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#pounditSunday, June 16, 2024

Did Shohei Ohtani lie about meeting fan who caught his first Dodgers HR ball?

Shohei Ohtani on the field

March 20, 2024; Seoul, SOUTH KOREA; Los Angeles Dodgers player Shohei Ohtani reacts after playing against the San Diego Padres during a MLB regular season Seoul Series game at Gocheok Sky Dome. Photo Credit: Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters via USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Dodgers star Shohei Ohtani is once again embroiled in controversy for something off the field.

Ohtani on Wednesday mashed his first home run as a Dodger. He slugged a ball 430 feet into the right field bleachers at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, Calif.

The ball was recovered by lifelong Dodgers fan Ambar Roman, who gave the historic ball back for comically little in return. According to a report from The Athletic’s Sam Blum, Roman said she had been pressured by Dodger Stadium security to give the ball back.

Roman also added that she had not gotten an opportunity to at least meet Ohtani after returning the baseball valued at an estimated $100,000.

However, Ohtani’s postgame comments claimed otherwise, according to one interpretation.

According to the Japanese star through his interpreter, Ohtani was able to talk to Roman.

“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.”

Blum did clarify that some of Ohtani’s words may have been lost in translation.

Los Angeles Times reporter Dylan Hernandez, who is half-Japanese, cleared up that Ireton wasn’t to blame for the confusion. Hernandez said that Ohtani’s words in Japanese were ambiguous and seemed to imply that the Dodgers slugger had spoken to the fan directly.

The Dodgers are reportedly “open to a further conversation” about properly compensating Roman for returning the baseball.

Wednesday’s home run ball fiasco has become yet another off-field distraction for Ohtani. The Dodgers’ $700 million dollar man remains tied to a convoluted sports betting scandal involving his previous interpreter Ippei Mizuhara.


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