Shohei Ohtani booed by Blue Jays fans in first trip to Toronto since plane fiasco, answers with home run


For a little while in the offseason, Toronto Blue Jays fans thought they were getting arguably the most talented baseball player of all time.

Shohei Ohtani was a free agent in the winter, and rumors swirled he was en route to Toronto for a visit with the team.

It all started when it was reported by MLB Network that Ohtani’s decision on his next team was “imminent.” 

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Ohtani in dugout

Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrates a solo home run with teammates in the dugout during the first inning of a game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre April 26, 2024, in Toronto. (Cole Burston/Getty Images)

Then, a post on X, formerly Twitter, went viral that said Blue Jays’ Japanese pitcher Yusei Kikuchi made reservations for 50 people at a Toronto sushi spot. But the big bolt came when Reddit users found there was a plane from Anaheim, California, where Ohtani played the previous six seasons, on its way to Toronto.

MLB Network then reported that Ohtani was en route to Toronto, and another rumor swirled that the Blue Jays had called a press conference.

Those reports were quickly debunked, though, and Ohtani eventually stayed in southern California, switching to the Dodgers on a record-setting $700 million deal.

Ohtani made his first trip to Toronto this weekend since the plane rumors, and fans made their displeasure known by booing him intensely.

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How did he answer? By hitting a mammoth home run, of course.

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For the record, the plane in question actually belonged to Canadian businessman Robert Herjavec of “Shark Tank.”

Ohtani homer

Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Dodgers hits a solo home run during the first inning of a game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre April 26, 2024, in Toronto.  (Cole Burston/Getty Images)

The boos continued Saturday, and he answered with a base hit that left the bat at nearly 120 mph, his hardest hit ever recorded.

Entering Saturday, Ohtani was off to his best start ever offensively, hitting .354 with an MLB-leading .681 slugging percentage. He is not pitching as he recovers from elbow surgery.

He led the majors in 2023 with a .654 slugging percentage and 1.066 OPS, his .412 on-base percentage was second in the league, his 44 homers were fourth and his .304 average was ninth.

Ohtani high five

Shohei Ohtani (17) of the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrates at the plate with Max Muncy as he scores on a Freddie Freeman single in the third inning of a game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre April 26, 2024, in Toronto.  (Cole Burston/Getty Images)

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Ohtani was also brilliant on the mound, going 10-5 with a 3.14 ERA and 167 strikeouts in 132 innings pitched. Among pitchers who threw 130.0 innings, his ERA was the ninth-lowest in MLB and his K/9 was sixth. Among AL pitchers with that number of innings, he ranked fifth and third, respectively. 

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