Shohei Ohtani says he talked to fan who caught his first Dodgers home run, but she says they never met

Written by on April 5, 2024

Superstar Shohei Ohtani recently hit his first home run since signing a record $700 million free-agent contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers this past offseason. His first homer as a Dodger came during Wednesday night’s win over the rival Giants: 

As Sam Blum of The Athletic reports, long-time Dodgers fan Ambar Roman caught the ball and, as is custom, met with team officials to discuss handing over the ball so that Ohtani could have it as a keepsake. Blum details what were, according to Roman, high-pressure tactics by the Dodgers to persuade her to hand over the ball. Also notable is this remark by Ohtani himself: 

“I was able to talk to the fan, and was able to get it back,” Ohtani said through interpreter Will Ireton. “Obviously it’s a very special ball, a lot of feelings toward it, I’m very grateful that it’s back.”

The problem is that Roman and her husband told Blum that they never met Ohtani, which puts the seemingly benign quote above in a different light. Let it be noted, however, that Ohtani said he “talked to” to the fan, while “met” is Roman’s word choice in Blum’s story. Perhaps that’s a distinction without a difference, but it’s notable given that a translation is involved. 

Speaking of which, Ireton is quite new to his role as Ohtani’s translator. That’s because Ohtani’s former translator, Ippei Mizuhara, is at the center of a still unfolding gambling scandal that has ensnared Ohtani himself. That, of course, is the necessary backdrop to any Ohtani story that goes beyond what he does on the field. 

The fan, Roman, also alleged that the team shorted her on what she would consider a “fair” exchange for the deal, sending her home with just two signed hats and a signed bat and ball. A spokesperson for the Dodgers said the team was “open to a further conversation with the fan about the transaction,” but did not comment on whether or not Ohtani met or talked to her.

The post Shohei Ohtani says he talked to fan who caught his first Dodgers home run, but she says they never met first appeared on CBS Sports.


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