesto, and it basically said, you know, "look, never before in history have a handful of people at a handful of technology companies shaped how a billion people think and feel every day with the choices they make about these screens." >> cooper: his 144-page presentation argued that the constant distractions of apps and emails are "weakening our relationships to each other," and "destroying our kids ability to focus." it was widely read inside google, and caught the eye of one of the founders, larry page. but harris told us it didn't lead to any changes, and after three years, he quit. >> harris: and it's not because anyone is evil or has bad intentions. it's because the game is getting attention at all costs. and the problem is, it becomes this race to the bottom of the brainstem, where if i go lower on the brainstem to get you, you know, using my product, i win. but it doesn't end up in the world we want to live in. we don't end up feeling good about how we're using all this
stuff. >> cooper: you call this a "race to the bottom of the brainstem." it's a race to the most primitive emotions we have? fear, anxiety, loneliness, all these things? >> harris: absolutely. and that's, again, because in the race for attention, i have to do whatever works. it absolutely wants one thing, which is your attention. >> cooper: now he travels the country trying to convince programmers and anyone else who will listen that the business model of tech companies needs to change. he wants products designed to make the best use of our time, not just grab our attention. do you think parents understand the complexities of what their kids are dealing with, when they're dealing with their phone, dealing with apps and social media? >> harris: no. and i think this is really important. because there's a narrative that, "oh, i guess they're just doing this like we used to gossip on the phone." but what this misses is that your telephone in the 1970s didn't have a thousand engineers on the other side of the telephone, who were redesigning it to work with other telephones and then updating the way your
telephone worked every day to be more and more persuasive. that was not true in the 1970s. >> cooper: how many silicon valley insiders are there speaking out like you are? >> harris: not that many. >> cooper: we reached out to the biggest tech firms, but none would speak on the record and some didn't even return our phone call. most tech companies say their priority is improving user experience, something they call "engagement," but they remain secretive about what they do to keep people glued to their screens. so we went to venice, california, where the body builders on the beach are being muscled out by small companies that specialize in what ramsay brown calls brain hacking. >> ramsay brown: a computer programmer who now understands how the brain works, knows how to write code that will get the brain to do certain things. >> cooper: ramsay brown studied neuroscience before co-founding dopamine labs, a start-up crammed into a garage. the company is named after the dopamine molecule in our brains that aids in the creation of desire and pleasure.
brown and his colleagues write computer code for apps used by fitness companies and financial firms. the programs are designed to provoke a neurological response. you're trying to figure out how to get people coming back to use the screen? >> brown: when should i make you feel a little extra awesome, to get you to come back into the app longer? >> cooper: the computer code he creates finds the best moment to give you one of those rewards-- which have no actual value, but brown says trigger your brain to make you want more. for example, on instagram, he told us sometimes those likes come in a sudden rush. >> brown: they're holding some of them back for you, to let you know later in a big burst. like, hey, here's the 30 likes we didn't mention from a little while ago. why that moment-- >> cooper: so all of a sudden, you get a big burst of likes? >> brown: yeah, but why that moment? there's some algorithm somewhere that predicted, hey, for this user right now who is experimental subject 79b3 in experiment 231, we think we can see an improvement in his behavior if you give it to him in this burst instead of that burst.
>> cooper: when brown says "experiments," he's talking generally about the millions of computer calculations being used every moment by his company and others to constantly tweak your online experience and make you come back for more. >> brown: you're part of a controlled set of experiments that are happening in real time, across you and millions of other people. >> cooper: we're guinea pigs? >> brown: you're guinea pigs. you are guinea pigs in the box, pushing the button and sometimes getting the likes. and they're doing this to keep you in there. >> cooper: the longer we look at our screens, the more data companies collect about us, and the more ads we see. ad spending on social media has doubled in just two years to more than $31 billion. >> brown: you don't pay for facebook. advertisers pay for facebook. you get to use it for free because your eyeballs are what's being sold, there. >> cooper: that's an interesting way to look at it, that you're not the customer for facebook. >> brown: you're not the customer. you don't sign a check to facebook. but coca-cola does. >> cooper: brown says there's a reason texts and facebook use a continuous scroll-- because it's a proven way to keep you searching longer. >> brown: you spend half your
time on facebook just scrolling to find one good piece worth looking at. it's happening because they are engineered to become addictive. >> cooper: you're almost saying it like there's an addiction code. >> brown: yeah, that is the case. that, since we've figured out, to some extent, how these pieces of the brain that handle addiction are working, people have figured out how to juice them further and how to bake that information into apps. >> larry rosen: dinner table could be a technology-free zone. >> cooper: while brown is tapping into the power of dopamine, psychologist larry rosen and his team at california state university-dominguez hills are researching the effect technology has on our anxiety levels. >> rosen: we're looking at the impact of technology through the brain. >> cooper: rosen told us, when you put your phone down, your brain signals your adrenal gland to produce a burst of a hormone called cortisol, which has an evolutionary purpose. cortisol triggers a fight-or- flight response to danger. >> cooper: how does cortisol relate to a mobile device, a phone? >> rosen: what we find is the typical person checks their phone every 15 minutes or less,
and half of the time they check their phone, there is no alert, no notification. it's coming from inside their head, telling them, "gee, i haven't checked on facebook in a while. i haven't checked on this twitter feed for a while. i wonder if somebody commented on my instagram post." that then generates cortisol and it starts to make you anxious, and eventually your goal is to get rid of that anxiety, so you check in. >> cooper: so the same hormone that made primitive man anxious and hyperaware of his surroundings to keep him from being eaten by lions, is today compelling rosen's students and all of us to continually peek at our phones to relieve our anxiety. >> rosen: when you put the phone down, you don't shut off your brain, you just put the phone down. >> cooper: can i be honest with you right now? i haven't paid attention to what you're saying because i just realized my phone is right down by my right foot and i haven't checked it in, like, ten minutes. >> rosen: and it makes you anxious. >> cooper: i'm a little anxious. >> rosen: yes. >> cooper: we found out just how anxious, in this experiment conducted by rosen's research colleague, nancy cheever. >> nancy cheever: so the first thing i'm going to do is apply
these electrodes to your fingers. >> cooper: while i watched a video, a computer tracked minute changes in my heart rate and perspiration. what i didn't know was that cheever was sending text messages to my phone, which was just out of reach. every time my text notification went off, the blue line spiked, indicating anxiety caused in part by the release of cortisol. >> cheever: oh, that one is-- that's a huge spike right there. and you can imagine what that's doing to your body, every time you get a text message. you probably can't even feel it, right? because it's such a-- it's a small amount of arousal. >> cooper: that's fascinating. their research suggests, our phones are keeping us in a continual state of anxiety, in which the only antidote... is the phone. is it known what the impact of all this technology use is? >> rosen: absolutely not. >> cooper: it's too soon. >> rosen: we're all part of this big experiment. >> cooper: what is this doing to a young mind, or a teenager? >> rosen: well there's some projects going on where they're actually scanning teenager's
brains over a 20-year period, and looking to see what kind of changes they're finding. >> gabe zichermann: here's the reality. corporations and creators of content have, since the beginning of time, wanted to make their content as engaging as possible. >> cooper: gabe zichermann has worked with dozens of companies, including apple and cbs, to make their online products more irresistible. he's best known in silicon valley for his expertise in something called gamification, using techniques from video games to insert fun and competition into almost everything on your smartphone. >> zichermann: so one of the interesting things about gamification and other engaging technologies, is at the same time as we can argue that the neuroscience is being used to create dependent behavior, those same techniques are being used to get people to work out, you know, using their fitbit. so all of these technologies, all the techniques for engagement can be used for good, or can be used for bad. >> cooper: zichermann is now working on software called "onward," designed to break user's bad habits.
it will track a person's activity and can recommend they do something else when they're spending too much time online. >> zichermann: i think creators have to be liberated to make their content as good as possible. >> cooper: the idea that a tech company is not going to try to make their product as persuasive, as engaging as possible, you're just saying that's not going to happen? >> zichermann: asking technology companies, asking content creators to be less good at what they do feels like a ridiculous ask. it feels impossible. and also, it's very anti- capitalistic. this isn't the system that we live in. >> cooper: ramsay brown and his garage start-up, dopamine labs, made a habit-breaking app as well. it's called "space" and it creates a 12-second delay-- what brown calls a "moment of zen" before any social media app launches. in january, he tried to convince apple to sell it in their app store. >> brown: and they rejected it from the app store because they told us any app that would encourage people to use other apps or their iphone less was
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none seems more relevant to the current debate than the tale of hamdi ulakaya, who came here from turkey 23 years ago on a student visa with almost no money. today, he is a billionaire who has changed american tastes with his chobani yogurt, resurrected the economy in two communities, and drawn praise, and some hostile fire, for the way he's done it. he is a familiar, paternal presence on the factory floor, where everyone calls him hamdi. >> hamdi ulukaya: hey, brother, how you doing? >> kroft: he oversees every detail of a product line that barely existed a dozen years ago: greek style yogurt, a thicker, tangier version of the dairy product that ulakaya popularized here and named chobani. it's now the best-selling brand in america. what does the word, "chobani," mean? >> ulukaya: it means shepherd. >> kroft: shepherd? >> ulukaya: shepherd. it's a very beautiful word. it represents peace. and it meant a lot to me, because, you know, i come from a life with shepherds and
mountains and all that stuff. >> kroft: his family raised goats and sheep and made cheese and yogurt in a small kurdish village in eastern turkey. during the summer months, they would move to the mountains and graze their flock under the stars. he says he was born on one of those trips, but he doesn't know the date or the year. so how did you come not to know your birthday? >> ulukaya: yeah, in the old days, you know-- the nomads, they didn't deliver babies in the hospitals. >> kroft: midwives? >> ulukaya: midwives, yeah. they would register when they come back. the registration officer would put everybody in january. says it's easy for math. like, 70% of our town at that time, born in-- somehow in-- january. i'm january 20th. this reminds me of home. >> kroft: he came to the u.s. at 22, a passionate, idealistic student who had gotten in trouble with turkish authorities for writing articles sympathetic to the kurdish rights movement.
he was hauled in for questioning, and decided it might be a good idea to leave. did you speak any english when you came? >> ulukaya: no. >> kroft: none? >> ulukaya: zero. >> kroft: no family, no-- >> ulukaya: nothing. nothing. >> kroft: no friends? >> ulukaya: nobody. no. >> kroft: it took him a year to find his footing in upstate new york, where he spent the next decade finishing his studies, working on a dairy farm and starting a modest feta cheese business... where one day he spotted an ad. >> ulukaya: it said, "fully equipped yogurt plant for sale." and it has a picture in front, it said 1920 on the back. there was small, small pictures of various per-- parts of the plant. and i called the number. >> kroft: the real estate agent said the 85-year-old factory was owned by kraft foods, which had decided to get out of the yogurt business. >> ulukaya: and i asked for the price, and he says $700,000. i mean, you cannot even get a tank with $700,000. how could this be?
so i didn't ask the second time, because i didn't want him to think that i-- >> kroft: didn't believe him? >> ulukaya: yeah. >> kroft: or get him to reevaluate the price? >> ulukaya: yeah, he says, "oh, maybe-- we're asking too little." >> kroft: sensing an opportunity, hamdi set off to the small village of new berlin, new york to have a look. there he found the last employees of the last plant in the area, closing it down. >> ulukaya: i remember like yesterday. it's like this sadness in this whole place. like as if somebody died, like, somebody important died. >> kroft: 200 jobs? >> ulukaya: 200 jobs was gone. >> kroft: former employees frank price, maria wilcox and rich lake were among the mourners that day. >> rich lake: your whole livelihood's gone. you don't really know what you're going to do or where you're going to go. >> kroft: so in comes this guy. did you think he was for real? >> lake: honestly, it was a little farfetched soundin' at first. ( laughter ) there was a little bit of doubt. at least for me, there was. you know, i mean-- >> ulukaya: it's okay. i doubted myself, too. ( laughter ) >> kroft: he didn't have any
money, but he managed to get a regional bank and the small business administration to split the risk of a million dollar loan. that put chobani in business, and allowed hamdi to hire his first five employees-- four of whom had been let go by kraft. >> ulukaya: and we had no other ideas what we were going to do next. >> kroft: it would take them two years to come up with a product and figure out how to produce it. hamdi spent most of his time in the plant, except to grab two meals a day at the local pizzeria owned by another immigrant, frank baio and his wife betsey. >> ulukaya: this is the only place in my, you know, in my early days of coming here, this is the only place you can come and connect to life again and society and go back to whatever you do. >> frank baio: and i want to say something, 'scuse me if i interrupt you. before hamdi showed up in this town, i was the king. ( laughter ) >> kroft: what did you think of his plans? >> frank baio: well-- ( sighs ) let's put it to you this way: i
kind of felt sorry because i don't think he knew what he was getting into. i mean, i-- you figure for kraft to shut it down, who the hell is this guy that he's going to open up and-- make it right, make it going? >> kroft: almost all of the early chobani meetings took place here, along with some small celebrations. betsey remembers one where hamdi offered this toast. >> betsy baio: he said, "here's to wishing we could ever make 100,000 cases of yogurt in a week and not worry about the light bill anymore." i said to my husband, "i'm going to feel so bad when he loses his shirt, 'cause he's never going to sell 100,000 cases in a week." >> kroft: actually it would take only a year. the first order of chobani yogurt, 150 cases, was delivered to a kosher grocery store on long island in october of 2007. no one knew if there would be another. >> ulukaya: the store manager called me and said, "i don't know what you're putting into these cups. i cannot keep it on shelf. don't tell me what you're putting in there." at that moment, i knew this was-
- like, three months in, this was not going to be about if i could sell it. it was going to be about, can i make enough? >> kroft: more milk? >> ulukaya: yeah. >> kroft: it would require more machines, bigger facilities, more milk from the surrounding dairy farms, and a lot more people. between 2008 and 2012, production of chobani yogurt grew to as much as two million cases a week, revenues reached a billion dollars a year, and the number of employees shot up to 600. it's now roughly 1,000. >> ulukaya: anybody in the community who wanted to work for those years would find a job at chobani. anybody, we were hiring. and if they were not working for us, they were working for the contractors that were doing job for us. because the-- my-- my number one thing is i was going to hire everyone local before i go outside. >> kroft: hamdi's recruiting effort included a stop at a refugee resettlement center in
the city of utica, 40 miles away, where he heard they were having trouble finding people work. >> ulukaya: they said, "well, the language is a barrier. and transportation." i said, "okay, let's try some. i will hire translators. and we'll provide transportation. let them come and make-- yogurt with us." >> kroft: and they worked out? >> ulukaya: oh, perfectly. and they are the most loyal, hard-working people, along with everyone else here. right now in our plant in here, we have 19 different nationalities, 16 different translators. >> kroft: by 2012, the capacity of the plant in new berlin had maxed out. they were running out of people, running out of milk and running out of room. so, hamdi decided to build a second facility-- the largest yogurt plant in the world, in the town of twin falls, idaho, all based on a sketch he'd
roughed out on a napkin at frank's pizzaria. >> ulukaya: and if you look at the plant and the-- and the napkin, it's basically the similar-- similar design. the piping in this plant is-- if you put it together-- from here to chicago and we built them less than a year. >> kroft: there were some initial growing pains-- a shipment had to be recalled because of mold contamination, and early production delays necessitated an emergency loan. but the business survived and has thrived in large part because of hamdi's competitive nature. >> ulukaya: i love innovation, i love competing. i hate my competitors. >> kroft: you hate your competitors? >> ulukaya: of course, i do. i want to beat them up. >> kroft: you want to make dannon yogurt and yoplait suffer? >> ulukaya: back to-- france. ( laughter ) just kidding aside. what i mean is, you cannot be in the world of business-- when you don't have this consciousness of winning. but in a right way. >> kroft: today, the twin falls plant has 1,000 employees with
above average wages and generous benefits. it pumps more than $2 billion a year into the regional economy, which is now running at close to full employment. it's allowed hamdi to hire fellow immigrants and refugees, not instead of american workers, but alongside them. we met two of them in twin falls, sisters, and agreed not to use their names or disclose the middle eastern country they fled, because they fear reprisals from the human traffickers that separated them from their family then abandoned them as young girls on a street corner in eastern europe. how did you manage to get out? >> sister 1: took us a long time. i prefer really not to talk about it because it is really painful-- >> sister 2: it's painful, yeah. >> kroft: would you have survived if you had stayed there? >> sister 1: no. >> kroft: you're sure of that? >> sister 1: yeah, definitely. i was not sitting here alive if i was not leaving. >> ulukaya: they got here legally. they've gone through a most dangerous journey.
they lost their family members. they lost everything they have. and here they are. they are either going to be a part of society or they are going to lose it again. the-- number one thing that you can do is provide them jobs. the minute they get a job, that's the minute they stop being a refugee. >> kroft: hamdi ulukaya insists he's not an activist, just a businessman. but the fact that he comes from a muslim country, supports legal immigration and helps refugees has not been universally popular in idaho, one of the most conservative states in the country. during the past election, chobani was attacked by far right media, including breitbart, claiming it had brought refugees, crime and tuberculosis to twin falls-- none of which is true, yet both hamdi and the mayor of twin falls received death threats. one publication had a headline that said, "american yogurt tycoon vows to choke u.s. with muslims."
>> ulukaya: yeah. >> kroft: people targeted you? >> ulukaya: yeah, it was an emotional-- emotional time. people, you know, hate you for doing something right. i mean, what can you do about that? there's not much you can do. >> kroft: the situation has cooled somewhat and hamdi enjoys the full support of idaho's very popular and very conservative governor butch otter. >> governor butch otter: i think his care about his employees, whether they be refugees, or they be folks that were born ten miles from where they're working. i believe his advocacy for that person is no different. and there's nothin' wrong with that. >> kroft: we traveled with ulukaya to europe, where he has made the international refugee crisis the focal point of his personal philanthropy. he's donated millions to help survivors, like these in italy-- >> ulukaya: what's your name? >> kroft: ...who risked
everything fleeing iraq, syria and africa in hopes of finding a better life. he's also enlisted the support of major u.s. corporations in the cause and pledged to give most of his fortune to charity. >> ulukaya: she died? >> refugee: yes. >> ulukaya: and the kids died too? >> kroft: hamdi says he had no idea that things would turn out the way they have when he came to america 23 years ago and bought that shuttered yogurt plant in upstate new york. he is now showing his gratitude. a year ago, he gave 10% of all of his equity in chobani to his employees. >> ulukaya: it's not a gift. it's not a, "oh, lk how nice i am." it's a recognition. it's the right thing to do. it is something that belongs to them that i recognize. that's how i see it. what if technology gave us the power to turn this enemy into an ally? microsoft and its partners are using smart traps to capture
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the most fearsome starting pitcher in japanese baseball is a 22-year-old named shohei ohtani. the most prolific hitter in japanese baseball is a 22-year- old named shohei ohtani. last year, he won the league's home run derby and threw its fastest pitch ever. already a sensation across the pacific, ohtani is largely unknown here. but japan's two-way mystery man is expected to come to the majors at the end of this season, where he vows to continue his unlikely moonlighting act, batting left and pitching right. should he pull it off, ohtani will become the first major leaguer in a century to figure in a team's starting rotation and in its everyday hitting lineup. the last such player was a guy named babe ruth. we traveled to japan a few weeks ago to meet ohtani, his first interview with an american television network. but we first laid eyes on him in arizona, where his team holds 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 & out burger or captain kangaroo burger? >> shohei ohtani ( translated ): captain kangaroo. >> wertheim: better? towering and affable, ohtani is working on his english, but felt more comfortable using a translator during our interview. >> wertheim: 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 home run. 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 groomed former fighters pitcher 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 ): 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. >> 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 home runs, 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 ( translated ): 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 ( translated ): 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 ( 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 to 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, weary 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. >> this cbs sports update is brought to you by the lincoln motor company. sergio garcia won the 2017 masters with a birdie on the first playoff hole to defeat justin rose. he becomes the third masters champion from spain. his first career major championship coming back from two shots down to defeat rose in the playoffs. for more sports news and information, go to cbssports.com. this is jim nantz reporting from butler cabin in augusta, georgia. you might not ever just stand there, looking at it.
>> rose: on thursday night, the u.s. navy fired 59 tomahawk missiles incapacitating the syrian airbase from which president bashar al-assad launched a sarin gas attack on his own people. the u.s. strike brought to mind a chilling conversation we had with the syrian dictator back in september, 2013. will there be attacks against american bases in the middle east, if there's an air strike? >> bashar al-assad: you should expect everything. you should expect everything, not necessarily through the government. it's not only-- the governments are not only-- not the only player in this region. you have different parties. you have different factions. you have different ideology. you have everything in this region now. so you have to expect that. >> rose: expect-- tell me what you mean by expect everything. >> al-assad: expect every action.
>> rose: including chemical warfare? >> al-assad: that depends. if the-- if the rebels or the terrorists in this region or any other group have it, this could happen, i don't know. we don't-- i'm not fortune- teller, to tell you what's going to happen. >> rose: i'm charlie rose. we'll be back next week with another edition of "60 minutes." hello moto. it's time to reimagine the smartphone. snap on a speaker. a projector. a camera that actually zooms. get excited world. the moto z with moto mods. save at least 20% on select moto mods when you buy any moto z droid. ito treat your toughy nasal allergies...ds ...listen up. unlike pills that don't treat congestion, clarispray covers 100 percent of your nasal allergy symptoms. clarispray. from the makers of claritin.
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