Shohei Ohtani: Fan frenzy as baseball star debuts for LA Dodgers

Written by on March 20, 2024

(BBC) – Baseball sensation Shohei Ohtani has made his regular season debut with the LA Dodgers in Seoul on Wednesday, sending his fans into a frenzy.

Game tickets and Ohtani merchandise have sold out since the Japanese sports hero landed in South Korea last week.

Ohtani received a rousing welcome although Japan is South Korea’s long-time sports rival.

The LA Dodgers-San Diego Padres match is the MLB’s first season opener in South Korea.

Ohtani – who contributed to the Dodgers’ 5-2 win with two hits and a run batted in – arrived to much fanfare in Seoul last Friday with his new wife, former professional basketball player Mamiko Tanaka. It was the first time that he revealed his wife’s identity after announcing their marriage in February.

Seoul resident Mina Kim said she saw the 29-year-old play in two exhibition games before Wednesday and was surprised to see the crowd wearing Ohtani jerseys while screaming his name.

“And when Ohtani came out, everyone took their cameras out. I just heard Ohtani, Ohtani the whole game pretty much,” said the 27-year-old, who has been following the Japanese star since his professional debut in 2018.

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